Theres a strong authoritarian streak that runs through parts of American evangelicalism, warns Elizabeth Neumann. What should be done about it?
For two decades, the U.S. government has been engaging with faith leaders in Muslim communities at home and around the world in an attempt to stamp out extremism and prevent believers vulnerable to radicalization from going down a path that leads to violence.
Now, after the dangerous QAnon conspiracy theory helped to motivate the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, with many participants touting their Christian faith and as evangelical pastors throughout the country ache over the spread of the conspiracy theory among their flocks, and its very real human toll its worth asking whether the time has come for a new wave of outreach to religious communities, this time aimed at evangelical Christians.
I personally feel a great burden, since I came from these communities, to try to figure out how to help the leaders, says Elizabeth Neumann, a former top official at the Department of Homeland Security who resigned from Trump administration in April 2020. The challenge in part is that, in this particular case, I dont know if the government is a credible voice at all, she says. You dont want Big Brother calling the local pastor and saying, Hey, heres your tips for the week.
Neumann, who was raised in the evangelical tradition, is a devout Christian. Her knowledge of that world, and her expertise on issues of violent extremism, gives her a unique insight into the ways QAnon is driving some Christians to extremism and violence.
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