Ministry Leaders React to Mob at Capitol with Prayers, Calls for End to Violence
As a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday (Jan. 6), American religious leaders reacted quickly to a chaotic and unprecedented scene.
From succinct prayers to calls for Trump to ask the rioters to halt, the faith leaders’ statements mostly appealed for unity. But some who have affirmed the current president expressed their support for protesters they considered to be peaceful or made unsubstantiated claims that members of the mob might be related to far-left leaning militants of the antifa movement.
“Disobeying and assaulting police is a sin whether it’s done by Antifa or angry Republicans,” tweeted the Rev. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas. The Rev. Franklin Graham speculated, apparently without substantiation, that those who invaded the Capitol building were related to antifa.
For his part, Trump, in a brief video posted on Twitter, empathized with the mob but also asked them to leave.
“I know your pain. I know your hurt,” he said, before repeating falsehoods about the political process. “We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it — especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt. It’s a very tough period of time.”
President-elect Joe Biden in brief remarks demanded “an end to this siege” and asked Trump to “step up” and intervene to end the violence.
The president-elect said he was reminded of the words of President Abraham Lincoln: “We shall nobly save or merely lose the last best hope on earth. … The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way that, if followed, the world will forever applaud and God must forever bless.”
Biden, who typically ends speeches with an appeal for God’s blessings on the nation and its military, appended his remarks by saying: “May God bless America. May God protect our troops and all those folks at the Capitol who are trying to preserve order.”
Here is a sampling of reaction from Christian pastors and ministry leaders across the country:
“Peaceable transitions of power have marked our Republic since the beginning. It is part of honoring and submitting to God’s ordained leaders whether they were our choice or not. We need you, @POTUS to condemn this mob. Let’s move forward together. Praying for safety.”
“Armed breaching of capitol security behind a confederate flag is anarchy, unAmerican, criminal treason and domestic terrorism. President Trump must clearly tell his supporters ‘We lost. Go home now.’”
Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham
“They have a right to protest. To tell people to go home, it’s not for me to decide that. The people who broke the windows in the Capital did not look like the people out there demonstrating. Most likely it was antifa. For people busting windows, they need to go home. But for people standing out there peacefully holding flags, and protesting, they have every right to do that.”
“The violent, lawless actions at the U.S. Capitol building against Congress and Capitol Police are wrong and dangerous for our republic. Lawlessness is not the way, and such actions makes it difficult for law-abiding Americans to fight the good fight. Pray for our Republic!”
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president, National Hispanic Leadership Conference and the Rev. Johnnie Moore, president, The Congress of Christian Leaders
“Under these circumstances, there is no conceivable situation where what happened within the U.S. Capitol today is acceptable activity. Violent, anarchist behavior emanating from the far left or the far right is immoral and criminal. It should be summarily condemned — beginning with the President of the United States — and its perpetrators ought to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Those many thousands of peaceful protestors whose first amendment rights have been spoiled by this behavior should go home for their own safety. We are relieved that both the President-Elect and President Trump have now spoken directly to the issue telling protesters in D.C. to go home, calling for peace. We call on all Americans — Democrat and Republican — to unite in prayer for our nation that righteousness and justice, love and faithfulness will guide the heart of our nation (Ps. 89:14).”
Dr. Michael Brown, Founder and President, FIRE School of Ministry; Host, Line of Fire radio broadcast
“Not only are the rioters to be condemned for their actions, but President Trump needs to take responsibility for inciting this level of distrust, anger, and hostility. While I’m sure he, too, was shocked and saddened at this terrible breach, he did help create the environment that produced it.”
“What we can do in this moment:
1) Pray for everyone in DC, for safety and restoration of order
2) Repent, reflect, mourn
3) Pray for our country and our next President, Joe Biden
4) Work to bridge and heal divides. Dunking is cathartic but ineffective
5) Speak truth, not lies”
“This mob attack on our Capitol and our Constitution is immoral, unjust, dangerous, and inexcusable. What has happened to our country is tragic, and could have been avoided. …
President @realDonaldTrump, you have a moral responsibility to call on these mobs to stop this dangerous and anti-constitutional anarchy. Please do so.”
“Violence at our nation’s capital is to be condemned and law and order must prevail. Pray for our country. This is heartbreaking.”
“I don’t know the Jesus some have paraded and waved around in the middle of this treachery today. They may be acting in the name of some other Jesus but that’s not Jesus of the Gospels.”