What I Saw At The Jericho March

What I Saw At The Jericho March, by Rod Dreher.

I watched all six hours of the Jericho March proceedings from Washington today, on the march webcast. … I am interested in what the activist Christian Right is saying, and how they are thinking, in the wake of Donald Trump losing the election.

Except he didn’t lose the election, according to them. It was taken from him. This is an article of faith, not to be doubted. If you doubt, you are a traitor, a coward, in league with the Devil. I’m not exaggerating at all. …

It was a Trump rally by Christians (and sympathetic Jews) designed to mimic the Biblical story of the Israelite army ritually marching around the walled city of Jericho, blowing the shofar, and watching as God demolished the city’s defenses, so the Israelites could conquer. The idea of the Jericho March is that the true believers would circle the corrupt institutions of the US Government, the ones promulgating the hoax that Trump lost the election.

I watched because I wanted to see how far the Christian Right — for the record, I am an Orthodox Christian, and a conservative — would go to conflate Trump politics and religion. Pretty far, as it turns out. Right over the cliff. You had to see it to believe it.

The rally was held at a stage erected somewhere on the National Mall, it seemed. Eric Metaxas was the emcee. … Eric told the crowd that a particular man had a vision of the Jericho March a few days ago, and that we would be meeting that man onstage soon. “When God gives you a vision, you don’t need to know anything else,” said Eric, who then asked people to use the price code ERIC when they buy a MyPillow.com product. The company’s founder, Mike Lindell, would soon be speaking too. …

It’s one thing to claim that God told you to change churches, or something like that. It’s another thing to claim, especially if you have a national microphone, that God told you that the election was stolen, and that people need to prepare themselves to fight to the last drop of blood — an actual quote — to keep the libs from taking the presidency away from Trump. …

Most of the Jericho March speakers, in one way or another, asserted their certainty about the election’s theft. The fact that courts keep throwing these Trump lawsuits out only proves how deep the corruption goes.

See how that works? They are willing to tear down the country for a belief that they cannot prove, but that they will not believe is disprovable. …

I began to think that all of this is the right-wing Christian version of Critical Race Theory, and various doctrines held by the woke Left. For example, if you look at the evidence, and you find the claim of endemic white supremacy to be lacking, well, that just goes to show how deep the corruption within you goes. If a woman claims to be a man, then you must believe her, and to fail to do so only shows your bigotry. And so forth. … This ideology has conquered so many institutions in this society, and few on the Left dare to stand against it. All the passion on the Left belongs to the irrational zealots of critical theory, and their minions. …

General Flynn:

Retired Gen. Michael Flynn came onstage, saying that his MyPillow gave him the best sleep of his life. Then he recited the Our Father. Jesus, America, hucksterism: that was another theme of this rally. At times during the webcast, the screen would split, with the speaker on the left, and a My Pillow commercial on the right.

This Flynn speech was important, though. He said, “The Courts don’t decide the election, we the people decide.” But later: “The rule of law is at stake.”

Well, which is it? The rule of law in our Constitutional republic means that the courts operate in the name of We the People. Flynn declares mob rule over our constitutional institutions in the same speech in which he decried the loss of the rule of law. He obviously didn’t get the irony, nor, I’d wager, did a soul in that crowd.

He also told the people to ignore their minds and listen to their hearts, because in your heart is where you determine truth. It’s. All. About. Feeling. Don’t think, feel. This is 100 percent what Metaxas was saying this week on Charlie Kirk’s show: logic & evidence don’t matter if your heart tells you that Trump won. …

Get this: at the height of Flynn’s speech, Trump appeared overhead in Marine One. Like an apparition! After Trump choppered off to the Army-Navy game, Flynn resumed his address. Every time they attack Trump, he said, they’re attacking you! Total identification of the collective with the individual man, Trump. …

My point is simply that political rhetoric that turns a political movement into a personality cult, and unites the masses in this psychological way with the leader, are never headed to a good place. You see what Flynn also did here: trained people in the crowd to reject any criticism of Trump as a personal attack on them.

Don’t doubt that God is speaking to you about his favored leader, Donald Trump. Reject all criticism of the leader Trump as the same as attack upon yourself. Let no distance come between you and the divinely appointed leader.

The rational middle ground was a no-show:

A woman who heads a pro-Trump organization in Virginia came onstage to instruct the crowd: “We have to align our spirituality to our politics.” Just as Trump won a landslide election victory, she said, we will have a “landslide against evil.”

We have heard this over and over this year from the woke Left: those who oppose them are not just wrong, but evil. And now we have it from the Right. This country cannot withstand this. …

Next came a white pastor, who announced “the final mission to ending this high treason.” He likened the crowd to soldiers preparing for war to restore Eden. “We are here to save Earth and its inhabitants,” he said. …. If the twentieth century tells us anything, it’s that whenever you hear anyone standing before a crowd, winding them up about the cause of creating utopia on earth, you had better run. Before he left the stage, the pastor gave a phone number for people to text in donations. Of course. …

We live in interesting times (you know, the old Chinese curse):

Another speaker, a man wearing a black cowboy hat, called on Trump to “invoke the Insurrection Act” to “drop the hammer” on “traitors.” He said that Trump should know that the “militia” is with him.

“Let’s get it on now, while [Trump] is still the commander in chief,” said the speaker.

This man demanded that the US president invoke extraordinary powers to punish his political enemies, and that Christians form militias to support him. After he left the stage, Metaxas’s only comment was, “This guy is keeping it real.” Again, these people are the mirror image of the insane intersectional Left. I would no more willingly submit to their rule than I would to woke soft totalitarianism. What a rotten time.

There was more. “This is the beginning of a Christian populist uprising,” says Lance Wallnau, popular pro-Trump Christian writer. He denounced pastors who aren’t on board as cowards. No kidding, this stuff is going to shatter local churches. A Baptist pastor friend texted me earlier this week to say that a dozen people had already left his church, their minds set afire by this kind of propaganda. They went off to fight for America. …

Yes, it is bonkers. All of it. But you would be wrong to make fun of it and blow it off. This phenomenon is going to matter. Divinizing MAGA and Stop The Steal is going to tear churches to bits, and drive people away from the Christian faith (or keep them from coming in the first place). Based on what I saw today, the Christians in this movement do not doubt that Trump is God’s chosen, that they, by following him, are walking in light, and whatever they do to serve Trump is also serving God. They have tightly wound apocalyptic religion to conservative politics and American nationalism. …

The millenarian temptation is always with us. The woke Left has surrendered to it. Instead of good and evil falling along class lines, it falls between races and genders. … The Left has marched through the institutions, and are imposing what I call “soft totalitarianism” on the rest of us — something they justify with the same kind of anti-rational, passionate, apocalyptic moralizing. I’m more worried about them, because they have far more power. It’s clear how totalitarian the woke Left is.

But if I had to write the book again, I would have to say more about how unstable and given over to irrational radicalism the Right has become. It’s not totalitarian, because they are not trying to politicize every aspect of life, but it is destabilizing all the same. After today, I don’t doubt that a significant portion of the Right would accept an authoritarian regime, though not a totalitarian one.

America is in a very dangerous place.

Alienated people are willing to believe ideology over truth, and how they are willing to smash any institutions for the sake of seeing their idea of justice triumph.

This is where the woke Left is. But this is also where a lot of the Trumpist Right — in particular, the Trumpist Christian Right — is.

Too many people no longer feel the system cares about them, or they don’t have a lot to lose. They are alienated.

From a reader of Dreher, on Eric Mataxas who organized the rally:

This is not the tone of a man who is readying himself to put his own life on the line for a deadly serious cause. This is not the tone you take if you are trying persuade people of the gravity of the greatest crisis in our nation’s history. This is the tone of a man who is trying to get attention on the Internet, who it trying to sell you something; it’s pure click-bait.

That’s what bothers me about some of these loud voices on the Right — I don’t buy that many of them actually believe their own bombastic rhetoric, they’re just engaging in the hyperbole because they’re trying to sell us something (t-shirts, subscriptions, Trump merch, survival kits, gold coins — you name it, it’s always for sale on the sidelines of these kind of events).

Echo chambers and evidence-free fantasies are now sprouting up on the right, about 10 – 15 years after they took over on the left. Where will we be in another 15 years?

The right cannot simply demand that Trump won the election, even if they could impose their will. They have to convince the left that Trump won, just as the left have to convince the right that Biden won. Nobody’s going to accept a result where they are pretty sure they were robbed.

Convincing used to be easy, when the elections were free and fair. There’s long been a bit of fraud, usually insignificant, but the left really got the ball rolling by falsely claiming Russian influence at the 2016 election. Then in 2020 they allowed — or organized — widespread cheating. Now, look what a mess the country is in.

Vote counting urgently needs to be reformed, before the next election. Even waiting for the next election might be too late.