The following statement was issued January 7, 2021, by The Right Reverend Robert C. Wright, 10th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.
Yesterday’s events at our National Capitol have shocked, saddened, and infuriated us. We were dismayed to hear those who hold the public trust, incite citizens to insurrection by deliberately repeating falsehoods.
We saw some members of law enforcement treating insurrectionists as nonviolent protestors, while just months before we saw nonviolent protestors being treated like insurrectionists.
We read on social media that some who have enabled inflammatory rhetoric for professional gain, now uncharacteristically called for restraint and calm. But you cannot be an arsonist for years and then say you are suddenly a firefighter. Words matter. Civility matters. Facts matter. The Rule of Law matters. Justice matters.
What we saw yesterday was the reaping of what has been sown in our politics for too long. A constant diet of contempt and falsehoods are dangerous and fast-acting corrosives to our democracy, and we are made for more than that.
If there is any hope to speak of now, it is the biblical hope captured in the story of The Prodigal Son. That, once we have fallen so low as to eat at the pig trough, then are we certain we are made for more.
My prayers continue to be that our nation, her elected leaders and citizenry, will, with each day, more fully commit to the words of our national motto, E Pluribus Unum, “Out of many, one.”