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White Evangelical pastors turn their back on Trump after capitol riots

Gustaf Kilander
·3-min read
<p>Some evangelical Christian pastors have had enough of Donald Trump. </p> (REUTERS)

Some evangelical Christian pastors have had enough of Donald Trump.


Parts of the conservative Christian right are caving in as some within the community turn on President Trump after the storming of the Capitol.

The vast majority of Christian conservatives are still very supportive or Mr Trump, causing those within the community who choose to speak out to be cast aside amid threats and other kinds of abuse.

Conservative preacher Jeremiah Johnson issued a public apology on January 7 "to repent for inaccurately prophesying that Donald Trump would win a second term". Mr Johnson went on to claim that God had removed Mr Trump from office because of his pride and ignorance and to teach a lesson to those like Mr Johnson who had strongly supported Mr Trump during his time in power.

The reaction to the apology was harsh. Mr Johnson wrote in a Facebook post on January 10: "After publicly repenting on January 7th, I fully expected to be called a false prophet etc in some circles but I could have never dreamed in my wildest imagination that so much satanic attack and witchcraft would come from charismatic/prophetic people. I have been flabbergasted at the barrage of continued conspiracy theories being sent every minute our way and the pure hatred being unleashed."

Columnist David Brooks of The New York Times wrote in an opinion piece that the conservative Christian community "may take generations to recover," and that there's "strife within every family, within every congregation".

Tish Harrison Warren, a priest in the Anglican Church in North America, wrote in a guest column for Christianity Today that the violence of Trump supporters at the Capitol was "dark and based in untruth. The symbols of faith—Jesus’ name, cross, and message—have been co-opted to serve the cultish end of Trumpism."

Ms Harrison Warren said the storming of the Capitol was “tragic” but not “surprising”.

"For more than four years, Trump has shown that he is more than willing to say any lie, ignore any standard of decency, and bring any amount of violence and division to shore up his own power. Through manipulative disinformation, he incited an insurrection... He is happy to use religious leaders as pawns," she wrote and added that the insurrection "represents an utter failure in the American church".

Ms Harrison also wrote that the "atrocity was in large part brought to us by the white, evangelical church in America".

Michigan Pastor Keith Mannes left the Christian Reformed Church in October, before the Capitol riot, after years of internal struggle about of the church's relationship to Donald Trump.

"From the beginning, I thought there’s something about this man and the instrument that he is for a lot of things that are just very not Jesus," he told the Holland Sentinel.

"It just floors me how church-going people who read the Bible and sing the hymns can show up at a rally and just do that deep bellow like an angry mob supporting these horrible things that come out of his heart and his mind. It just began to trouble me so much that I am a pastor in this big enterprise," Mr Mannes said about Christian Trump supporters.

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