The dysfunctional political environment has spawned movements on both the left and right. On the left was the belief President Donald Trump was a Russian agent, so powerful in the Democratic Party that it even worked its way into Congressional hearings during his 2020 impeachment. On the right is QAnon.
QAnon’s adherents believe they’re working to expose a global network of political and entertainment elites involved in child sex-trafficking. They also believe the champion of their cause is none other than President Donald Trump. Even after the November 2020 election, people who closely follow QAnon see Trump as a man on a mission, a belief reinforced on social media where followers produce videos depicting Trump as a superhero.
In one video highlighting the battle against good and evil, the president’s face is superimposed onto Charlton Heston’s body in the classic film “The Ten Commandments” by Cecil B. DeMille. In it, Trump mimics Moses’s famous “Who is on the Lord’s side?” declaration by asking instead “Who is on freedom’s side?”
The comparison, along with QAnon’s sprinkling of scripture in codes, has troubled somie Christian leaders, including pastors and theologians.
“There are probably people in just about every evangelical church who aren’t sure what to think about it,” noted Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “That’s one of the reasons why I think we need to talk about it.”
As the conspiracy broke into Christian communities and started making headlines in major publications last summer, Mohler joined a chorus of prominent Christians who came forward to denounce QAnon. Mohler also criticized what he called a liberal media bias that has sent people searching for reliable sources but ultimately leads to questionable material.
“Our response to that has to be even truer than the mainstream media,” he said. “It has to be more based on objective, verifiable truths.”
Part of the intrigue for followers revolves around the mystery surrounding the anonymous person or people behind the conspiracy and cryptically worded posts that reveal classified information through what are referred to as “Q drops.”
The mysterious Q, until the Nov. 3 election, regularly posted photos showing a close connection to Trump. From photos taken from inside Air Force One to snapshots of personal items belonging to the President (such as his watch sitting on his desk in the Oval Office), Q seemed to be in a position of close contact with Trump. To this day, not even doubters of QAnon can explain the photos.
But whether Q is real or not, the issue has has caught the attention of Mohler though not even he can explain it. For Mohler, whose world is centered on theological study, it all boils down to two issues, starting with credibility.
“We want to speak of the gospel as true, not true-ish,” he said. “If we’re found to be communicating things that turn out not true in other areas of life, it weakens our witness truth of Christianity — to bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Chris — the only message that saves.”
He also points to a historical rift within the early Christian church where Gnostic believers claimed salvation through secret wisdom. Mohler notes the apostle John called that heresy.
“He speaks of Jesus Christ, whom we have seen; whom we have touched with our hands; whom we have heard in the flesh: it’s public truth,” Mohler said. “But if you have secret knowledge, that’s at the expense of biblical Christianity.”
QAnon, in posts though, doesn’t seem to focus on religion as much ending child trafficking. That’s a cause that has brought many into the movement regardless of their political leanings. Asked at a news conference if he knew about QAnon and its aim to end child trafficking, President Trump responded in his typical manner of turning the question back on the asker.
The reporter asked Trump if he backed the main goal of the QAnon movement that he is “secretly saving the world from this satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals.” Trump replied, “Well I haven’t heard that but is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice