January 17, 2021

Has the American Evangelical church become radicalized?

The American Evangelical movement — with its large Republican base — is facing a crisis of identity. Under the outgoing Trump administration, Evangelicals are increasingly associated with actions that run counter to Christian love and the professed adherence to “law and order”. The radicalization of some has led to marching with avowed White supremacists, nationalists, and conspiracy theorists.

While others are calling for distance from such actions, Veteran war correspondent Luke Mogelson’s video from inside the US Capitol building on Jan. 6 shows how the radicalization has fused a kind of faith with violent political action in the mind of some riot participants.

Mogelson shared his experiences at the Capitol in a feature article, “Among the Insurrectionists”, in The New Yorker:

“A moment later, the door at the back of the chamber’s center aisle swung open, and a man strode through it wearing a fur headdress with horns, carrying a spear attached to an American flag. He was shirtless, his chest covered with Viking and pagan tattoos, his face painted red, white, and blue. It was Jacob Chansley, a vocal QAnon proponent from Arizona, popularly known by his pseudonym, the Q Shaman. Both on the Mall and inside the Capitol, I’d seen countless signs and banners promoting QAnon, whose acolytes believe that Trump is working to dismantle an occult society of cannibalistic pedophiles. At the base of the Washington Monument, I’d watched Chansley assure people, “We got ’em right where we want ’em! We got ’em by the balls, baby, and we’re not lettin’ go!



Chansley took off his horns and led a group prayer through a megaphone, from behind the Vice-President’s desk. The insurrectionists bowed their heads while Chansley thanked the “heavenly Father” for allowing them to enter the Capitol and “send a message” to the “tyrants, the communists, and the globalists.” Joshua Black, the Alabaman who had been shot in the face with a rubber bullet, said in his YouTube confession, “I praised the name of Jesus on the Senate floor. That was my goal. I think that was God’s goal.”

 

While the religiously charged demonization of globalists dovetails with QAnon, religious maximalism has also gone mainstream. Under Trump, Republicans throughout the country have consistently situated American politics in the context of an eternal, cosmic struggle between good and evil. In doing so, they have rendered constitutional principles of representation, pluralism, and the separation of powers less inviolable, given the magnitude of what is at stake.”

Read the full article, “Among the Insurrectionists”, here.

The article containing Mogelson’s video is here.

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