Jan. 6 ‘Terrorists Perceived Themselves to Be Christians’ — Police Marvel at Hypocrisy, Racism Displayed During Capitol Riot

Capitol Police officer Sgt. Aquilino Gonnell, Metro PD officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges, and Capitol police officer Harry Dunn on July 27
Capitol Police officer Sgt. Aquilino Gonnell, Metro PD officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges, and Capitol police officer Harry Dunn on July 27. (Photo: videograb)

“It was clear the terrorists perceived themselves to be Christians…” Those are the words of officer Daniel Hodges of the Metropolitan Police Department. Hodges, along with other police officers, testified of their harrowing experiences during the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol during a televised House hearing on July 27.

In addition to Hodges’s testimony, comments expressed by Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn paint a disturbing image of the mobs who attempted to overthrow the government — based on the lie that Donald Trump had won the presidential election.

“I saw the Christian flag directly to my front. Another read ‘Jesus is my Savior, Trump is my president.’ Another ‘Jesus is King,’” Hodges said during the hearing. The Metro PD officer said he also saw a “terrorist” wearing a shirt that read “God, Guns, and Trump.”

Hodges, who is White, also revealed that members of the “white nationalist insurrection” had attempted to recruit him.

The Capitol riot crowd was “overwhelmingly” composed of “White males,” he said, and they addressed him much differently from his colleagues of color.

“Some of them would try to, try to recruit me. One of them came up to me and said, ‘Are you my brother?'” Hodges told lawmakers.

Hodges’s testimony of what he saw and experienced that day reflects much of what had already been observed about the religious element of the Capitol riot.

For example, Faithfully Magazine previously reported on how a reporter recorded video of rioters violating the Senate chamber. The video shows insurrectionists, with bowed heads and lifted hands, thanking God “for filling this chamber with patriots that love You and that love Christ.”

However, testimony by Capitol police officer Harry Dunn reflects the racist mindset of the Christian nationalists who attempted to overthrow the government.

Dunn, who was visibly upset, told lawmakers that rioters called him and other Black police officers n*ggers.

When he revealed to a mob that he had voted for Joe Biden, one woman in a “MAGA” shirt responded: “You hear that, guys, this n*gger voted for Joe Biden!”

Dunn said a crowd of about 20 people then started to chant: “Boo! Fucking n*gger!”

The Black police officer said that was the first time he had ever been called a racial epithet while in uniform.

He also shared that in the days after the Capitol riot, other African American officers revealed that they had faced similar racism from the mobs.

Dunn said one officer told him of being told to “put your gun down and we’ll show you what kind of n*gger you really are!”

“It was just so overwhelming,” Dunn said. “And it’s so disheartening and disappointing that we live in a country with people like that, that attack you because of the color of your skin, just to hurt you. Those words are weapons.”

Hodges and Dunn were among four police officers to testify during the first meeting of the hearing on the insurrection. The hearing is officially titled the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Capitol Police officer Sgt. Aquilino Gonnell and officer Michael Fanone of the Metro PD also testified.

Sociologists and religion experts have long observed the interweaving of white supremacy and Christian nationalism among Trump supporters — while others argue that race has historically been an integral element of American Christianity.

More than 500 people have been arrested in connection with the Capitol insurrection, including a father and son who are said to be pastors. At least five deaths have been linked to the Jan. 6 riot.

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    Contributor

    Written by Nicola A. Menzie

    Nicola A. Menzie is Managing Editor of Faithfully Magazine. Nicola is a religion reporter in NYC whose bylines have appeared on the websites of the Religion News Service, The Christian Post, CBS News and Vibe magazine. You can find her on Twitter @namenzie. Email: nicola.menzie (at) faithfullymagazine.com.

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