Writing for Religion Dispatches, Grand View University professor Thomas Lecaque revealed the strange QAnon undertones in the sermon from a "gun church" tied to Republican Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano.
Mastriano, a far-right state senator who believes former President Donald Trump was ordained by God, has also faced investigation for his presence at the January 6 "Save America" rally that preceded the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"One local Pennsylvania Q-affiliated religious group that Mastriano has repeatedly engaged with — with expansionist tendencies and both national and international interests — is 'Rod of Iron Ministries,'" wrote Lecaque. "Rod of Iron Ministries is a schismatic offshoot of the Unification Church, often called the 'Moonies,' led by Hyung Jin 'Sean' Moon — son of the Unification Church’s late founder, Sun Myung Moon — who reorganized his ministry around a particular scriptural interpretation: that the 'rod of iron' in Psalm 2:9 and Revelation 2:26 is, in fact, the AR-15."
The church, which was active in pro-Trump circles during the 2020 election and recently purchased sprawling compounds in Tennessee and Texas, has espoused wild conspiracy theories in its sermons — one of which Lecaque dissected.
"Babylon the Chaldeans are coming to destroy Israel. Why? Because they have left God," said Pastor Sean. "They have turned their back on God. Why? Because they have accepted pedophilia and child trafficking, selling their children to the Babylonian culture, which would you, your, families send their daughters to the Temple prostitute, prostitution temples, Asherah, in order that they be deflowered, and raped by random strangers, this is how wicked and evil the culture had become, that they thought that was good for the children."
"I mean come on folks, this is so ridiculous," the sermon continues. "And they, that is over (unintelligible) bounds obviously. And Israel was starting to participate. Young people were getting sucked up in this culture. They saw all the Hollywood stars, they saw all the richness and affluence of Babylon, they wanted to be like Babylon, they didn’t want to come and understand their God. They didn’t want to live for principles, they want to live for pleasure."
All of this lines up with the QAnon movement, which holds that Trump has been secretly working to save America from a hidden organization of Satanic child traffickers who consume human flesh for psychedelia and immortality. The group draws on older anti-Semitic and "sovereign citizen" conspiracy theories, and has been identified as a domestic terrorism threat by the FBI.
"[T]he Hollywood reference is part of the broader conspiracy that 'Hollywood elites' and 'Democrat' leaders and others viewed as cultural enemies by QAnon are all part of a secret, worldwide, Satan-worshipping, pedophile cult controlling our government and media," Lecaque explained. "The reference to Babylon also ties it to Revelation 17, 'Babylon the Great, Mother of Prostitutes,' as both Rod of Iron and QAnon are apocalyptic movements."