Riveted Americans have watched the chilling testimony before Congress this week of four police officers who survived the Jan. 6 insurrection. Riveted Americans have watched the chilling testimony before Congress this week of four police officers who survived the Jan. 6 insurrection.
There were many memorable revelations — as the men recounted racism, attempts to kill them, and offered advice to go after the “hitman” who sent the rioters. But an especially startling one occurred during the testimony of D.C. Officer Daniel Hodges, who suffered a heart attack and a concussion during the melee. Hodges plainspokenly called the rioters “terrorists” and, just as matter-of-factly, described them as Christian:
Said Hodges: “It was clear the terrorists perceived themselves to be Christians. I saw the Christian flag directly to my front. Another read ‘Jesus is my savior, Trump is my president.’ Another, ‘Jesus is King.’”
We’ve finally seen the truth — the Christian nationalist underpinnings of the insurrection — spoken out loud and acknowledged before Congress. It is often not well understood that Christian nationalism is a political ideology encompassing white supremacy and political extremism. Even many progressive elected officials have been loath to name the Christian nationalism so obvious during the insurrection and by supporters of the Jan. 6 mob. As these four men who risked their very lives to defend members of Congress were testifying, a disgraceful press conference was being held outside the Capitol by a half-dozen House members. Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana had the temerity to try to blame the Capitol Police for not being “trained,” as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Meanwhile, in front of the Justice Department, yet another press conference by some U.S. representatives was taking place, in which Rep. Paul Gosar, a Christian nationalist who voted against certification of President Biden, claimed that the hundreds of insurrectionists facing prosecution are “political prisoners.” He was joined (no surprise) by Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, notorious for their extremism. Most of the members of Congress in attendance at these contemptible press conferences were named on FFRF’s roster of Christian nationalist House members who voted not to certify the election. As FFRF pointed out in January, there were already insurrectionists inside the Capitol well before the mob ever attacked it.The contingent of Capitol and D.C. police who valiantly safeguarded the U.S. Capitol and its inhabitants on Jan. 6 deserve a lot of gratitude. Now we owe Officer Hodges even more — for “speaking truth to power” this week.