Huntsville pastor calls Congressman Brooks’ words at D.C. rally irresponsible

Mo Brooks speaking at a pro-Trump rally hours before riot at the capitol.
Mo Brooks speaking at a pro-Trump rally hours before riot at the capitol.(SOURCE: WAFF)
Updated: Jan. 8, 2021 at 8:21 AM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The events in D.C. Wednesday are causing most everyone to stop and think.

But it’s causing others to speak out.

The pastor of the First Baptist Church of Huntsville reached out to WAFF. Travis Collins says he felt compelled to speak up about what happened before the Capitol was breached.

But he says he is speaking for himself, not his congregation

Comments from Congressman Mo Brooks at the Save America rally before Wednesday’s riots have generated a lot of criticism.

First Baptist Church of Huntsville Pastor Travis Collins calls them irresponsible.

“Some people would say as a pastor I should just preach, visit the sick and keep my mouth shut. But I’m a citizen too. I’m a pro-life, family values guy. But I don’t care if you’ve got a D or an R or an I in front of your name. When I hear a hint of a threat of violence, as I heard yesterday, I have both a right and responsibility to say, this is not right,” Collins said.

My Comments on Rep. Mo Brooks’ Words

On January 4 I sat watching the stunning events in our capital. I was angry, hurt, on the verge of tears.

I tweeted the following, then posted it on Facebook: This morning Mo Brooks called for “kicking ass” (his words, not mine). Congratulations, Mr. Brooks, on your part in encouraging unprecedented violence and anarchy. May R’s and D’s unite to join our God in saving our nation.

Granted, I could have been more statesmanlike in my wording, but I remain convicted that our elected representative bears some degree of responsibility for the riots. I chose to speak out about him because he is the representative of my city, and I have a much greater chance of making a difference in his behavior than that of other politicians.

That evening I reached out to Caroline Klapp, a reporter from WAFF from whom I have a standing invitation to do stories I believe are important. She interviewed me on January 5, and the story appeared on the evening of January 5 and the morning of January 6. Thankfully, Caroline honored my request that she make sure I was speaking for myself; not the congregation.

Why do I feel so strongly that I would go so public with my response to Mr. Brooks’ irresponsible words?

So much of my worldview is shaped by my time in Nigeria as a missionary. We were living there in 1993 when I witnessed a failed attempt at a peaceful transfer of power. Nigerians’ freedoms were jeopardized by threats of violence from political leaders.

So when my representative says to an angry crowd, some armed, that “Today we’re gonna start kicking a**,” that reminds me a little bit of Nigeria 1993.

And so, when there is even a scintilla of a hint of a threat of violence from my representative, I’m gonna say, “That’s not all-right.” Not in this country where our democracy is mature and strong.

It’s tricky for a pastor for 2 reasons:

One, I don’t speak for my congregation; I speak for myself as an American citizen.

Two, some people would suggest that because I’m a pastor I should just preach and visit the sick and mind my own business. But I’m a citizen, too.

When Thomas Jefferson had his famous idea of the wall of separation between church & state, that meant government should not impose itself on the religious

beliefs of its people; it did not mean people of faith could not speak to the consciences of their political leaders.

I’ve been a political conservative since the day in 1980 at SU when I heard Ronald Reagan speak at Samford University. I am a pro-life, pro-family values, guy.

But I don’t care if you have an R, D, or I in front of your name, when my representative stands in front of an already angry crowd, some of them armed, and says, “Today we start kicking a**,” I’m gonna say, “That’s irresponsible.”

On Christmas Eve I called for fellow Christians to be peacemakers, and even cautioned against divisive social media posts. So, some will see my recent comments as hypocritical. I understand that. Maybe it was.

But I long for peace. Real peace. Whether it’s Portland or D. C. or Huntsville.

And if I cannot speak what I believe to be truth to people in power, in the name of peace, then I have misunderstood my calling.

I’m neither as important nor as courageous as those who have taken more daring stands on more dangerous issues…but I can do no other.

The last and most important thing. I saw some Jesus signs in pictures of the riots yesterday. That must be really confusing for some folks. I have to say this: I don’t believe Jesus cheered yesterday. I believe Jesus wept.

Travis Collins

January 8, 2020

Just three hours after Brooks’ speech, thousands of people stormed the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund says people used metal pipes, chemical irritants and other weapons to barge their way inside.

“Did he intend for people to storm the chambers, probably not. But you have to know, when you stand in front of an angry crowd and say, ‘today we’re going to start kicking some you know what,’ that they’re like, ‘heck yeah, here we go,’” Collins said.

Congressman Brooks later tweeted saying, ”I always condemn lawlessness and violence of any kind and in the strongest terms.”

However, Brooks is not the only one being criticized..

The response from area law enforcement is also being looked at.

David Person with the Rosa Parks Day Committee says the fault lies with the protestors but; “It appears as so law enforcement has a different psychological approach and strategic approach to dealing with black lives matter protesters than they do with others,” Person said.

Chief Sund released a statement saying in part;

“The actions of the USCP officers were heroic given the situation they faced, and I continue to have tremendous respect in the professionalism and dedication of the women and men of the United States Capitol Police,” Sund said.

The announcement comes after the head of the department’s union called for “a change at the top.”

Earlier today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also called for Sund to resign.

According to a police spokeswoman, Sund’s resignation will go into effect on January 16, a few days ahead of President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

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