Texas Baptists on social media condemn violence and racism

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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As rioters seized the U.S. Capitol, Texas Baptists vented on social media—urging prayers for peace, condemning violence and deploring the double standard in how a white mob and peaceful Black protesters have been treated.

American Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. (Lightstock Image)

David Hardage, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, tweeted: “So saddened by the shameful actions of rioters and protesters in Washington DC today. Praying for peace.”

The Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission posted a statement on social media: “Let Christ’s promises be our peace and assurance, to keep us calm and kind in the midst of our present political storm. God’s hope will anchor our souls (Heb. 6:19) and give us the strength to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Mic. 6:8). Days like today reveal complex issues that require full and robust discourse.”

The CLC social media posts included a link to a previously recorded video, “Is church unity possible in this time of political division?”

Other Texas Baptists were less muted in their posts.

Alluding to a quote from President Donald Trump’s inaugural address, Myles Werntz, director of the Center for Baptist Studies at Abilene Christian University, tweeted, “Who knew ‘American carnage’ was a prophecy and not hyperbole?”

John Crowder, pastor of First Baptist Church in West, posted on Facebook: “This is not how we make decisions. This is not who we are. This is not patriotism. This is beneath us. This is criminal. This is sad.”

Deploring unequal justice

Kathryn Freeman, former public policy director for the CLC, tweeted: “Police officers seem to be able to exercise a type of restraint in the face of insurrection that is never present when people protest for equal justice and for the protection of black life.”

Freeman also tweeted: “We are talking about the dangers of white supremacy, conspiracy theories, Christian nationalism right now. If you are talking about anything else you are off topic and giving cover to those who struggle with the former to excuse their sin.”

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In a series of Facebook posts, Delvin Atchison, pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Lewisville, commented on the stark difference between how the Trump Administration treated peaceful protesters and how it responded to the mob at the U.S. Capitol.

“We can teargas peaceful protestors for an upside-down Bible photo op but can’t keep the Capitol open for the business of the government?” he asked incredulously in one post.

“Black man walking away from police is shot 7 times and paralyzed. White protesters storm the Capitol of the United States with Congress in session and the best we get is tweets?” he wrote in another post.

On Wednesday evening, Atchison wrote: “When we protest to protect the dignity of black life, we are thugs. When they negate legally cast votes, they are very special.”

John Litzler, a Texas Baptist attorney who works with Christian Unity Ministries in San Antonio, wrote a Facebook post saying he needed time to “work through and reflect on what’s happened,” but offered words of support to “any person of color” hurt by the racism on display in the day’s events.

“I see and I am not distracted. I am not distracted by the issue of certifying electoral votes. I am not distracted by claims of a stolen election. I’m not distracted by political affiliations,” he wrote.

“I see the reenactment of George Floyd’s death on the Capitol steps. I see the noose and gallows erected on the west side of the Capitol. I see the Confederate battle flag hung inside the Capitol building (something that didn’t even occur during the Civil War). I see and I know what they are trying to do. … I don’t know if you feel like everyone is being fooled. I am not fooled.”

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