This Tuesday (the 9th of March) our Rutgers Church Session adopted by unanimous vote An Appeal to Christians against the false doctrines of White Christian Nationalism.
When the January 6th attack on the Capitol happened, many people were shocked by the sheer violence and anti-democratic nature of that sad event. For me, the most shocking part of that dangerous escapade was actually a prayer. That prayer offered by the so-called Q-anon Shaman Jake Angeli in the very Senate Chamber, right at the Senate Dais.
In that prayer he thanked “divine, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent Creator God” for “filling that chamber with the divine white light,” and thus “sending a message to all the tyrants, communists and globalist” and “protecting America and American way of United States of America” (sic!) Those were his pleonasms, mannerisms and verbosity which he probably learned from some long-winded Arizonian evangelical preacherer.
Even more frightening was the fact that all that noisy disheveled riffraff knew how to behave at the time of such prayers, chiming in with their loud amens and lifting up their arms in praise. Clearly well socialized (or should I rather say anti-socialized?) in that kind of church culture.
Observing this blatant abuse of religion for the self-serving and destructive political ends I recognized the deep and scary logic of all of that.
And I wondered - Where is the line between corruption of one religion and the beginning of a completely different, new, foreign religion?
And even more seriously, where is the limit when the religious zeal is so distorted that it becomes an idolatry of some other, different, grotesque god?
These are not academic questions. They are serious and quite consequential for all of us. Appropriately for the lent season we will ask these disturbing questions and try to reach some deeper understanding. But we will also seek and affirm the essence of our faith and affirm our commitment to our benevolent Lord. Join us, if you can, for this important spiritual quest.