Tag Archives: Domestic Terrorism

Pastors Leaving Congregations Radicalized By Conservative Conspiracy Theories

Radicalized Christian President Donald Trump’s supporters storming the US Capitol. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

(Sophia Ankel) On the morning of the Capitol riot, Vern Swieringa told his wife during a walk with their dogs: “Something is going to happen today. I don’t know what, but something’s going to happen today.”

The Christian Reformed Church pastor from Michigan had been watching for months as some members of his congregation grew captivated by videos about the QAnon conspiracy theory on social media, openly discussing sex trafficking and Satan-worshipping pedophiles.

He had watched as other spiritual advisors, including the self-proclaimed “Trump Prophet” Mark Taylor, incorporated wild and dangerous QAnon beliefs into their sermons on YouTube and as organizers of the Christian Jericho March gathered in Washington, DC, days before the insurrection, urging followers to “pray, march, fast, and rally for election integrity.”

So when hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol hours after his premonition, Swieringa was shocked, but not surprised.

“I think some of the signs had been there all along, and it just all came to a perfect storm,” Swieringa told Insider.

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