On Thursday (December 30), Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi announced that “a full program of events” would be held at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6 to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Capitol insurrection. The commemoration plan includes a prayer vigil.
In a letter to her fellow members of Congress, Pelosi said, “These events are intended as an observance of reflection, remembrance and recommitment, in a spirit of unity, patriotism and prayerfulness.” While the House will not be in session, the commemorative events will begin at 12pm Eastern Time on Thursday, January 6 and will be live streamed.
The events include a moment of silence, a moderated conversation with Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden and historians Doris Keams Goodwin and Jon Meacham to “establish and preserve the narrative of January 6th,” and testimonials from members of Congress who will reflect on the events of January 6, 2021.
The day’s events will be capped off with a prayer vigil on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, where members of the House and Senate will “join in an observance of the day in prayer and music.”
Tweeting Pelosi’s announcement of the events, National Reporter for Religion News Service Jack Jenkins said, “[For what it’s worth], religious expression was a constant on January 6.”
“Those protesting Trump supporters as they arrived on Jan 6? Praying clergy. Insurrectionists who barged into the Senate chamber? They prayed after they arrived. Members of Congress? They prayed together during the attack, and prayed more after reconvening,” Jenkins continued. “Obviously not *everyone* prayed, but worth noting the ubiquity of religious expression that day.”
In response to Jenkins’ thread, some expressed gratitude for the events planned for January 6, while others raised concerns about the separation of church and state.
“On January 6 our country saw the harmful effects of #ChristianNationalism,” tweeted the Secular Coalition for America. “More government prayer and more invoking of religion by our secular institutions is not needed nor is it productive.”
Others expressed that they felt indictments for those responsible for the riot are more important than commemoration. One Twitter user said, “We do not need prayerfulness. We need indictments, arrests, accountability.”