Evangelicals and QAnon

At last night’s town hall meeting on NBC, Donald Trump refused to condemn QAnon.

Many evangelicals are embracing QAnon conspiracy theories. (Never heard of QAnon? Read this Atlantic cover story).

I continue to be interested in the connections between QAnon and its prediction of a coming “great awakening.” Here is Daniel Burke at CNN:

Friedberg said he sees elements of his experience as a young evangelical in the QAnon movement: Its seamless blend of Christianity and nationalism, its promise of spiritual knowledge and the primacy of scripture, and, finally, the desire to evangelize to friends and family.

But Friedberg said he doesn’t see QAnon itself as a religion.

“This is an information operation that has gotten out of the direct control of whoever started it,” he said. It’s an operation, he added, that likely would not exist in a less polarized, confusing and frightening time.

Under somewhat similar strains, a group of 1840s Baptists called the Millerites predicted the Second Coming of Jesus.

When Jesus didn’t arrive, the Millerites were greatly disappointed, but they adjusted their apocalyptic timetables and soldiered on, eventually becoming the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Travis View said he sees echoes of the Millerites in QAnon. Numerous QAnon “prophecies” have proven false. Hillary Clinton was not arrested in 2017, Republicans didn’t rout Democrats during the 2018 midterm elections and Trump has not imprisoned his political enemies at Guantanamo Bay.

These days, Q shies away from giving specific dates, View noted, suggesting a shift in tactics. Even so, believers attempt to explain away any contradictions between QAnon and reality, just as the Millerites did centuries ago.

Park Neff, the Baptist pastor, said the failed prophecies are all part of QAnon’s master plan.

“Some of it seems like deliberate misinformation to throw off the other side,” Neff said, “as should be apparent to anyone who watches the news. Sometimes he (Q) does it to rattle their cages, sometimes to keep them guessing. It seems to work.”

Meanwhile, Neff, like many interested in QAnon, looks forward to the Great Awakening. The pastor said it won’t be like the other Great Awakenings, the religious revivals that torched through early America.

This one, he said, will concern the state, not the church.

It will start when the prevailing evil in our government is finally revealed, he said, and end with Trump validated and all the bad people jailed on an island far, far away.

Read the entire piece here. This is not the first time evangelicals have fallen for conspiracy theories.

August 20, 2020 in Trumpland

Trump Rushmore 2

The Trump presidency is imploding and its all happening less than a week before the Republican National Convention. So what is going on?

Former Donald Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon, the man who shaped Trump’s alt-Right message during the 2016 campaign and in the early months of his presidency, was arrested today and charged with defrauding donors as part of a fundraising campaign to build Trump’s border wall. Trump is trying to get as much space as possible between the White House and his former strategist.

Back in 2017, Bannon said he was on a crusade to remove “fake Republicans” from office. He got full support from Jerry Falwell Jr., the disgraced president (on indefinite leave) of Liberty University. He was often confused about American history and brought Andrew Jackson’s populism into the White House. Pope Francis condemned Bannon’s “apocalyptic geopolitics.” Bannon was also behind Trump’s January 2017 Muslim ban.

The list of criminals associated with the Trump presidency continues to grow. Bannon joins a list that includes Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Chris Collins (who seconded his nomination at the 2016 RNC convention), George Papadopouloos, Roger Stone, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn.

Trump hires “all the best people.”

Today, a federal judge rejected Trump’s efforts to block the release of his tax returns. Read the ruling here.

Last night, Barack Obama essentially said that Trump is incompetent and a threat to American Democracy:

Trump threw a hissy fit in real-time on Twitter.

During Kamala Harris’s speech:

During Obama’s speech:

Meanwhile, Trump continues to play around with a dangerous conspiracy theory.

Night two (Tuesday) at the DNC convention

Joe and Jill
Here are some of my tweets from last night with additional context.

My twitter followers seemed to be split 50-50 on this take:

Yes, the Democratic Party is putting aside their differences for a few months in order to remove Trump, but as I watch the convention and the surrounding news coverage there appears to be a lot of division behind the mask of party unity.  The progressives in the party did not like the fact that members of the GOP, especially John Kasich, took speaking slots away from people of color. Bernie Sanders told the convention that Biden was moving to the left. Kasich promised independents that Biden was staying in the center. Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most recognizable faces in the party, nominated Bernie Sanders. Julian Castro, in the midst of the convention, is saying that Biden’s election will hurt the Democratic Party’s support among Latinos. And a clear generational divide exists in the party.

Meanwhile, the GOP is likely to put on a unified front next week. None of the dissenters–George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, etc.–will be speaking, but apparently speaking slots have been reserved for Nick Sandman of Covington Catholic High School and the St. Louis couple who pulled their guns on Black Lives Matter protesters.

I have been thinking a lot about these connections lately, especially after reading Adrienne LaFrance’s piece at The Atlantic, Katelyn Beaty’s piece at RNS, and seeing court evangelicals like Jack Graham and Greg Laurie connecting post-COVID19 economic revival with spiritual revival and the opening of churches. I was struck by this quote from LaFrance’s piece:

[Qanon conspiracy theorist David] Hayes tells his followers that he thinks Q is an open-source intelligence operation, made possible by the internet and designed by patriots fighting corruption inside the intelligence community. His interpretation of Q is ultimately religious in nature, and centers on the idea of a Great Awakening. “I believe The Great Awakening has a double application,” Hayes wrote in a blog post in November 2019

“It speaks of an intellectual awakening—the awareness by the public to the truth that we’ve been enslaved in a corrupt political system. But the exposure of the unimaginable depravity of the elites will lead to an increased awareness of our own depravity. Self-awareness of sin is fertile ground for spiritual revival. I believe the long-prophesied spiritual awakening lies on the other side of the storm.”

I hope to write something about these connection soon. In the meantime, as my tweet indicated, I also hear a lot of “rise-up,” “awakening,” and “revival” language coming from the Democrats during this convention. It is not meant spiritually–at least in a Christian “revival” sense of the world–but it does seem to be tapping into some kind of renewal or revival of the American spirit. I realize that this is a pretty common political message, but it seems to take on a new meaning in light of all this talk of #GreatAwakening.

Watch:

It’s uncanny:

Schlossberg

I didn’t see any disagreements on this one:

In case you missed the bingo card.

City of Ruins:

When I wrote the above tweet I had no idea this video was coming:

Here is was responding to Jack Jenkins’s tweet about Jill Biden’s speech: