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In The Name of Jesus?

A Statement by Dean Nathan LeRud

A Trump supporter carries a Bible outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

“We are Trump’s army.

We are God’s army.”

In the context of the last four years, Wednesday’s events – an attempt at an armed takeover of one of the core institutions of American democracy – shouldn’t come as a surprise. In one sense, and particularly for many Americans who don’t happen to be of European descent, the events that occurred this week are simply the latest example of a litany of horrors that began in 1619 when the first slave ship landed on North American shores. Because let's be clear: this is white supremacy at work.

Let me speak directly to my fellow Christians: it’s not enough for well-meaning Christian people of either (or neither!) political party to cluck their tongues, long for a more peaceful day, wonder “why we can’t all just get along” as Jesus intended, and go about our business. And to my colleagues in the clergy (and to myself): it’s not enough for Christian preachers and pastors to get up into our pulpits on Sunday, preach a barn-burning fire-and-brimstone sermon denouncing the evils of white supremacy and white nationalism (or let’s call it what it is: Christian nationalism) and then sit down while our progressive members shout “Amen!” and feel like finally the Church is saying something. “Saying something” has gotten us nowhere.

So let me be as clear as I can, for members of this congregation who are wondering where the Church stands on issues of terrorism, fear, and racially-motivated abuses of power, and for members of the larger public who may be listening in to hear what we have to say right now about Jesus (you know, that guy whose name was invoked on Wednesday on the signs, tattoos, and lips of many of the so-called “revolutionaries”): Christian Nationalism is a perversion, an infection, and an illegitimate hijacking of the Christian faith, the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and the life, ministry and ongoing witness of Jesus Christ in the world.

I made a sacred promise at my ordination to the priesthood to uphold all these things, and it would be dereliction of duty and of my vows not to denoun