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Esthers and Gideons: Christian Nationalist Code For Political Violence

We've all heard about the video of Doug Mastriano, GOP candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, praying for the US federal government to be overthrown on January 6, 2021.

Here's the essence of what he said (with a little bit of his rambling edited out for clarity):

“God, we come before you in Jesus’s name and… god, I ask that you help us roll in these dark times, that we fear not the darkness, that we will seize our Esther and Gideon moments, that we will stand in the gap, that when you say ‘Who shall I send?’ we will say, ‘Send me.’… I know we are surrounded by wickedness and fear and dithering and inaction, but that’s not our problem. Our problem is following your lead… God, you’re calling forth modern day Esthers and Gideons, and I pray that you will give us the courage to do so. We think about our elected officials in Pennsylvania who have been weak and feckless… I pray that we will take responsibility. We’ll seize the power given to us by the Constitution and as well by you, providentially. I pray also for the leaders in the federal government on the sixth of January that they will rise up with boldness. You’ll bless these letters that President Donald Trump asked me this morning to send to Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy outlining the fraud in Pennsylvania, and this will embold them to stand firm and disregard what has happened in Pennsylvania until we have an investigation. God, we pray truth will go forth, and victory, and that your truth will go marching on in Jesus’s name, Amen.”

I've put Mastriano's references to Esther and Gideon in bold, because this kind of phrasing is something that's especially important for us to know about as we consider how Christian Nationalists communicate with each other. The Rolling Stone article that broke this story, hints at the meaning of the phrase "Esther and Gideon", but I think it's important to be more explicit.

Esther and Gideon were characters in the bible. Their stories have one thing in common: Deadly political violence. Esther was a political operator whose victory came when she was able to have her political opponents assassinated. Gideon launched a war against fellow Israelites who offended him by adopting religions other than the worship of Yahweh. He not only killed large numbers of apostates, but also slaughtered people in villages that refused to hand over their food stores to his army.

The one thing that Esther and Gideon have in common is political violence using their religion as a justification. When Doug Mastriano referenced Esther and Gideon in his prayer at the meeting organizing the January 6, 2021 attack against conference, he was speaking in a biblical code. He was telling the people at that meeting that the January 6 gathering should involve political violence.

The insurrection January 6, 2021 was not spontaneous. It was planned, and it was religiously motivated from the start. January 6 was orchestrated by Christian Nationalists as part of a larger plan to replace American democracy with a Christian dictatorship.

When we hear Christian Nationalists like Doug Mastriano give speeches and prayers, we need to pay attention to the specific biblical references they make. There's a temptation to just let their bible talk pass over our ears as if it's just a slurry of Christian mumbling, but there's a meaning to their religious references, and we ignore that meaning at our peril.

(This post was adapted from a previous article at, Esther and Gideon Moments of Christian Nationalist Violence

CliffordCook 5 Sep 14
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"Onward, Christian soldiers...marching as to war. With the cross of JEEEEEEBUS going on before. Christ the royal master leads against the foe. Onward into battle, see his banners flow."

"Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross. Lift high his royal banner, it must not suffer loss. From victory unto victory, his army shall he lead, til every foe is vanquished and Christ is lord indeed."

(Sigh...I was raised in this crap. But they're still singing it.)

LucyLoohoo Level 9 Sep 14, 2022

Yes, they are still singing the same old song.

Only now, they're planning actual physical Christian holy war against American democracy.

We can no longer take for granted that it's just a metaphor when Christians use violent language of battle and war and the armor of god. They're too often engaged in literal violence, as on January 6, 2021, to defend what they perceive as their entitlement to elite status above everyone else.

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