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I have no skin in the game of American politics, so I have been able to look on with a degree of dispassion at the extraordinary divergence of views about what really happened on 06 January 2021 in the Capitol building in Washington DC.
That said, the enquiry into the events, whose results have recently been published complete with graphic videos, seems (to me at least) to have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the intentions of the crowd on that day were malign and intended to subvert the peaceful transition of power following the election of President Biden. There is no other explanation for the level of physical and rhetorical violence exhibited. Yet just five months ago the official, and settled, view of the Republican Party was that the attack on the Capitol was an example of ‘legitimate political discourse’; and while only 25% of Americans overall believe that the crowd was ‘protecting democracy’, that figure rises to well over 50% amongst Republican voters. Clearly, there are still those who doubt the official version of events and who are determined to stoke political division.
This coming Sunday is the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle. Thomas, one of Jesus’s disciples, famously refused to believe the other disciples when they joyfully told him on the first Easter Day: ‘we have seen the Lord!’. He demanded the physical proof of feeling the wounds in Jesus’s hands and side. A week later, when the disciples were once again gathered together, Jesus gave Thomas the opportunity he had demanded. But instead of taking it, instead of reassuring himself by touching Jesus’s wounds, Thomas simply uttered one of the briefest yet most profound expressions of faith in the New Testament: ‘My Lord and my God’. On seeing the risen Christ, Thomas was done with doubt. Legend has it that he subsequently took his discipleship seriously enough to travel all the way to India bearing the Good News of Christ.
Many of those who, on the one hand, doubt the official version of what happened on 06 January have no doubt, on the other, that Jesus is their Lord and their God and espouse a firm Christian faith. But the implications of that faith, of that firm belief in the risen Christ, seem to be lacking. Perhaps the protestor who carried a picture of Christ with a ‘Make America Great Again’ baseball cap might reflect more deeply on the words of St Paul in 2 Corinthians: God … reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. Responsibility for that ministry must continue to be owned by Christians everywhere in the USA and elsewhere. Of that there can be no doubt.
With love and prayers,
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