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  • Staci Sweet

The Insurrection and Remaining Silent During Their Time of Judgment

It was Wednesday, January 6th, I’ll never forget. With the help of Club Quarantine, I’d managed to stay up until 3 something that morning. Shaun King, bestselling author, civil rights activist, and in my mind, President of the Black Delegation had posted that we could expect the official results about 2 a.m., so, I made sure I was wide awake to hear the final election results for the state of Georgia.

By 3 a.m., they’d called the election for now Democratic Senator-elect Reverend Raphael Warnock, but the race was tight between Democratic hopeful Jon Ossoff (D) and David Perdue (R). By that evening, 98% of the votes were counted and the state of Georgia had saved the democracy!

These were significant victories because it meant Democrats would take control of the Senate. This hadn’t happened in over a decade. So, not only was this a huge win for Democrats, but it was a historic win for African Americans. Reverend Raphael Warnock had become Georgia’s first Black Senator. Coupled with the fact that Jon Ossoff is a Russian Jew who interned for civil rights leader and U.S. Representative, the late John Lewis, this was a historic day because it meant that the Republican stronghold and ideology that was pervasive throughout the Trump administration, had finally come to a decade-long end.

By Thursday, President Trump was more fervent than ever about the possibility of voter fraud and had summons a rally in D.C. less than 24 hours later. As the day progressed, I couldn’t wait to take my first 15-minute break. That’s because they hadn’t officially called the race for Ossoff so when 2:30 came, I rushed from my work-from-home workstation and bolted down the hallway to my room. As I turned to CNN, I saw a huge crowd of supremist standing outside the Capitol. Like right outside. At first, I didn’t think much of it because again, President Trump had just held a rally. Though I tend to not watch because of the disrespect, I did on this particular morning; not realizing that he was rallying his supporters for the events that lie ahead.

As I continued to watch, I saw a huge crowd of predominantly white men enter…no let me rephrase that - storm the Capitol. So much so, that they overpowered the officers, shattered the windows, rummaged through the Senate chamber, ransacked Senators offices, and defecated in the hallways – all while recording and taking selfies alongside Capitol police.

As the night progressed, it was no longer referred to as Trump supporters storming the Capitol but an insurrection on our government by a mob of white supremist. An insurrection? I hadn’t heard that term used since I’d read in it in Mark 5:7 which says, ‘…there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection.’ Coincidentally, that was the verse I used in my book entitled,Crime, Criminals, and Redemption: What the Bible Says About Crime And Those Who Commit Them. In it, I discuss how Barabbas was sentenced to death for a murder he committed during the insurrection. Thankfully, a last-minute reprieve paved the way for his immediate release. Ironically, when I thought about it, I realized that the same outcome was possible for every insurrectionist in attendance. How you might ask?

Because when it came time for Barabbas’ sentencing, at the behest of the community, Pilate pardoned Barabbas. And thus it was determined that Jesus would stand in his place. Jesus took the place of an insurrectionist and thus, our salvation begins to unfold. A murderer who attempted to overthrow the Roman empire was pardoned. That pardon established a biblical precedent. The precedent – that it’s biblical for an insurrectionist to go unpunished. I know that can be disheartening but I’ve used the very same precedent when asking God to pardon wrongfully convicted death row inmates. But here’s the kicker.

Should President Trump decide, he could pardon every supremist in attendance. That means of the estimated hundreds of law-breaking insurrectionists that were present, President Trump has the authority to pardon each and every one. But is it legal? According to former U.S. Attorney, Chuck Rosenberg, it is. Article II Section 2 Clause 1 of the Constitution states,

“…the president shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” 1

Those offenses include but are not limited to Rebellion and Insurrection (18 U.S. Code § 2383)2, Seditious Conspiracy (18 U.S. Code § 2384)3, and Advocating Overthrow of the Government (18 U.S. Code § 2385)4. For those who may not know, Title 18 is the main criminal code for the U.S. 5 That being said, each offense carries a minimum 10 to 20-year sentence punishable by law.

The thing about it is that as of today, the more than 100 of those captured, have not been officially charged with the aforementioned. According to the Justice Department’s website, they’ve only been charged with