QAnon conspiracy theories have gotten so deep into American churches that pastors are expressing concern – and a new poll shows false teachings have become as prevalent as some denominations.
Why is this important: The problem with misinformation and misinformation is that people – a lot of people – believe it. And they born believe that reality comes from the media and even from their ministers.
Russell moore, one of America’s most respected evangelical Christian thinkers, told me that he “literally speaks every day to pastors, of virtually every denomination, who are exhausted by these theories blowing in their churches or communities.” .
- “Many pastors told me they once had to talk to dismayed parents about the unchristian beliefs of their adult children, ”Moore added. But now the roles have changed.
This magnificent window in the congregations of the country followed a big poll, released last week: 15% of Americans, according to poll, agree with QAnon’s claim that “the government, media and financial world in the United States are controlled by a group of worshiping pedophiles. Satan who run a global child sex trafficking operation. . “
- The online survey was taken by Ipsos in March for the Public Religion Research Institute and Interfaith Youth Core. (Survey: 5,625 American adults. Margin of error for full survey: ± 1.5%)
- “For those who hope that the events of January 6 are in our past, I think this data gives little assurance, “said Kristin Du Mez, historian of gender, faith and politics at Calvin University and author of “Jesus and John Wayne. “
The poll found that Hispanic Protestants (26%) and White Evangelical Protestants (25%) were more likely to agree with QAnon philosophies than other groups. (Black Protestants were 15%, White Catholics were 11%, and White Protestants were 10%.)
- As the New York Times big title say it: “QAnon is now as popular in the United States as some major religions, suggests a poll.”
Du Mez told me that the factors that produced this result include the decades conservative evangelicals spent “casting doubt on mainstream media”:
- “There is also an emphasis in some circles on deciphering Bible prophecy that has some similarities to decoding QAnon conspiracies – the idea that there is a secret meaning hidden in the text that can be discerned by individuals who have eyes to see . “
- “It is not fair a problem for religious communities, of course, “added the professor.” It is deeply troubling in terms of the health of our democracy. “
Catch up quickly: QAnon is no more movement than an organization – there is no HQ or public leader. The conspiracies were propagated by supporters of President Trump, and “Q” signifiers were common at Trump rallies.
- Moore, who recently joined The magazine Christianity Today after being the first political voice of the Southern Baptist Convention, said that for many, QAnon “takes on all the hallmarks of a cult, from bossy gurus … to predictions that don’t come true.”
The context: Q first took to social media with a structure similar to a video game, inviting the curious on a quest to unlock successive layers of hidden knowledge, says Scott Rosenberg, editor-in-chief of Axios.
- Then his anonymous gurus promised a series of big, millennial-style revelations that never materialized.
- Experts hoped the failure of Q’s promises after President Biden’s inauguration, as well as a near-total ban on Q buzzwords on online platforms, would stifle the movement.
- Conspiracy theories thrive in times of turmoil, as traumatized people desperately try to place unbearable losses and new challenges into a framework that makes sense (to them). Half a century later, the United States still hasn’t fully exorcised conspiracy theories for the JFK assassination.
Nathalie Jackson – research director at the PRRI, which published the poll – said this finding does not mean that 15% of Americans “spend their entire lives paying attention to only Q … but it does mean this group is willing to believe these conspiracy theories. “
- she notes that Republicans do not have a “unified voice to push back these forces, which could allow it to continue to grow.”