In January 6 observations, Catholics urged to stand up for truth and democracy

WASHINGTON, DC – A Catholic organization and cardinal urged fellow church members, people of various faiths and people of goodwill to weigh the consequences of the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol and to fight for democracy.

“If we succumb to despair, if we numb our minds to what is happening in front of us, we are tacitly abandoning our democracy and all it can do to protect the dignity of all of God’s children,” the cardinal tweeted. Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop. of Chicago, the anniversary of the attacks.

On January 6, 2021, thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump breached the United States Capitol, putting the building on lockdown and halting the count of electoral votes to certify the election of 2020.

The count continued, but not before rioters destroyed federal property, stormed into both houses of Congress, assaulted hundreds of police officers and urged then-Vice President Mike Pence to listen. Trump oppose the electoral vote count and not certifying the election.

Pence certified it, but that didn’t stop rioters from believing the election had in fact been stolen.

“The lies that led millions of people to believe the lie that the 2020 election was ‘stolen’ must end,” Cupich said in a tweet. “We must also be vigilant and resist all attempts to restrict voting rights. We ignore them and any effort to weaken our democracy at our peril. “

In Washington, Franciscan deacon Frank Agnoli built the context around the attack during an online interfaith vigil hours before the anniversary, reminding attendees that the aftermath of the attack fueled widespread concern over the state of democracy in the United States.

In a 2021 annual report, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance “demoted the United States to a backward democracy, placing us for the first time in the same category as Brazil, India, Hungary, Poland and the Philippines, ”Agnoli said.

“It should make us think and reflect,” he added. “It should move us to tears and to action.”

Partisanship and ideology, not God, as many have claimed, fueled the rage and ensuing violence that entered the Capitol that day, others who attended the vigil said. of the Franciscan network.

This is also what lies behind the efforts to suppress the vote in a different way, said Rabbi Sharon Brous, who attended the vigil on Jan.5.

But the religious leaders who attended encouraged reflection on key questions for believers: “When did I put my political preferences above God?” How did I turn political power into an idol?

“You know the definition of idolatry is to treat a lie as the deepest truth,” Brous said. “When a lie takes hold in a society, each of us pays the price. And today, a heady lie has swept our nation away, a lie that more than 21 million Americans are now ready to take up arms to defend, a lie that political leaders across the country are striving to reflect in a legislation designed to deprive the people of our fundamental right in a democracy: the right to vote.

Watching the truth and speaking the truth is the only way forward for believers, the rabbi said. Others have warned that the refusal of some to accept the truth is what puts the country on the brink of peril.

Even diehard Republicans like Karl Rove, in a Jan. 6 opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, have tried to sound the alarm, speaking to Republicans and urging them to put “country first.” celebration “.

“There can be no soft pedal on what happened and no absolution for those who planned, encouraged and aided the attempt to overthrow our democracy,” he said of January 6, 2021 and its consequences.

He too encouraged a reflection of a different kind.

“So on this anniversary here’s a simple thought experiment: What if the other party had? ” he wrote.

During the Franciscan Action Network’s Zoom Vigil, Reverend Traci Blackmon, Associate General Minister of The United Church of Christ in Washington, urged to find ways to love others, even in the midst of chaos, political disagreements, the general unease and animosity the attack produced.

While this is tempting, she urged others not to reject those they disagree with.

“God dwells among us all regardless of our faith or denominational boundaries. God dwells among us regardless of our race, political affiliations, gender expressions, disabilities, socio-economic status or geographic location, ”she said. “God is with all of us, all of us… we cannot throw away people, places or things. “

God calls for unity, she said, not disagreements, and that unity can only be found in love.

“Love is the one thing, my friends, that never dies,” she said. “It is to this light that we are called, and it is only in this light that we are one. So be it.

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