Home/Rod Dreher/Religious Meaning Of MAGA Riot

Religious Meaning Of MAGA Riot

Capitol Hill today. 'Make America Godly Again' (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Let me say up front: not all conservative Christians supported Donald Trump; not all conservative Christians endorsed the Jericho March, and the rest. If you are using today’s horrifying, disgraceful events in Washington to justify your hatred of all conservative Christians, you are wrong, and should knock it off. I’m not going to post your comments if so.

And: the disgusting actions of the MAGA mob in DC today do not obviate the awfulness of the radical Left — nor do the disgusting actions of the radical Left obviate the awfulness of the radical Right.

But.

Conservatives saw the progressive mobs rampaging last summer. We saw the media and others within the liberal Establishment downplaying the wickedness of that violence. We were meant to understand the pain of the demonstrators. We have seen institutions — corporations, universities, media outlets — change their policies to react favorably to what these mobs have demanded. Conservatives have stood up to these things.

And yet now, we have seen the MAGA mob do one better than the BLM mobs, which never attacked the US Capitol. We never saw them do things like this to the citadel of American democracy:

And the BLM/Antifa mobs did not do what they did at the instigation of a leading Democratic politician. Today’s mob did it at the instigation of the President of the United States.

I don’t want to hear “whataboutism” from my side. What happened today in Washington was a defilement of the most potent architectural symbol of American democracy. In the Bible, Jesus said, speaking of an approaching apocalypse:

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” (Matthew 24:15-16)

He’s talking about the Hebrew Temple. The US Capitol is not a religious building. But from a nationalist point of view, the Capitol is our Temple. And this MAGA idiot in the headdress is an abomination of desolation standing in the holy place:

It is hard to overstate how shocking this is. Again, it is a defilement. This is going to be deeply felt by the American people. Symbolism matters.

The fact that this previously unthinkable thing happened is a sign of a far deeper disorder. Let those in Judea understand what they’re seeing. I’m not talking about anything to do with God. I mean this in a completely secular way. I’m talking about symbolic meaning.

Nevertheless, I believe that these MAGA fools have provided those on the Left — in the government and within corporations, universities and other institutions — who wish to suppress conservatives and religious dissidents with a Reichstag-fire excuse to crack down (except in the case of the Reichstag fire, that didn’t happen; this abomination in Washington today really occurred). The soft totalitarianism I’ve been warning about: the MAGA mob today accelerated its arrival. 

To repeat what I said at the beginning: not all conservative Christians supported Donald Trump. But there is no way to excise the role that some very prominent Christians played in creating what happened today. I wrote about them here, here, and here — the Jericho March people, with their insane rhetoric, calling on people to be prepared to die for Donald Trump and his presidency. Here is a clip from my initial Jericho March coverage:

This Flynn speech was important, though. He said, “The Courts don’t decide the election, we the people decide.” But later: “The rule of law is at stake.”

Well, which is it? The rule of law in our Constitutional republic means that the courts operate in the name of We the People. Flynn declares mob rule over our constitutional institutions in the same speech in which he decried the loss of the rule of law. He obviously didn’t get the irony, nor, I’d wager, did a soul in that crowd.

He also told the people to ignore their minds and listen to their hearts, because in your heart is where you determine truth. It’s. All. About. Feeling. Don’t think, feel. This is 100 percent what Metaxas was saying this week on Charlie Kirk’s show: logic & evidence don’t matter if your heart tells you that Trump won.

Every single Christian leader who has encouraged Trump’s post-election behavior has a duty to repent. The passions unleashed by the mob today will destroy this country. Are destroying this country. Today I saw a tweet from a Christian Trump supporter showing a group raising a big cross near the Capitol as part of the protest. That tweet has since been removed. But the point has been made by so many of these MAGA Christians in the past month or so.

The Civil Rights Movement was led by black pastors. Even though they were fighting against American apartheid, they never once did anything remotely like what the MAGA mob did today. They brought honor to the church not only by their cause, but by their peaceful protest, even when they were physically attacked for it. The contrast between the MAGA Christians and them is instructive. Shame! Repent!

For the rest of us small-o orthodox believers, think, metaphorically, of the Judean hills. Things are about to get bad.

UPDATE:From Jeffrey Goldberg’s report, marching with the MAGA mob:

What I do know, after spending hours sponging up Trumpist paranoia, conspiracism, and cultishness, is that this gathering was not merely an attempted coup but also a mass-delusion event, not something that can be explained adequately through the prism of politics. Its chaos was rooted in psychological and theological phenomena, intensified by eschatological anxiety. One man I interviewed this morning, a resident of Texas who said his name was Don Johnson (I did not trust this to be his name), told me that the country was coming apart, and that this dissolution presaged the End Times. “It’s all in the Bible,” he said. “Everything is predicted. Donald Trump is in the Bible. Get yourself ready.”

The conflation of Trump and Jesus was a common theme at the rally. “Give it up if you believe in Jesus!” a man yelled near me. People cheered. “Give it up if you believe in Donald Trump!” Louder cheers.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

leave a comment

Latest Articles