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Josh Hawley Tells A False History Of The Destruction Of The Temple Of Serapis

Last week, United States Senator Josh Hawley gave an alarming speech at the National Conservatism conference. You may have heard the sound bite from his speech in which he declared that America is nothing without the bible. The speech was much more than just a sound bite, however. It was an incitement to violence.

In the speech, Josh Hawley told a story that sounded as if it was taken from a Sunday School curriculum.

As Hawley told it, the story was about brave Christians who defied the Christian-hating Roman Emperor Julian by gathering at the pagan Temple of Serapis (the Serapeum) to destroy a statue there.

The problem with the story is that it wasn't historically inaccurate.

It's true that a Christian mob did gather to attack the Temple of Serapis in Alexandria, Egypt, but they did so 27 years after the reign of Emperor Julian.

Julian was Emperor for only 2 years, and every emperor after him was Christian.

By the time the Temple of Serapis was destroyed in 390 CE, the Roman Empire had been persecuting non-Christians, and subsidizing the growth of Christianity, for many years.

So, that crowd of Christians who gathered in Alexandria to demolish the Temple of Serapis wasn't a courageous group of dissidents standing against the Roman Empire. They were acting with the support of the Roman Empire in its efforts to suppress all religious practices other than Christianity.

The destruction of the Temple of Serapis was supported by Emperor Theodosius, who followed up the initial violence by ordering the destruction of pagan religious objects and directing a Christian church to be built atop the ruins of the pagan temple.

This encouragement of the attack against the Temple of Serapis by the Roman emperor results in a wave of further violence by Christians against non-Christians in Roman Egypt and elsewhere across the empire.

Josh Hawley used his false history of the Christian attack against the Temple of Serapis as example of the kind of Christian Nationalist violence he'd like his followers to engage in.

Senator Hawley compared the "Woke Left" to the Roman Empire, and suggested that his followers will have to stand up and repeat the attack against non-Christians in order to restore the true path of Christianity in the United States.

This article is adapted from a podcast episode and a longer article exploring the actual history of the destruction of the Temple of Serapis at Stop Christian Nationalism.) and a longer article exploring the actual history of the destruction of the Temple of Serapis at Stop Christian Nationalism.

CliffordCook 6 Sep 20
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When you do not tax churches, and in fact, give them federal funding, you are only feeding the beast.


The people of Missouri should be reconsidering their decision to elect this tool for the Senate! The man ran away like a scared little puppy dog on January 6, yet when he emerged, from a safe distance he gave the insurrectionists a fist salute of support. WTF?


Josh Hawley is a white supremacist that we do not need.

DenoPenno Level 9 Sep 20, 2022

I agree! Josh Hawley is a white supremacist... but he's by no means alone. Part of our work needs to be to trace the networks that enable his Christian racism to be elevated to a seat in the US Senate.

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