WASHINGTON (RNS) — Maryland Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin expressed issues on Thursday about needing to “deprogram” some Republican Home colleagues he described as appearing like “members of a spiritual cult,” and singled out “white Christian nationalist teams” amongst those that participated within the assault on the U.S. Capitol final 12 months.
Raskin, who sits on the choose Home committee investigating the rebellion that passed off on Jan. 6, 2021, made the feedback throughout an April 21 occasion at Georgetown College titled “Fact and Trauma: The Trials of American Democracy and Private Tragedy.” The practically two-hour wide-ranging dialogue was moderated by Jim Wallis, head of the college’s Middle on Religion and Justice, which hosted the occasion.
Noting how Raskin misplaced his son to suicide days earlier than the rebellion, Wallis, who additionally based the liberal-leaning Christian group Sojourners, described the congressman as a “loving father, a patriot in sunshine and stormy climate, and a champion within the battle for democracy that now lies forward for all of us.”
Requested in regards to the ongoing work of the choose committee, Raskin inspired attendees to take heed to hearings on Jan. 6 slated to happen later this 12 months.
“The hearings will inform a narrative that may actually blow the roof off the Home,” he stated, “as a result of it’s a story of probably the most heinous and dastardly political offense ever organized by a president and his followers and his entourage within the historical past of the USA.”
Raskin added that the “scariest” ring of affect throughout the rebellion was the group of ringleaders of what he termed the “coup” and described as an insider-led organized effort to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 election.
“This was not a coup directed on the president. It was a coup directed by the president in opposition to the vp, and in opposition to Congress,” he stated.
Raskin went on to record a litany of teams he stated had been concerned with Jan. 6, such because the extremist teams Oathkeepers and Proud Boys, whose members are dealing with costs for his or her function within the assault, in addition to “QAnon networks, militia teams, the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, and a few white Christian nationalist teams.”
The reference to Christian nationalism comes within the wake of a report, printed in February by the Baptist Joint Committee for Non secular Liberty and the Freedom From Faith Basis, detailing the numerous function the fusion of religion and politics performed within the assault on the Capitol. Authors of the report briefed members of the Congressional Freethought Caucus final month about their findings — together with Raskin, who co-founded the caucus.
Addressing the non secular components of the assault is a shift from the early impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump that Raskin helped lead in February 2021, the place references to the religion of insurrectionists were notably absent.
Afterward in this system, a scholar within the viewers requested Raskin tips on how to preserve psychological well being in a chaotic world. Raskin replied by encouraging listeners to “persist with the reality,” then expressed issues about Republican colleagues he stated “feed themselves on lies.”
He singled out Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a controversial Georgia lawmaker, conservative Christian and conspiracy theorist who has endorsed views related to the QAnon motion — a few of which have been decried as antisemitic and anti-Muslim — that resulted in her being stripped of committee assignments shortly after assuming workplace in 2021.
Raskin recalled a current incident the place Greene heckled him on the House floor whereas he was encouraging the members to carry two of Donald Trump’s former allies in contempt of Congress.
Raskin, a humanist and a member of the Congressional Free Thought Caucus, stated the habits is proof that some Republican Home members are “appearing rather more like members of a spiritual cult,” and stated he has “actually been consulting deprogrammers to attempt to determine tips on how to discuss to them and tips on how to pull them away.”
The lawmaker stated deprogrammers instructed him to be “as heat and affectionate and as personable as you’ll be able to” to his colleagues to “make them bear in mind what life was like earlier than they obtained into the cult.
“However you must be very emphatic about what the reality is and what details are versus what’s simply derangement,” he stated. “I’ve instructed a few of them — I’m like, ‘If you happen to guys don’t get out of this, you’re going to be match when it’s throughout solely to be promoting incense and flowers at Dulles Airport.’”
He later defined he feels the wrestle to defend democracy is paramount for a wide range of causes, akin to offering the soundness to permit the U.S. to confront international local weather change.
“The wrestle for democracy should succeed, after which grow to be … the wrestle for our species,” he stated.
In discussing Raskin’s new e-book, “Unthinkable: Trauma, Fact, and the Trials of American Democracy,” Wallis famous the lawmaker has devoted his work with the choose committee and broader advocacy to his late son.
“I wrote my e-book as a love letter to my son and as a love letter to my nation,” stated a visibly emotional Raskin, who’s Jewish. “We’ve misplaced our son, however we don’t wish to lose our nation.”
On the finish of this system, Raskin was requested by a scholar how he would recommend going about “deprogramming … individuals who have been sucked into this cult” outdoors of the halls of Congress. Raskin cited his son, who, he famous, taught Sunday faculty and instructed youngsters that “everyone ought to attempt to make buddies with any person you don’t agree with.”
“That’s fairly good recommendation,” Raskin stated. “I feel that rediscovering these mystical cords of affection, and people bonds … I feel that’s vital.”