A call for the church to respond courageously to insurrection and idolatry.
In the days following the January 6 insurrection, a lot of us tried to make sense of the violence and chaos we watched unfold on live TV from the US Capitol. For as unpredictable as were the days following the election, the scenes of an enraged mob attacking police officers, chanting for the Vice President's death, and waving symbols of national and religious allegiance defied even the most pessimistic expectations. In the months since, we've learned more about the motivations which drove the seditionists and which animate ongoing attempts to disenfranchise voters around the country. And, if we're paying attention, Christians - and pastors who lead white Christians especially - ought to be rattled by what we're figuring out.
So, who participated in or supported last year's insurrection? In a thoroughly researched article for The Atlantic Barton Gellman investigates a number of possible motivating factors. But only "one meaningful correlation emerged. Other things being equal, insurgents were much more likely to come from a county where the white share of the population was in decline. For every one-point drop in a county’s percentage of non-Hispanic whites from 2015 to 2019, the likelihood of an insurgent hailing from that county increased by 25 percent. This was a strong link, and it held up in every state." Additional research drew out another disturbing nuance. "Respondents who believed in the Great Replacement theory, regardless of their views on anything else, were nearly four times as likely as those who did not to support the violent removal of the president." This theory, popular in the right wing media, states that the day is rapidly approaching when white people will not only no longer represent an overall majority in the country, but “African American people or Hispanic people in our country will eventually have more rights than whites.”