What Should a Catholic Make of Q?
The QAnon phenomenon seems not to have attracted many Catholics — but then, Q never really liked us in the first place.
Are you a follower of QAnon? Do you even know what it is?
The QAnon (also known as “Q”) movement is largely seen as paranoid and cult-like by liberals but has found a soft landing among some conservatives and evangelicals. Supposedly, Q is a highly-placed government insider who claims knowledge of a “deep state.” He posts almost daily on a range of topics, but the core message is his claim of a satanic cabal of pedophiles run by Democrats and celebrities who secretly control the government and other institutions. He says that Trump will take them down.
Pretty crazy, right? Except, there is Jeffrey Epstein. And besides the mainstream media, who really believes he committed suicide? But does that mean we should believe Q?
After an investigation, NBC News claims that rather than a government insider, it is three young men who created Q. The FBI labels followers a terror threat and Facebook banned all QAnon-related accounts on Oct. 6. The Q response is that it proves there is a “deep state” conspiracy against them. However, followers have been arrested for committing violent crimes.
Last year, a follower vandalized a Catholic Church in Arizona, claiming the Church is involved in human trafficking. The Church’s notorious sex abuse scandals play into the child-trafficking theories among some Q followers. In general, the Q phenomenon seems not to have attracted many Catholics — but then, Q didn’t really like us in the first place.
Who is Q?
The fascination with QAnon began Oct. 28, 2017, with someone identified only as Q posting to the internet message board on 4chan, later moving to 8chan, then 8kun. The first of his more than 4,000 posts claimed that Hillary Clinton’s “extradition” was “already in motion” and her arrest imminent. We know now that never happened. According to The Atlantic, the move from 8chan became necessary when that site went dark for three days after 22 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. The police revealed that the alleged killer had posted a manifesto on 8chan shortly before carrying out the attack, although there was no link to anything about Q.
Many of the publications that have written against Q lean far to the left and are no fans of President Trump, making it all the more attractive to those on the right. Q paraphernalia has appeared at Republican rallies and the left has been critical that Trump has not denounced it.
QAnon adherents are growing. At least 78 current or former congressional candidates have embraced or given credence to Q, the nonprofit Media Matters for America reported.
“QAnon has by now made its way onto every major social and commercial platform and any number of fringe sites,” according to The Atlantic article. “Tracy Diaz, a QAnon evangelist, known online by the name TracyBeanz, has 185,000 followers on Twitter and more than 100,000 YouTube subscribers. She helped lift QAnon from obscurity, facilitating its transition to mainstream social media. On TikTok, videos with the hashtag #QAnon have garnered millions of views. Previous to the recent ban, there were too many QAnon Facebook groups, plenty of them ghost towns, to do a proper count, but the most active ones published thousands of items each day. (In 2018, Reddit banned QAnon groups from its platform for inciting violence.)”
Recently Twitter has banned QAnon, but they often ban things I support, such as life in the womb, so that fact holds no sway for people like me.
Conspiracy theories are crazy. But some of them, sometimes, may be true. So are there really dark forces pulling the strings of businesses and governments?
Well, we do still wonder who really shot John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Widespread distrust of mainstream news media has created fertile ground for conspiracy theories. And if a theory was really true, wouldn’t the evildoers want it laughed off as a ridiculous? That’s the problem. In researching this article, I had to take the information from the left with a grain of salt since their stance differs so widely from my own. But they are the ones mostly reporting on it and against it.
Some of the QAnon theories include:
- John F. Kennedy Jr. is still alive.
- Children are being sold through the furniture retailer Wayfair.
- 5G radio waves caused COVID-19.
- George Floyd’s murder was a hoax.
People targeted in conspiracy theories include Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, George Soros, Bill Gates, Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey, Chrissy Teigen and Pope Francis. And the new coronavirus has only multiplied these theories. In today’s polarized culture, it’s understandable why a conservative might follow QAnon.
Yet QAnon is no friend of religion. It seems to attempt to replace it. The Federalist has reported on the trend for people to turn away from religion and toward secular cults such as Q. Even within religion, Protestant ministers are coming forward claiming that they are fighting Q-inspired hatred and suspicion and losing members from their congregations. And with more people turning to the internet for religion since COVID has shuttered many churches, QAnon’s reach has expanded.
There is actually now a formalized QAnon religion at Omega Kingdom Ministries, which is part of a network of independent congregations called Home Congregations Worldwide. The organization’s spiritual adviser, Mark Taylor, uses the Bible as an interpretive lens for QAnon.
In the Religious News Service (RNS) article, “QAnon: The alternative religion that's coming to your church,” a number of pastors testified that Q is dividing congregations and hurting the Christian witness. QAnon uses Bible verses to encourage people to stand firm against evil elites. One charismatic church in Indiana hosts two-hour Sunday services showing how Bible prophecies confirm Q’s messages. It advises people to stop watching mainstream media (even conservative sources) in favor of QAnon YouTube channels and the Qmap website.
Better than Q
What is a Catholic to make of all of this? When it comes to religion and values, we need to turn to a source we can rely on. That why I turn to the Catholic Church and timeless Catholic teaching.
People want the inside story, and actually, there really are insiders with secrets of consequence. For instance, it was "Deep Throat" eventually revealed as FBI agent Mark Felt, who informed Washington Post reporters about the Watergate scandal, which led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in1974. And most Catholics are familiar with Our Lady of Fatima, an insider with messages from heaven and the promise that in the end, “My Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
QAnon has been proven wrong at times — so just like with false visionaries in the Church, I’m going to stay away. The “inside information” of my choosing will continue to come from praying the daily Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and spending time in Eucharistic Adoration.
I pray that evil will be discovered and brought to justice, but Q is not a reliable source and cannot be trusted to do this. It is Jesus Christ who is “to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35).
And while the claims of Q cannot be believed, the truths taught by the Catholic Church can — because they have been revealed by God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.