The world watched in stunned horror as hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington, smashing through windows, abseiling into the chamber, rifling through desks, roaming through the halls, while shouting and protesting that the results of the presidential election be overturned.
They had been told to march on the Capitol by the president himself, in his unending campaign to overturn the result of the election, which he lost and refuses to acknowledge.
Members of Congress, who were in the middle of the process to certify the election vote, dived for cover under their seats. A woman civilian was shot in the riot and subsequently died.
After a curfew was imposed three hours later, crowds dispersed, the Capitol was cleared and Congress reopened to conclude its lawful business.
The events of 6 January 2021 have led to a day of reckoning as to how America’s shared values, embedded in faith, have fallen prey to lies, violence and a threat to the republic itself.
Former President Bill Clinton: Today we faced an unprecedented assault on our Capitol, our Constitution, and our country. The assault was fuelled by more than four years of poison politics spreading deliberate misinformation, sowing distrust in our system, and pitting Americans against one another.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Episcopal Church in the United States
This threatens the integrity of our democracy. The national security of our nation, the continuity of government, and the lives and safety of our legislators, their staffs, law enforcement, and all who work in the Capitol. I therefore ask you now to join me in prayer for our nation.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby
There will be many lessons to be learnt from the scenes in Washington. For the moment let us pray for the USA, the world’s greatest defender of democracy until now, as it faces this huge shock. May God bless America with peace and reconciliation.
Robert Jones, founder of the Public Religion Research Institute
Pay attention to the symbols being carried: crosses, “Jesus saves” sign, Confederate flags. This unholy amalgamation is the legacy of white supremacist Christianity. We have to name this heritage if we’re going to heal our nation from this deadly disease. #WhiteTooLong.
Republican Senator Richard Burr, North Carolina:
“The President bears responsibility for today’s events by promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point.”
Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Make no mistake — the people storming the Capitol today were protected and privileged by their whiteness. #BlackLivesMatter
Matthew Hall, provost and senior vice president for academic administration of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
The images we’re seeing in our nation’s capital, even within the Capitol itself, are deeply disturbing, symptoms of a national civic life that has corroded. Leadership is so needed right now. Even more, God’s mercy & restraining grace is needed. Let’s pray for peace and justice.
Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, speaking to NCR Online
“Today’s events show the immensely perilous pathway of division and polarization that our country has embarked upon in these past four years. We must be clear in identifying this moment as the logical trajectory of the last four years of President Trump’s leadership of our country.”
Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, told NCR
“We shouldn’t be surprised that when the president of the nation, who has been consistently denying that he lost an election and has been calling for his people to be out there demonstrating and when he has not condemned the kind of groups that has supported him, as horrible and as unprecedented as it is in our times, it’s not all that surprising. You reap what you sow, as we read in scripture.”
Kelsey Dallas, national religion reporter and deputy editor of National Voices
In my inbox: The Biden-Harris transition team is leading a prayer call tonight in response to today’s riots at the US Capitol. The call will feature @ShaneClaiborne@RevDrBarber@sr_simone and others.
The Religion News Service reports that the former Republican representative Michelle Bauchmann attended a pro-Trump online prayer service last night, claiming the rioters were not Trump supporters, but rabble-rousers paid to stage a coup. The Christian radio host Eric Metaxas blamed the assault on Marxists.