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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

A religious war is at hand

To the Editor:

Like so many, I have close relatives who are avid watchers of Fox “News”, support Trump and believe the election of President Biden was fraudulent. So, I read all I find on how they could have been radicalized despite good educations. A form of populism, as well as racism, sexism, homophobia, and anti-semitism, have always been an undercurrent in our society. However, for the last 50 years, it has been unacceptable to wear those sentiments openly… until now.
Growing discontent with both political parties, due to infighting, failure to address our nation’s woes, and obstruction (starting with Newt Gingrich in the 1990s) voters have been ripe to demand change for years. Trump’s rise to power was based on this demand for change & voters thought they could get it in a billionaire businessman outsider. Most of us did not perceive that he would appeal to the David Duke, the white supremacists, the evangelical Christians, or that he would call for violence or vengeance and adopt the mantra of an online entity called “Q” against the “Deep State”, who called for a Great Awakening, war on the “elites” (carefully ignoring that Trump is an elite), & demonizing liberals as evil or the Devil, who must not only be eliminated from power but literally destroyed.
PART II – The “Q” Phenomenon
First, why “Q”?? A possible answer lies in religious history. Religious historians have debated the origin of the gospels, particularly Matthew and Luke, as the translations of many stories about Jesus are written verbatim in both gospels. Mark recounts many of the same stories but using different phrases & words. One theory is Matthew and Luke both referenced an ancient & now lost written account they called “Q” for quell which means source. Is it possible that the “Q” of internet fame, who viewed himself as a “source” was also a religious historian?
“Q” began online in October 2017, with online drops – 4951 in all – over a 3 year period until they mysteriously stopped a few days after Trump was defeated in November 2020. Tagging himself as a government insider with the highest security clearances, he told supporters he knew the secrets of the “Deep State” that was being concealed from them & would reveal all in the “Great Awakening”. He couched his drops often in questions or riddles for them to seek, sometimes admonishing them for failures to understand. He seduced them with biblical references & quotes, never naming Trump but referring to the President or leader as sent by God to lead them, conferring messianic or “savior” status to Trump. This devolved into support by evangelical groups adopting this “savior” status for Trump, some comparing him to Jesus; also sent by God as a “savior”. “Q” told supporters to spread the word online in message groups & chat rooms, to form an army wearing the “armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-18) to root out the evil of the liberals, elites, and Democrats, portrayed as evil, demons or the devil. This slow transition from an online group to political activism to an actual religion was insidious and wildly successful. Political groups can be opposed; it is far more difficult to oppose a religious movement or fervor under our Constitution, regardless of its recklessness or harm. This religious movement has only grown since “Q” due to the online chat rooms and sites and culminated in the January 6, 2021, attack on the capital. Many thought that would be the end; however, despite over 800 arrests & many going to jail, the religious fervor has grown. This group now openly calls for civil war, with elected officials (Sen. Lindsay Graham, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert) and Congress people Greene, Boebert, and many more all denying the election of President Biden & threatening violence in the streets if Trump is indicted, all while professing their love of God & country. They view themselves as both victims of the “Deep State” conspiracy but also warriors intent on saving their country from the forces of evil in the form of liberal “elites” and Democrats who must not only be defeated at the ballot box but destroyed. The usual Christian virtues of love, forgiveness, acceptance, & tolerance have been ignored in favor of vengeance, hate, and vindictiveness. Thus, Parasitic Christianity. A religious war is at hand. Those who promote it are ignorant of the lessons of history that religious wars have caused most of the historical death and destruction in our world.

Jack Stephens
Village of Sanibel

 

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