Religious leaders are condemning violent protests at the U.S. Capitol and urging acceptance of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
“The 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,” tweeted Russell Moore, who leads the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
He and other faith leaders asked President Donald Trump to act quickly to restore peace.
“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,’” tweeted the Rev. Rick Warren, who leads a California megachurch.
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, criticized the president for refusing to accept the election results. By insisting that Biden cheated his way to the White House, Trump paved the way toward this month’s violence, he said.
“Our democracy is only as strong as the people willing to abide by its laws and norms. Yet rather than uphold those laws as he swore to do when taking the oath of office, President Trump has repeatedly done the opposite,” Rabbi Pesner said. The president “should immediately and unequivocally demand that his supporters peacefully stand down.”
Albert Mohler, who is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and supported Trump in the 2020 election, also blamed the president for ongoing unrest.
“President Trump is responsible now for unleashing mayhem. Pray that God will rescue (us) from this,” he tweeted.
Other religious leaders directed their ire at the rioters, who forced an evacuation of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by storming the building. Protests were timed to correspond with Congress’ final count and confirmation of the 2020 election results.
“The sickening sight of rioters storming the U.S. Capitol Building as members of Congress try to carry out their constitutional duties should be condemned by all Americans. We are not witnessing a peaceful protest — this is a violent attack on our democracy,” said Rabbi Jack Moline, who leads the Interfaith Alliance, in a statement.
Beth Moore, a prominent evangelical speaker and author, questioned how any of the protesters could call themselves Christian. Images of the protests show some participants praying and carrying signs with religious symbols.
“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,” Moore tweeted.
Faith leaders also took to social media to pray for God’s protection over lawmakers and encourage Americans to work toward peace in the days ahead.
“May peace-loving Americans of good will throughout the United States come together to engender peace, reconciliation and healing in our wounded and broken nation, which remains and must always be one, under God,” said Archbishop William E. Lori, who leads the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, in a statement.
Archbishop José H. Gomez, who serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked Americans to “recommit” themselves to democratic values.
“The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of this great nation. In this troubling moment, we must recommit ourselves to the values and principles of our democracy and come together as one nation under God,” he said in a statement.
Bishop Oscar Solis, who leads the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, echoed Archbishop Gomez’s sentiments in his own statement that condemned the violence and shared his hopes for the future.
“Efforts to intimidate, threaten and physically harm our democratic institutions and public servants based on the results of a free and fair election have no place in our country. I urge all people of good will to join me in praying for peace in our nation,” he said.
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement on Jan. 15 condemning the recent violence in Washington, D.C., and urging church members and all Americans to treat one another with love and respect.
“We urge all people to remember the precious and fragile nature of freedom and peace. As citizens of the United States look ahead to the inauguration of a new president, we urge our members to honor democratic institutions and processes, and to obey, honor and sustain the law,” they said.