Jesus ≠ QAnon
Okay look, as a member of a faith community that teaches that a guy who lived 2000 years ago has implications for the way I live my life today, I’m not one to be overly judgemental when people have beliefs in things I know nothing about. But I will say is that when an external idea or philosophy starts to pervade my faith community, I feel like I have a responsibility to say something. I don’t necessarily think this is some new radical idea, as I think most of would want to preserve our sense of identity and person group we consider is foundational to who we are. And that brings me to my video today about QAnon. Just this weekend, April 16th & 17th at the Health and Freedom Convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a republican/conservative event that is described as an event to learn how to fight back for your health and freedom. It was held at Rhema Bible College, and included a virtual who’s who of the QAnon crowd to include, Michael Flynn, Lin Wood, Sidney Powell, a bunch of anti-vaxxer doctors, and pastors. The two day event finished with a mask burning event if that gives you any idea of how they feel about Covid. But it also included a special guest, Jesus. Not that one, but Jim Caviezel who went on about adrenochroming of children. But I’ll get back to that.
So who or what is QAnon? I won’t bore you with the details of it’s origin and place in modern politics, but will just say that it was a product of the imagination, but metastasized by social media and the political sphere in America. Believers of QAnon are called anons and believe that America is run by a cabal of pedophiles and Satan-worshippers who run a global child sex-trafficking operation and that former President Trump is the only person who can stop them. The leader of this movement is a mysterious high-ranking government official or officials (plural) who works under the pseudonym Q, and communicates to his or her followers through Q drops that they post anonymously on message boards on the internet. I’d like to say that this is a uniquely republican belief system but I haven’t seen any hard data to back that up, it’s primarily a group of people who are fed up with the political elites, with the exception of Trump of course, which for all tense and purposes is a bit of a messiah to them.
That brings me to my point for telling you all of this. Many QAnon believers claim Jesus as their guiding light, much in the same way I do. While I might be the political host of Faithful Politics, I do have a Christian faith, and do my best to live it out in every aspect of my life. From the way I treat others, to my charitable givings, and to how I worship. What separates me from QAnon believers is that I don’t view my faith through Jesus’ but. What do I mean? I mean that my belief is that Jesus is absolut, and you will rarely find me saying things like, “I believe in Jesus, but…the Democrats are all evil” or “I believe in Jesus, but…we really should not allow immigrants into the country”. Believers in the QAnon conspiracy, who also claim Jesus, will often say there is a truth out there we do not know, and I vaguely recall Him saying something to the extent of "I am the way and the truth and the life.” When we view Christianity through the lens of “I believe in Jesus, but…” we are saying his sacrifice was not enough, and that we need to add an addendum, which of course is not even close to what He would have wanted. Which brings me to the other Jesus, Jim Caviezel. If you recall this is the guy who played Jesus in 'Passion of the Christ' He is promoting a new movie about child trafficking which is a real thing that deserves serious discussion and action, but then he begins talking about another popular QAnon conspiracy centered around adrenochrome. The idea -- according to these QAnon believers -- is that the adrenochrome halts and/or reverses the aging process, and that it's plentiful and most fruitful in children. Some theories claim that blood is drained from children who are kept at ‘farms’ and tortured. Adrenochrome is then extracted from the blood in a lab and sold to celebrities, or the blood itself is consumed, according to these conspiracy theorists. Others claim the compound is harvested from an adrenal gland in the brain (adrenal glands are actually located above the kidneys).
If that sounds crazy to you, I wouldn’t judge you for thinking so. But this world is a dark place, and there are people out there who do terrible things to kids, so to objectively dismiss this would require some further research, but as any good conspiracy theory goes, you don’t need a lot of proof you just need for it to be within the realm of possibility, and then build upon it. Which brings me to my last point. The Health and Freedom Convention was held in a church, where Pastors of all strides talked about all things you would expect them to talk about at a Republican conference. I recall, from listening to one Pastor Greg Locke’s “sermons” on YouTube, which if you do not know who he is, consider yourself lucky. But he went on about the left, and manbi-pambi soft preachers on how the act of them taking safe measures to protect their congregants are just fueling the authoritarianism he sees in the country. Make of that what you will. I also saw the infamous Lin Wood, famed lawyer for the Big Lie of how the election was stolen, give somewhat of a sermon about God blessing America with Trump, and how he’s still the rightful president, but then started to talk about QAnon and while waving his finger in a circle in the shape of a Q, stated unequivocally that Q is the truth.
So as I stated earlier, I make no judgements about what people believe. But I will make a judgement about other Christians who believe things that tarnish our corporate ability to witness to others. For those non-believers, ‘witness’ is a just a churchy way to say, believe in Jesus because of they way I’m living my life. If non-believers think that Christians are a bunch of gullible, and conspiratorial minded people, how attractive does that your religion look? My faith not only guides me, but it helps me, and I feel like it can help others, but when non-Christians view our collective actions and see ridiculousness it only drives a bigger wedge between Jesus and salvation.