QAnon, the Millerites — and delusion, lies, and hate

Bruce Maples (bruceinlouisville@gmail.com)
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The QAnon claim that Jan. 20 would be Joe Biden’s day of doom isn’t without historical precedent.

Evangelist William Miller warned his followers that the world would end on Oct. 22, 1844. Jesus would reappear, escort true believers to Heaven, and leave the unsaved to the tender mercies of Old Scratch. 

As the appointed date drew nigh, the Millerites sold their earthly possessions, abandoned their farms, and closed their businesses.

On Oct. 22, 1844, they donned white “ascension robes.” One group climbed a mountain to await the Second Coming. Others perched in an apple tree.

You’d think that when Jesus was a no-show, most Millerites would have quit the movement in disappointment if not downright disgust. Some did, but most stuck with Miller after he said he goofed “and quickly issued a new date for the second coming, approximately six months later,” says Ohio History Central online. 

Only when the Chief Cornerstone failed to appear again did most of Miller’s followers give up on him, but not their faith in Christ’s redemptive return. “In 1845, some of Miller’s followers joined the Adventist Church, which Miller helped establish,” according to the website. “Adventists believe in the second coming of Christ, but they do not specify a day when this event will occur.”

It should be noted that while Miller focused on eternal bliss in the hereafter, QAnon is into hate in the here-and-now. The FBI reportedly labeled QAnon, which embraces Donald Trump, violence, racism, anti-Semitism, nativism and neo-fascism, “a domestic terrorism threat.”

While QAnon is patently anti-Christian — Christ preached love over hate, peace over war, charity over greed, and brotherhood and sisterhood over bigotry and exclusion — the group pilfers Christian imagery. QAanon said Jan. 20 would be a “Great Awakening,” the name of two big-time Protestant revival movements of the 18th- and 19th-centuries.

QAnoners believed that on inauguration day, God would (a) keep Donald Trump president and (b) empower him to smite Biden and his Satan-worshipping, pedophile Democratic “Deep State” sidekicks. 

Joe and Jill’s move to the White House and Donald and Ivana’s skedaddle to Mar-a-Lago failed to derail the QAnon crazy train. It’s still chugging; the passengers are looking forward to the fulfillment of a new prophecy. This one foretells a Trump second term somehow starting on March 4, the old presidential inauguration date. 

You can’t make this stuff up.

But here’s the really fun part: Don the Con is still fleecing the faithful.

“Interest around the date re-emerged after it was revealed that prices to rent a room at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on March 4 have been hiked to $1,331, more than double the $596 price for a guest room for most of that month and nearly triple the lowest cost,” Ewan Palmer wrote in Newsweek.

“Here we are in the 21st-century, and groups like QAnon still believe these half-baked conspiracies that Democrats are child molesters engaged in human sacrifice, that Barack Obama is not a citizen of the United States, or that Kamala Harris is the ‘Whore of Babylon.’ These beliefs all come from a very delusional space in modern conservatism.” 

He said QAnon “is rooted not only in delusional thought, but also in lies, and is fueled by hate. What QAnon is pushing and people are believing makes violent extremism possible.”

Clardy also said that “the idea that God would strike dead politicians he didn’t like represents the far, far Christian right gone full circle. But it’s been coming for a long time.”

Though Trump is gone from Washington, Trumpism lives and “we are in a very dangerous state,” Clardy warned. He pointed out that Trump received 74 million votes. (He won more than 62 percent of Kentucky’s vote and carried 118 of the state’s 120 counties, all but Jefferson (Louisville) and Fayette (Lexington.))    

The GOP has had a far-right, extremist wing for years. Trump made it mainstream.

“The problem of keeping the extremist fringe at arm’s length has plagued the Republican Party for decades — dating back to Joseph McCarthy and the John Birch Society — but nothing in recent American history has reached the crazed intensity of Donald Trump’s perseverating, mendacious insistence that he won a second term in November,” Thomas B. Edsall wrote in The New York Times. “That he is not alone — that millions continue to believe in his delusions — is terrifying.”

Nothing in recent American history has reached the crazed intensity of Donald Trump’s mendacious insistence that he won a second term in November. That he is not alone — that millions continue to believe in his delusions — is terrifying.Click To Tweet

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