More than 255 former and current Wheaton College faculty and staff have signed a statement condemning last week’s attack on the Capitol and specifically decrying “blasphemous abuses of Christian symbols.” The statement also denounces what it calls “wicked leadership—especially by President Trump,” but also by some evangelical leaders.
“The behaviors that many participants celebrated in Jesus’ name bear absolutely no resemblance to the Christian teachings or ethics that we submit to as faculty and staff of Wheaton College,” the statement said.
The statement also chastised evangelical leaders who “could have spoken truth to the disillusioned supporters of President Trump,” but instead “wittingly propagated lies, or were unduly silent in a just cause.”
After the election, evangelical leaders like Eric Metaxas, Franklin Graham, and a host of others supported the idea that voter fraud was to blame for Trump’s loss. This aligns with Trump’s narrative, who on the evening of the riot, tweeted: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long.”
Though many evangelicals have condemned the riots, the Wheaton faculty statement is one of the first, if not the first, official statement to confront evangelical leaders.
The statement also alleged that “systemic racism” was to blame for “differential treatment” given those who trespassed on the Capitol as opposed to those who protested police brutality over the summer.
“These realities are reprehensible,” it stated. “Our Christian faith demands shining a light on these evils and the simultaneous commitment to take appropriate action.”
The faculty statement released Monday differs somewhat from an official statement by Wheaton College the same day.
The official Wheaton College statement decried the “violent attack on democracy,” but did not name Trump or other evangelicals. However, similar to the faculty and staff statement, the college statement lamented “the way perpetrators used the name of Jesus to promote violence, display racist symbols, and attack our nation’s leaders.”