Faith leaders began speaking out on social media as news emerged that pro-Trump protesters had broken through police barriers and stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday, Jan. 6.
Since then, clergy have continued expressing both concern and consternation via columns and social media posts about the protesters’ actions and President Trump’s role in inciting the violence.
I reached out to several faith leaders directly, asking them for a brief statement of reaction and response to the unprecedented events that took place in Washington, D.C.
Here is what they said:
“As an immigrant who ran away from political violence and civil unrest; the events of Jan. 6 strike me as unbelievable, abhorrent and globally embarrassing. These are the kind of images I sought refuge from as a young man,” said Imad Enchassi, imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City.
“Decades ago, I fell in love with Lady Liberty and continue to hope in her promise and future. While I believe our American institutions are strong and will endure this, the images displayed across the world’s social media and news outlets are damning both internally and externally. The Muslim community is praying for unity and peace for our country.”
“A domestic attack on democracy, American citizens stormed the U.S. Capitol building, led by the President of the United States, Donald Trump. They got there by his lies, liked on Twitter, repeated at rallies and on network news,” said Starlette Thomas, minister to empower congregations at the D.C. Baptist Convention and a member of the Good Faith Media strategic advisory board.
“They scaled walls, lifted up by fake prophets who told them that Trump was God’s chosen leader. To be clear, it wasn’t a demonstration of faith in democracy but white supremacy.”
“Since I first learned about the Holocaust some 60 years ago, I have had a well-cultivated sensitivity to alarming behavior. All of those alarms went off on Jan. 6 when an authoritarian leader encouraged his followers to violently overthrow the workings of government,” said Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance and a member of the Good Faith Media strategic advisory board. “The insurrection is the harvest of hatred sown and tended for more than four years. Anyone who does not repudiate the president is responsible for affirming his behavior.”
“In the past weeks, media reports and statements by politicians indicated that tension in the Middle East was increasing, as the ‘window of opportunity’ for military escalation nears end with the presidential inauguration this month,” said Wissam al-Saliby, advocacy officer based in Geneva for the World Evangelical Alliance.
“The Azerbaijan-Armenia armed conflict took place in the period leading up to the U.S. elections, when American leaders were busy. It was a ‘window of opportunity,’” he continued. “Potential unrest in Washington, D.C., can be threatening for the Middle East and the rest of the world. It could have a ripple effect of wars and instability in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. I hope I’m wrong.”