The Lure of Power: Religion, Politics, Insurrection

The power of place, the power of art, the power of speech — these forces became spectacularly animated by forms of religiosity on January 6, 2021, as the nation watched an insurrection at the Capitol unfold that was fueled — in part — by white Christian Nationalism. In the aftermath of the event, religion has continued to be invoked by leaders across the political spectrum amidst calls for our national healing and reconciliation. In this 4-part GTUx series, led by GTU scholars from diverse disciplinary and religious backgrounds, we explore the complex entanglement of politics and religion on January 6th and thereafter. 


Sign up today for this on-demand learning opportunity made up of four 15-minute modules.

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Topics we will discuss include

  • The Capitol building's complicated identity as both secular civic space and so-called "sacred" national temple
  • The presence of religious iconography in protest art, and the photojournalism from January 6th
  • The rhetoric of emancipation used by protestors that (ironically) borrowed heavily in word and cadence from the justice mottos of the Black Lives Matter efforts of activists and churches
  • The persistence of forms of civic religion in our national political discourse
Module 1

Religion at the Surface (Dr. Deena Aranoff)


Module 2

19th Century Works of Art in the U.S. Capitol (Dr. Devin Zuber)


Module 3

Political Speech as Hermeneutic (Dr. Valerie Miles-Tribble)


Module 4

Art, Religion, and Protest (Dr. Elizabeth Peña)


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Dr. Deena Aranoff

Deena Aranoff is Director of the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the GTU and Senior Lecturer in Medieval Jewish Studies

Dr. Devin Zuber

Devin Zuber is Associate Professor of American Studies, Religion, and Literature and Chair of the Department for Historical and Cultural Studies of Religion at the GTU

Dr. Valerie Miles-Tribble

Valerie Miles-Tribble is Associate Professor of Ministerial Leadership and Practical Theology at the GTU and Chair, Women's Studies in Religion Certificate Program

Dr. Elizabeth Peña

Elizabeth Peña is Interim Dean and VP for Academic Affairs, Director of the Center for the Arts & Religion and Senior Lecturer in Art, Anthropology, and Museum Studies at the GTU

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The views expressed by contributors to GTUx Originals  do not necessarily represent those of the Graduate Theological Union. Read our full disclaimer here.