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Reckon Bulletin: January 6 reflections, Trump Jr.’s Bible and a primer on spiritual abuse

Happy Sunday, Reckoners! Last week’s bulletin was a little lighter, but this time we’re jumping into harder discussions. We’re covering the two-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection, Christian Nationalism, the 2024 election, spiritual abuse and the hard work done by ordinary folks to expose the sexual abuse crisis in the Southern Baptist Convention.

They’re heavy topics, but we can reckon with them together. If you’ve got questions about spiritual abuse, send me an email at abeahm@reckonmedia.com or send me a DM or Instagram or Twitter. Let’s jump in, shall we?

It’s been two years since the Jan. 6 capitol insurrection. What have we learned?

It’s been two years since a surge of far-right and Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol in effort to stop the certification of the 2020 election of President Joe Biden. Seven people died—including four responding police officers who died by suicide in the following weeks and months. The Capitol had never been invaded in an attempted coup carried out by its own citizens.

The Jan. 6 Committee has ended its hearings and released its final report on the insurrection two weeks ago, ultimately recommending the DOJ charge former President Donald Trump for his role in the riot. It’s unclear if the DOJ will follow the committee’s recommendations, as they’re not legally required to do so.

Religion professor Dan Miller says the political and social ideologies of the people who stormed the capitol are still at play among American conservatives.

Miller is an author, former minister, a co-host of the Straight White American Jesus podcast and an associate professor of religion and social thought and Chair of the Department of Liberal Studies at Landmark College in Vermont.

Reckon spoke with Miller about what he’s learned since Jan. 6, 2021, and shared his thoughts on what aspects of White Christian Nationalism will still be prevalent issues in the 2024 presidential election.

Reckon: It’s been two years since the insurrection, what are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned in your study of the events of that day and the actors behind it?

Miller: I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is how mainstream Christian nationalism is in the contemporary GOP and conservative political movements. Second, Trumpism as we want to call it isn’t going away if Trump goes away. Third, especially with the release of information that’s been coming out about that is that there doesn’t seem to be much ambiguity about the aims and intent of a lot of the actors on that day. The Secret Service already had information about safety before Jan. 6, and I think it really takes away the credibility of those who want to say that this was simply a spontaneous event that nobody could have foreseen.

Read the rest of the story at reckon.news.

If you’re looking for more Jan. 6 analysis, here’s my read, watch, listen:

Read: These Are the People Who Died in Connection With the Capitol Riot (New York Times)

At least 978 people have been charged in the Capitol insurrection so far. This searchable table shows them all. (Insider)

Watch: “Four Hours at the Capitol” (HBO)

Listen: Charismatic Revival Fury series (Straight White American Jesus)

January is spiritual abuse awareness month

January is also spiritual abuse awareness month, and there’s a lot to dig into. The notion of spiritual abuse has become more widely discussed in mainstream circles in the last few years and has expanded from discussions around cults to include many well-known and well-accepted teachings of evangelical Christianity, Mormonism and other spiritual practices that don’t involve deities.

This week, I wanted to share some resources available for survivors looking for therapy or support in processing their spiritual abuse experiences.

Meet Christa Brown, the Texan who has worked for over a decade to expose sexual abuse in the SBC

Christa Brown describes her girlhood self as a “goody-two-shoes nerd.” She sang in the church choir and played piano. She adored God with the “wholehearted, unlimited love” of a child.

She felt cool riding with other church kids in her Baptist youth pastor’s ‘66 Mustang. The pastor, Tommy Gilmore, was then in his late twenties. According to Brown, when he played flag football with her, he kept ending up on top of her, pinning her face-down to the ground. He lingered there. When the youth group played Twister, he played too, pressing his body against hers. When she wore high heels for the first time at 15, Gilmore told her how he loved what heels did for a woman’s legs.

Brown trusted him. She confided family secrets to Gilmore, and as he began to counsel her regularly, he started to drop her off last after youth events. Alone together in his car, he told her sex was a gift from God.

As Brown details in her book, This Little Light, Gilmore soon admitted to a growing obsession with kissing her. She refused. He was like an uncle or older brother to her. She’d never been on a date or held hands with anyone. He kept asking until she relented. Soon, he was touching her and telling her he loved her—that God had preordained her to be his helpmeet (a Biblical term interpreted as “helpful companion”). Gilmore was married and said men in the Bible often had multiple wives or concubines.

“It’s God’s will,” he told her.

She’d been taught to be submissive, to defer to male pastoral authority.

Read the rest of the story at Vice.com.

Donald Trump Jr.’s “We The People Bible” ain’t the first America-themed Bible

Donald Trump Jr has appeared in advertisements for the We The People Bible—a King James Version bible that includes copies of America’s founding documents. The bonded leather cover features an American flag and the words “Holy Bible” inscribed in Old Glory’s stars.

This seems to be an attempt to continue the Trump appeal to conservative white Christians who believe keeping Christianity at the center of American politics will ensure America’s success now and in the future. Here’s what he had to say about it:

“Faith is being targeted and our country’s founding beliefs are being targeted. The “We The People Bible” is restoring what there is an attempt to remove. Preservation of Faith, preservation of America,” Donald Trump Jr. said.

This isn’t the first America-themed study Bible to hit the shelves. In 2020, the “God Bless the USA Bible” was launched. This copy of the Bible includes the chorus of Lee Greenwood’s patriotic hit “God Bless the USA,” a copy of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

There’s also The American Patriot’s Bible (2009), The Young American Patriot’s Bible (2011), The 1599 Geneva Bible – Patriot’s Edition (2012) and the God’s Glory Bible (2014). There are more examples of America-themed Bibles, but let’s stop there.

Here’s the description of the “We The People Bible” Trump Jr. is supporting:

“The We The People Bible was designed with the patriot in mind and features a vertical reversed American flag design that represents a country in distress. Our bible is proudly made in the USA and has been designed with large print that delivers an easy reading experience to anyone looking to explore the tried-and-true King James (KJV) translation. Every We The People Bible also includes easy-to-read copies of America’s founding documents including the United States Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and the Pledge of Allegiance.”

If you have any hot takes on America-themed Bibles, send me an email at abeahm@reckonmedia.com

Need more?

  • Scotland’s plan to ban barbaric conversion therapy is already upsetting Christian bigots (Pink News)
  • ‘Stranger Things’ Star Noah Schnapp Comes Out as Gay: ‘I’m More Similar to Will Than I Thought’ (Variety)
  • ‘Horrifying’: Oklahoma Republicans draft bill to criminalize gender-affirming care for individuals under 26 (AlterNet)
Anna Beahm

Anna Beahm | abeahm@reckonmedia.com

I report on the intersection of religion and sexuality in America. Follow me on Twitter @_AnnaBeahm

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