A group of far-right Christian nationalists known as the Black Robe Regiment is devoted to Donald Trump and expected to cast doubt on the 2022 election results.
In a new report, Vice News describes the Black Robe Regiment as "a modern-day group inspired by a myth of a group of militant pastors during the American Revolution who took up arms to lead their flock into battle against the British. The movement, imbued with support from far-right political activists like Michael Flynn, wants pastors to play a central role in not only preaching politics from the pulpit but also actively getting their congregations to rise up and claim election fraud by weaving myths about the American Revolution together with modern-day conspiracy theories and hard-line Christianity. These pastors believe they’re saving democracy, though what they’re really doing is encouraging supporters to undermine the democratic process."
Flynn's Christian nationalist "ReAwaken America" roadshow has been touring America all year.
Vice News interviewed Pastor David MacLellan in Arizona, where the Republican Party is running a slate of election deniers.
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"His sermon mixed Bible verses with remarks about evolution, made claims of violence against anti-abortion groups, and described Jewish people as a 'wealthy group of people who didn’t believe in heaven or hell, didn’t believe in angels, and they had political control over everything,'" Vice reported. "MacLellan is one of many pastors across the United States who are seeking to revive the Black Robe Regiment movement and take advantage of the rise in support for Christian nationalism. But while MacLellan is working on his own to spread the message, others are coordinating to bring the movement to a national stage."
The report noted Flynn has been organizing pastors during his fire and brimstone tour.
"Flynn’s group was founded by Virginia pastor William Cook with the aim of putting a Black Robe pastor in every single constituency in the United States," Vice reported. "This new iteration of the group wants pastors to preach the gospel of Trump, actively spread conspiracies about COVID vaccines and stolen elections, and get more involved in local politics. Many of the pastors aligned with the movement were involved in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, including several who encouraged their flocks to take part in the protest and then traveled to D.C. themselves. And experts worry that their incendiary language about spiritual warfare could incite real-world violence."
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The report comes as Christian nationalism has been taking over churches in America.
"Cook has already established outposts across the country that are making inroads into local and state government, and he has the backing of some of the most influential figures within the evangelical community, including longtime Trump adviser Paula White," Vice reported. "And, with the backing of Flynn, who has attained a God-like status among huge swaths of the American right over the last couple of years, this iteration of the Black Robe Regiment could become much more real than its nonexistent ancestors. They could actually pose a significant threat to American democracy."
Read the full report.