The House of Representatives select committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection heard a startling testimony this week.

Cassidy Hutchinson, an assistant to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, provided detailed accounts of what happened that fateful day and afterward.

As supporters gathered near the White House, the former president was displeased about the size of the crowd.

When the president was informed that some in the crowd did not want to pass through the metal detectors because they had weapons, Trump demanded that the detectors be taken down. He told security the crowd was not there to harm him and that the crowd could begin their march to the Capitol after he spoke.

Hutchinson testified about what she heard from the Secret Service had occurred inside the presidential limo after the president’s speech. Allegedly, the president demanded the Secret Service take him to the Capitol.

When they refused, Trump attempted to take control of the vehicle by grabbing the steering wheel. When the Secret Service agent asked him to let go, the former president grasped the agent by the neck.

Hutchison revealed more startling evidence during the hearing, such as presidential temper-tantrums and pardon requests. But let’s focus on this one moment inside the limousine.

In this one act of defiance, we see the true nature of radical right-wing theology and politics. The very nature of religious fundamentalism and radical right-wing politics is to conquer and control.

Both have no intention of leading or governing. Instead, their ethos remains to conquer their opponents and control behavior.

Religious fundamentalists hold a narrow understanding of the Bible. In some cases, they completely ignore parts of the Bible – including Jesus’ teachings – in their effort to apply their radical ideas. They often level untrue allegations based on unfounded suspicions and presuppositions in an attempt to exert control within their churches, communities and country.

Radical right-wing politicians attempt to conquer their opponents through false and misleading allegations, as well as by creating false fears. They have navigated the political process by manipulating democracy and ignoring precedent to achieve their agenda.

It’s also wrong when left-wing politicians do the same thing. However, the radical right-wing has seemingly perfected the use of manipulation, misdirection and misinformation to pursue its goals of controlling citizens through political, legislative and judicial means.

By engaging in these tactics, it attempts to “take the wheel” to shape the church on matters of faith and the nation on matters of governance and law into what might best be called a theocracy.

People of good faith must stand up, speak out and step forward in response to such tactics and goals.

Remember the words of the Apostle Paul, who understood how the spiritual presence of corrupt institutions and leaders can affect people, and who knew that – if given the opportunity to control – they could marginalize can oppress people.

He wrote to the Ephesians: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (6:12).

We do not need anyone with evil intentions to “take the wheel” when it comes to our democracy and faith.

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