“See how they conceive evil,
and are pregnant with mischief,
and bring forth lies.
They make a pit, digging it out,
and fall into the hole that they have made.
Their mischief returns upon their own heads,
and on their own heads their violence descends.”
Psalm 7:14-16 (NRSV)
The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) condemns and repudiates the actions of pro-Trump protesters today, who instead of exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech, have put people’s lives in danger, made a mockery of the American democratic process and the rule of law, vandalized the U.S. Capitol, assaulted law enforcement officers and threatened the safety of members of Congress, staffers and others who work at the Capitol building. Chaos reigns, guns have been drawn, and our democracy is under siege. This is outrageous, unacceptable, shameful and a disgrace. Every effort must be made by law enforcement to restore order immediately.
While we support nonviolent protests, and have often organized and participated in them, demonstrators desecrating the Capitol and disrupting our fair democratic process cannot be tolerated or go unpunished. All who have been involved in today’s riots, those who participated as well as those who have incited this violence, must be held accountable.
“NCC staff, who work across the street from the Capitol, are safe and secure, although we are outraged and heartbroken at these drastic turn of events,” stated Jim Winkler, NCC President and General Secretary. “We are keenly aware from our own experience that what is taking place is a profound breakdown in security and is beyond anything we have ever seen before.”
In addition, we are deeply concerned by President Trump’s efforts to remain in power that have led to today’s violence. We fervently denounce President Trump for the role he has played in provoking this situation by encouraging and attending a “Stop the Steal” rally earlier today, continuing to lie about the results of the election and refusing to concede and accept the election’s outcome. At the rally, which was held to reject the certified results of the November 3, 2020 election, he urged the crowd to protest his loss and posted derogatory comments on social media about Vice President Pence who he pressured to overturn the results of the election, something he had no authority to do.
On this day intended to ceremonially accept the vote of the people, many Republican members of Congress also attempted to disregard the votes of nearly 82 million Americans. These votes were carefully counted votes in the states and withstood more than 60 legal challenges. Elected officials can’t be allowed to pick and choose the votes they want to be counted. All votes count.
We are particularly disturbed by and aware that the votes that are being contested are those that have been legally cast by Black and Brown people in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia. These actions have proven once again that the vestiges of racism and white supremacy are still affecting and infecting our democracy. We must increase our efforts to end the scourge on our society, which not only impacts people of color but is detrimental to democracy itself.
In the midst of the violent attack on the Capitol, we are grieved to learn someone lost their life. We mourn her death and we pray no one else will be injured.
We are issuing this statement as events are unfolding. All avenues should be explored to make sure this ends today and there are no further deaths, violent actions or attacks on our government. We are anxious and deeply concerned about two weeks more of this behavior. The rhetoric and efforts to overturn our fair election must immediately end. As soon as Congress reconvenes, they must explore all options to make sure President Trump is not permitted to continue to overturn the election results nor are efforts permitted to disrupt the inauguration of the Biden-Harris administration. History will eventually tell this story and judge all involved in scorching our democracy but all those responsible must be held accountable today.
We at the NCC are praying for the safety of our members of Congress and that peace will fully be restored. We also pray that we will take the necessary steps and do the hard work so that this never happens again.
Serving as a leading voice of witness to the living Christ in the public square since 1950, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) brings together 38 member communions and more than 40 million Christians in a common commitment to God’s love and promise of unity.