White Evangelicals, it's time to "go to the [MAT]tresses" for democracy.
Now is the moment to take a stand for truth...and to collect your people.
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As the chaos of the attempted insurrection on January 6, 2021 unfolded, Donald Trump, Jr. sent a text to Mark Meadows, chief of staff for former president Donald J. Trump saying, “This is one you go to the mattresses on.”
In a deposition given for the January 6th Select Committee, the junior Trump explained that the quote came from The Godfather movie. In context, it seems to mean “go to war with a rival gang.”
Perhaps Don Jr. meant to write “go to the mat” instead of “go to the mattresses” but the connotation is still there.
Trump, Jr. was one of many Republicans that day who urged Meadows to exhaust every option to get the president to take action and disperse the mob. If there was ever a moment to pull out all the stops to get Trump to change his mind, then it was during the insurrection at the Capitol.
Notwithstanding the Don Jr.’s clumsy phraseology, white evangelicals, it’s time to “go to the mattresses” for democracy.
This is your moment to take bold action for the sake of the nation and everyone in it. As white evangelicals you have a unique responsibility in refuting lies about a stolen election. This is your time to collect your people.
Among religious folks, white evangelicals express the strongest support for the “Big Lie.” A poll by the Public Religion Research Institution (PRRI) revealed…
A majority of white evangelical Protestants (60%) and around four in ten white Catholics (40%) and white mainline (non-evangelical) Protestants (37%) believe that the election was stolen from Trump.
If you’re part of the 40 percent o white evangelical Protestants who reject the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, then what will you do about the other 60 percent, many of whom are likely in your families, churches, and social networks?
Catholics? Mainliners? You, too.
The series of public hearings with sworn testimony, text messages, and video footage provide ample evidence that Trump was directly responsible not only for promoting the lie that the election was stolen but also for inciting the riot on January 6th.
The most recent hearing focused on Trump’s action and lack of action for 187 minutes—more than 3 hours—while his mob stormed the Capitol in attempt to subvert the peaceful transfer of power.
Even now, Trump is plotting when to announce his 2024 bid for re-election.
A Generational Moment
There are a just a few moments in every generation when a people have the opportunity to take a courageous stand for truth. Now, when a lie threatens to dissolve the foundations of our most venerated political institutions, is one of those times.
So talk to your friends, relatives, and fellow church members. Maybe you’ll say to them, “Listen, I’m still a political conservative. That’s precisely why we need to do all we can to conserve our democratic institutions.”
Or maybe you’re not sure where you stand with politics at all, but you are sure that you are committed to truth, wherever it may lead.
When others in your faith community vociferously insist that the election was stolen and point to conspiracy theories to back their claims, you can speak up just as loudly with real facts and evidence.
Write newsletter articles. Post selfie videos. Share social media posts. Buy extra copies of books.
It may seem paltry in the face of a teetering democracy, but we cannot underestimate the power of telling the truth, again, and again, and again.
Overwhelm lies with relentless truth.
It will be costly. Standing up for truth always is.
Some of you have already lost relationships with friends and family. You may lose more. Some of you have preserved those relationships because you have preferred a false peace which is the absence of tension rather than the presence of justice, as MLK would say.
But now is the time for confrontation. Now is the time to go to the mat…or the mattresses for democracy.
You will not be able to change everyone’s mind—perhaps no one will be swayed by your efforts. But it’s still the right thing to do.
This is not about politics, it’s about peace. It’s not about winning, it’s about witness.
Perhaps, if enough white evangelicals dedicated to truth and neighbor take action, then the word “evangelical” might actually mean “good news”…for democracy.
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Thank you for your words of enCOURAGEment. I have lost my relationship with my only living family member due to her obstinance to see the truth of racism and the lies of #45. Truth matters-even at the expense of (perceived) peace.
Appreciate this conversation. Appreciate the suggestions and ideas for actions. They are all do-able by nearly anyone.
We are not hopeless because we are still alive today. We have the gift of being present in the lives of people, and we have the gift of agency to use our connections to speak and show truth.
We are never guaranteed that we'll break through. We are guaranteed that our Lord will be with us as we work to build his kin-dom and bring restoration and redemption. Our Lord will do the work of softening the heart and smoothing the rough places.
Let us be willing to be His agents of change and hope.