BJC Statement on January 6
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC) is a faith-based education and advocacy organization devoted to the protection of faith freedom for all people. From its headquarters on Capitol Hill, BJC has worked for more than eight decades in support of the Constitution and other laws that protect religious freedom for all.
We take seriously the teaching of Jesus to let our “yes” mean “yes” and our “no” mean “no” (Matthew 5:37). At this time of crisis for our country — when the value of truth itself is in serious jeopardy — we are compelled to speak the truth as a sign of our love for God and our love for our neighbors. While Americans and people of faith can disagree in good faith on policy and theological issues, we believe the following statements to be true:
- Joe Biden won the presidency in a free and fair election, and the results have been rigorously vetted. Claims to the contrary are utterly false and without support, as dozens of courts found in legal challenges brought to them. The failure to repudiate lies that suggested that the election was fraudulent led directly to the deadly events at the Capitol last week.
- Challenges to the free and fair election results, especially in some of America’s largest cities, constitute intentional attempts towards the disenfranchisement of the votes of African Americans. Perhaps, more than any other American freedom, voting has been the key to the full participation of African Americans in this democracy. Americans have protested for it, agitated for it and died for it. The mantra, “Stop The Steal” is rooted in fear that to include participation and recognition of everyone is to diminish the power and privilege of some. The insurrection on January 6 was fueled by lies about votes and is a painful reminder to African Americans who are constantly told in many different ways, “You don’t belong, you don’t count, and you don’t matter.”
- President Donald J. Trump continues to repeat lies about the election result and incited insurrection against our constitutional democracy. He has betrayed his oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and constitutes a danger to our democratic system itself. Because he has attacked our democracy, he is unfit to serve in elected office.
- Christian nationalism, a poison to both our democracy and faith, was on display during the mob’s assault on the U.S. Capitol, including in images of rioters holding up signs with Christian references and carrying Christian symbols. Christian nationalism perverts Christianity and endangers our political union, claiming a special, privileged position for Christianity and its adherents. Because it ignores the sin of Black chattel slavery, Christian nationalism in the American context also provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation.
- The United States is not a “Christian nation.” While that term could be used to refer to the demographic fact that a majority of Americans identify as Christian, it is usually used to describe the mythological founding of the country by Christians and for Christians, providing a privileged place for Christianity and its adherents in our laws and in our society. The country’s founding document — the U.S. Constitution — established a system in which the government would remain neutral in terms of religion and where there would be no second-class faiths. We know that our country has not lived up to those ideals. The persistent falsehood that the United States is a “Christian nation” has contributed to the insidious ideology of Christian nationalism which, in the hands of extremists, leads to the kind of violence we witnessed on January 6.
We remain committed to the core values that have sustained BJC — telling the truth, refraining from the demonization of those with whom we have honest disagreements, proceeding in a posture of humility, love and mercy, and protecting our neighbors’ faith freedom as we would our own.
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