White Christian nationalists would rather burn the country to the ground than see equality for others achieved.

The insurrection on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol demonstrated the dark reality and devastating implications of their misguided perspectives, dangerous ideologies and treasonous mission.

A vast majority of the nation watched in horror as predominantly white Christian men stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overthrow a free and fair election.

Some in the seditious crowd wore anti-Semitic garb while others donned “Christian” messages. They chanted death to those they deemed traitors and sought out legislators while carrying plastic wrist restraints. They beat Capitol police, killing one by bashing him with a fire extinguisher.

Why did they unleash this terror? They did all of this to “make America great again.”

What happened in Washington, D.C., revealed the natural fruition of a movement birthed out of the misnomer of American exceptionalism, baptized by heretical Christians striving to establish earthly kingdoms and fueled by systemic racism brought about by white supremacy.

For decades, thoughtful and compassionate Christians have sounded the alarm concerning the amalgamation of white supremacy, religious fundamentalism and right-wing politics. This unholy trinity emerged shortly after the civil rights movement to ensure white Christians would maintain their supremacy over others.

The combination of these three factions is the very opposite of the gospel that Jesus preached and demonstrated.

On numerous occasions, Jesus interacted with people from other races and religions. In one of his most famous parables, he makes a Samaritan the hero and the religious oppressors the villains (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus understood race as a human construct, whereas God sees everyone equally.

Jesus was executed at the demand of religious fundamentalists. Why?

Religious fundamentalists need to feel superior, as they argue their divine selection as God’s “chosen” to judge the world. Jesus, on the other hand, makes it clear he came to love people and not condemn them (John 3:16-17).

Religious fundamentalists position condemnation at the core of their beliefs and actions. When they feel threatened, they lash out with verbal condemnation, which can lead to violence if unchecked, as we witnessed at the Capitol last week.

In addition, religious fundamentalists could have never achieved their goals without the assistance of political power.

Powerful religious insiders could not have been successful in executing Jesus without the political pragmatism of the Roman Empire. To ensure pax-Romana (or pax-Americana), which means those in power stay in power for the sake of “peace” (pax), supremacists and religious fundamentalists need the power of the Empire.

By contrast, Jesus was not a friend to the Empire but a champion of the marginalized, ostracized and enslaved, offering them salvation and justice.

Yet, even with this evidence before us, we are still left with questions regarding the specific reasons why our fellow citizens felt compelled to engage in an insurrection.

Why did they feel so threatened in this modern age to display their violent white Christian nationalism for the world to see? Simply stated: They do not like diversity and equality.

Over the last several decades, globalization has revealed the inequalities of nations, races and social economics. What the insurrectionists are really upset about is their loss of privilege. As a diverse world rises, white Christian nationalists find their privileges diminishing as an equal playing field emerges.

In other words, more people are advocating for a flatter playing field, and white Christian nationalists do not like the competition. They would rather rule by “divine right” than allow others the freedoms and rights they enjoy. Therefore, we are left to confront their misguided ways with love, peace and justice in hopes of creating a more perfect union for everyone.

So, as people of good faith, what can we do? We can continue to follow the mission of Jesus who wanted to bring the will of God to earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

We should not back down in the face of hate leading to evil. We must continue to SPEAK UP AND STEP OUT nonviolently for the inclusion of all, freedom for all and justice for all.

The following suggestions are just a part of an overarching mission to combat hate and evil with the hope of fulfilling Jesus’ wish to bring God’s shalom (wholeness) to this earth.

Speak up and step out for income inequality.

Jesus spoke more often about the poor than any other issue, beginning his ministry by declaring, “I have come to give good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18). In an age where income inequality continues to grow, the church needs to lift up the poor and support policies that advance opportunities for advancement.

Speak up and step out for health care.

Jesus was a walking witness for healing the sick regardless of their financial means or preexisting conditions. Matthew records, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people” (Matthew 4:23). Living in the most prosperous country in history, it remains perplexing why some Christians still oppose universal healthcare for all our citizens.

Speak up and step out for the deconstruction of patriarchalism.

While Jesus chose 12 men as his disciples, he provided women the opportunity to learn and study at his feet (Luke 10:39). Jesus was very clearly leading his followers to a genuine egalitarian community.

Speak up and step out for racial justice.

Jesus understood race as a human construct meant to separate and divide God’s children. While cultures are both unique and good, the color of one’s skin is a simple extension of physical attributes on par with eye and hair color. As far as God is concerned, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:28-29).

Speak up and step out for interfaith cooperation.

Living within a pluralistic society, as Jesus did, Christians have a responsibility to interact and engage people of other faiths. In the Gospel of John, Jesus visited with a Samaritan woman about theology and life (John 4). If we are to live within a peaceful and harmonious community, then we must learn from one another, pray for one another and celebrate one another.

Speak up and step out for LGBTQI+ rights.

The Bible does not condemn the conditions of human sexuality or gender identity. While there are texts addressing sexual acts, they are done so within a cultural context. In other words, we must permit ourselves to utilize the full Bible to analyze and draw conclusions regarding LGBTQI+ people and relationships. When taking this approach, the evidence is clear. The gospel includes all people regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. This becomes clear as we see Philip welcome the Ethiopian eunuch (seen as a sexual deviant by the culture) into the kingdom of God (Acts 8:26-40).

If good faith people speak up and step out in love while pursuing justice, then tyranny will fade into the shadows.

The Apostle Paul encouraged Roman Christians with these words, “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). The time is now to confront the evil ideas of white Christian nationalists that brought about the evil acts of last week (in addition to previous evil, such as in Charlottesville, Virginia).

The greatest tool to combat and conquer hate remains good people doing good things.

It’s time; let’s step up and speak out!

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