Among white evangelicals, over 25 percent still believe in “QAnon” conspiracy theories. This may suggest some people experience difficulty abandoning one conspiracy theory when they believe whole-heartedly in another.
The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group, conducted its latest survey in January 2021. That survey found that 27% of white evangelicals and 29% of Republicans still believe in the outrageous conspiracy that claims “Donald Trump has been secretly fighting a group of child sex traffickers that includes prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites.” No other religious or political demographic comes close to reaching those percentages.
Daniel Cox, the director of AEI’s Survey Center on American Life, was asked why white evangelicals appear disproportionately likely to embrace conspiracy theories.
There is something different about white evangelicals from other religious groups. A radical majority share allegiances with about 81 percent of their family members and 82 percent of friends, who all stand by — and voted for — Donald Trump.
They congregate in their echo chamber without debating what they believe; they believe what they are told by those close to them. They live in a perfect environment for political lies to thrive, and they are praised just for keeping faith in the nonsense spewed by QAnon.
These circumstances promote the self-radicalization of white evangelicals as they hardily support the QAnon insanity. Nearly two-thirds, or 62 percent, believe the baseless accusations of nationwide voter fraud in the 2020 election, undeterred by numerous experts and courts at all levels refuting such claims. A majority (55%) of evangelicals reportedly believe that “a group of unelected government officials in Washington, D.C., referred to as the ‘Deep State’ (has) been working to undermine the Trump administration.”
To corral the wayward masses, QAnon focuses on Trump's best, even if it must be fabricated. They assume the worst of Democrats and Hollywood, to the point of complete absurdity. They project delusional hysteria to make ‘true patriots’ believe the illusion that they are fighting an epic battle where they will emerge as historical heroes.
Craig Timbert, national technology reporter for the Washington Post, recently wrote about QAnon. He said it could be tough to define what exactly QAnon is about.
Believers of QAnon, according to Timberg, regard Trump "not merely as their president and leader, but also as essentially a messiah." During the deadly January 6th attack on the United States Capitol, several people carried QAnon props and paraphernalia.
"[They believed that] Trump was going to stay in office, that he won the election, that the various baseless claims of election fraud were going to be proven true and acted upon," Timberg said. "And thata bunch of Democrats [were] going to be rounded up and arrested and, depending on which version of this you believed, shot or hung."
Pastors don’t want to dismiss the right-wing QAnon spreaders within their churches. Similar to what Republican senators have demonstrated, they don’t want to offend and dispel a large percentage of their base. They need to maintain self-preservation and promote donations, lest they will cease to function.