Have you heard of QAnon?
I have been aware of it over the past couple of years as a kind of right wing background noise, but it is only recently that it has adopted stronger Christian overtones.
Whenever that happens, I see it as an invitation to comment!
QAnon began in 2017 when an anonymous internet poster named “Q” began posting messages on 4 Chan; an internet site that the Guardian newspaper described as “lunatic, juvenile … brilliant, ridiculous and alarming.” It is a site known for pranks, harassment, attacks against other websites and Internet users, and the posting of illegal content, threats of violence, misogyny and racism.
“Q,” assumed to be a single person, claims to have access to secret government files which detail a satanic cult among Washington democrats and Hollywood elites. This cult is responsible for a large, well organized child sex ring. Thanks to the efforts of Donald Trump, this cabal is being held in check but all of his attempts to dismantle the sex ring are met with attacks by liberals protecting this demonic, secret society.
Obviously, none of this is based in fact.
But that doesn’t stop the QAnon movement from growing. Trump rallies regularly feature QAnon signage and supporters. The online presence of QAnon has grown substantially during the pandemic: up by 175% on Facebook (before being banned) and 63% on Twitter, according to a British source.
And, more recently, QAnon has metastasized into the evangelical, Christian church.
“Q Drops,” messages posted by Q, are often viewed as quasi sacred texts that are picked up by followers to help recruit Christians to “Save the Children.” Of course, everyone wants to save children and those who respond to this group’s efforts to do so soon find themselves descending a rabbit hole of nationalism, Christianity, the promise of spiritual knowledge and the primacy of scripture, and, finally, the desire to evangelize to friends and family.
For those who follow QAnon, Q Drops are sacred texts and Donald Trump is a messianic figure who will conjure an apocalyptic “Storm” that will reveal the “deep state” of evil.
QAnon would be frightening on its own but the fact that it has become legitimized is even more frightening.
QAnon is a consequence of our truth-starved culture that churns out social media echo chambers for the ignorant. It feeds people’s deep seated, unfounded fears and then offers a cause, a community, a sense of belonging and a movement to fight those identified as responsible for those fears.
To anyone who has studied the origins of 1930’s nationalism in Western Europe and the rise of fascism, this should be alarmingly familiar.