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US Capitol mobbing: Former White House faith advisor says Christians should think about the role they've played

by Tola Mbakwe

Former faith advisor to Barack Obama, Michael Wear, has said he's shocked, burdened and haunted by the images of protestors storming into the US Capitol building on Wednesday. 

A violent mob loyal to Donald Trump raged into the US Capitol and forced legislators into hiding, in an attempt to overturn America's presidential election and keep Joe Biden from replacing Mr Trump in the White House.

Some Republican legislators were in the midst of raising objections to the results on his behalf when the proceedings were abruptly halted by the mob.

The nation's elected representatives scrambled to crouch under desks and don gas masks, while police tried to barricade the building. 

A woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol, and Washington's mayor instituted an evening curfew in an attempt to contain the violence. Police said three other people died from medical emergencies.

The rioters were egged-on by Mr Trump, who had spent weeks falsely attacking the integrity of the election and urged his supporters to descend on Washington to protest against Congress' formal approval of Mr Biden's victory.

Wear, who served in the White House faith-based initiative under former President Barack Obama, told Premier he thinks Mr Trump is to blame, but Christians must have a period of self-reflection after the tragic events. 

"We need to address the sort of individuals who have fomented this sort of politics of contempt, we also need to address the fact that politicians who would do such things are in office to some extent, because they represent the will of the people," he said. "We need to stare that at the face." 

"Christians need to think about the role that that they have played in not taking politics seriously in the right ways and instead succumbing to a kind of political idolatry which takes politics seriously as a sort of form of cultural expression, takes it seriously in a tribal way, but doesn't view politics as a means for helping people, that doesn't view politics as a way of figuring out how we live together.

He added: "We need to take a real hard look at whether our political involvement reflects a true care for the peace of prosperity of the city and the nation to which we have been called."

On Thursday morning, Mr Trump pledged there will be an orderly transition after Congress formally validated Mr Biden's victory, but the support Mr Trump received for his efforts to overturn the election results have badly strained the nation's democratic safeguards.

Meanwhile, Christian political commentator Martyn Whittock also told Premier Mr Trump was to blame: "I think Trump is in denial concerning his own responsibility for this. 

"I don't think he's personally capable of accepting responsibility for a loss or for anything going badly wrong. I think his default position is always to blame somebody else. And he has had an adult lifetime of people exceeding to his demands and falling in line with him. He's not about to suddenly have a personality change at this point."

Greg Swenson, a Christian from the group Republican Overseas, admits that Mr Trump's rhetoric is partly to blame, but worries what happened will end up being his legacy. 

"I think as Christians, we're just concerned that all of the good that came from the President's term is potentially called into question or will be overlooked, because everyone will dwell on the last few weeks and this post-election frenzy. 

"We're very conscious of the fact that the President is an imperfect person like we all are, we're all sinners. We're always concerned that as Christians, and as conservatives, we always want the image to be projected in a positive way. This was not a good day for the conservative movement."

Congress reconvened in the evening, legislators condemning the protests that defaced the Capitol and vowing to finish confirming the Electoral College vote for Mr Biden.

Vice president Mike Pence, reopening the Senate, directly addressed the demonstrators, saying: "You did not win."

Whittock said mobbing may impact Mr Trump's ardent support among conservative evangelicals. 

"Before yesterday, in the aftermath if Trump's defeat, a very well-known US evangelical confided to me in an off-the-record assessment that he felt a majority of evangelicals believe in Trump's narrative of a stolen election. A minority resigned to a Biden presidency but keep fighting to change abortion law, a smaller minority are relieved that Trump's defeat and huge numbers of young evangelicals and leaving their highly politicised, spiritual communities," Whittock said. 

"So, up until yesterday, all the evidence is that a huge number of evangelicals, including very senior evangelicals, have backed the lie of the stolen election. Where they are this morning. I'm genuinely not sure, that will be revealed."

Several US church leaders have condemned what happened including Rev Franklin Graham, Dr Tony Evans, Pastor Rick Warren and Pastor John Hagee.

Listen to Premier's interview with Michael Wear here: 

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