Some of my readers will have friends and family members who believe that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump and that the recent invasion of the United States Capitol was therefore justified — or perhaps that the Capitol was actually invaded by leftist activists. Some of my readers may hold these views themselves. So I’d like to share some recent reporting, analysis, and commentary that may be helpful. All of what follows comes from conservative, Christian, and Republican sources — in some cases the writers are all three.

The links below are not, except for the last couple, opinion pieces. They report.

First and most generally: There are many “fact-checking” sites out there, but if you are a political conservative you can’t beat the one from The Dispatch. That link goes to their complete archive, but here are some especially important ones related to the election itself:

That last one is the most detailed. Also from The Dispatch, on the storming of the Capitol Building:

(I think all of those are out from behind the paywall — my apologies if they aren’t.) Maybe you believe The Dispatch is not trustworthy because it’s run by a bunch of Never-Trumpers. That’s okay — you don’t have to take their word for any of it. Each of those posts has many, many links to other sites that have the hard-core evidence. Here as in all other cases of research, wisdom lies in patiently following the trail of bread crumbs as far as it goes.

Further, from the front lines:

And, for all my fellow evangelical Christians, please read this post by David French, especially these words:

Rebutting enabling lies does not mean whitewashing the opposition. It does not mean surrendering your values or failing to resist destructive ideas. It does mean discerning the difference between a problem and a crisis, between an aberration and an example. And it means possessing the humility to admit when you’re wrong. It means understanding that

no emergency is ever too great to stop loving your enemies and blessing those who persecute you.

And the rebuttal has to come from within. The New York Times isn’t going to break this fever. Vox won’t change many right-wing minds. But courageous Christians who love Christ and His church have a chance. Amen, brother David — who also made a wonderful and powerful case, on a recent episode of The Dispatch’s podcast, for welcoming those who have recently come to see that their trust in Donald Trump was misplaced.

It is extremely discouraging for me to see so many Christians, and so many churches, losing all sense of their mission and purpose — and at such a crucial time. Political conflicts and anxieties are at the forefront of American minds right now, but in another few days the catastrophic effects of the coronavirus will loom into our general view again. (They never should have left it.) I find myself thinking about all the ways that many American churches have soldiered on bravely through the miseries of the past year — and about all the ways that other churches have stoked political conflict, denied the truth about disease and elections alike, angrily demanded their rights … and ignored their mission, which is, after all, to seek and save those who are lost.

I’ve moved away from the business of evidence and fact-checking, but I’ve done so for a reason: None of us is likely to practice due diligence in finding out the truth if our hearts are not properly oriented, if we’re not primarily actuated by the double love of God and our neighbor. If we are so actuated, we’ll find ways to pursue our mission even in the darkest hours.

My patron saint in all these matters is the Reverend Pat Allerton, about whom I read in a recent piece by Harry Mount in the Telegraph:

In the first week of the first lockdown, as the Church of England shut its doors, the Reverend Pat Allerton, vicar of St Peter’s, in London’s Notting Hill, had a brainwave…. ‘I had an idea to take a hymn and a prayer to the streets of my parish, to lift spirits and bring a bit of joy. So, on the 26th March, I went out to the Portobello Road.’

He was cautious about the effects of hitting the streets with a loudspeaker, blaring out Judy Collins’ “Amazing Grace” on Spotify. ‘I thought I might be told to do one,’ he says jauntily. ‘But I was amazed by the response. People were really moved. They clapped and invited me back! They probably regret that now. I believe God was coming alongside people, letting them know He’s there.’

Over the following weeks, Allerton did 64 walking services around London, helped by the amazing weather. Each service – with a hymn, a prayer and a 60-second sermon – took seven minutes. He invited people – up to 50 at a time – to join in from a window or doorway. ‘So many people commented on social media, saying things like, “I’m not religious but I’ve got goosebumps. There are tears coming down my face.” God’s presence was touching people.’

Allerton is not happy about his government’s restrictions on church services. He thinks they are shortsighted and unfair. But still, there’s the Gospel to be preached, people in need to minister to. So he gets to it.

My own pastors have been getting to it for the past ten months. Preaching the Gospel, baptizing newborns, confirming young people, burying the dead, comforting the grieving — all of which are ways of preaching the Gospel. My wife Teri has certain pre-existing medical conditions that would make it very, very dangerous for her to contract covid, so we haven’t even dared the recently instituted outdoor socially-distanced Eucharistic services. No problem: our associate rector Neal McGowan recently brought the Eucharist to us. And would do it again any time we asked. Meanwhile virtual Morning Prayer continues, a six-times-weekly blessing and encouragement.

No protests, no insurrections, no complaints, no cries of persecution, no demands for rights: just ministry in the name of Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, the Life, the one who came to seek and save those who are lost. Christians who focus on that cannot go wrong. And caring enough about the truth to get our facts right is actually part of that ministry.

UPDATE: If you really want to get deep into the evidential weeds, this 124-page legal complaint against Sidney Powell by Dominion Voting Systems is jaw-dropping — and heavily, heavily documented. I don’t know how you could read this and still believe any word that comes out of Sidney Powell’s mouth, including “and” and “the.” (Hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t put it that way.) It’s also a thorough record of a much broader pattern of lies and deceptions, and reckless disregard for the truth, by others. The ironically-named American Thinker seems to have gotten the message: “It was wrong for us to publish these false statements. We apologize to Dominion for all of the harm this caused them and their employees. We also apologize to our readers for abandoning 9 journalistic principles and misrepresenting Dominion’s track record and its limited role in tabulating votes for the November 2020 election. We regret this grave error.” (Not sure which nine principles were abandoned.)