1/ Some of the discussion so far about QAnon and Evangelicals has been a bit simplistic and ahistorical.

Short thread on some of the mistakes I’ve seen: First, the term "evangelical" in the US means you are talking about around 100 million people.
2/ They are not a homogenous glob moving in tandem. The better term for the precise issue we are talking about is probably "Christian nationalists".
3/ Christian nationalism is an ideology that fights for a fusion of religion and politics, that American civic life needs to be "Christian again". While there's some overlap between evangelicals and Christian nationalists, it's analytically useful to look at them separately.
4/ Second, I know people hate it when academics say “this is not new”, but this is not new. American politics has always been infused with religious significance. That's what Christian nationalism is. Communism was seen as the manifestation of the spirit of Satan.
5/ A whole host of religious leaders have labeled political leaders as the Antichrist – from Anwar Sadat to Henry Kissinger to Muamar Gaddafi. Others argued that the creation of the European Union was the creation of a one-world government that would usher in the apocalypse.
6/ There’s nothing new about Christians in the US being involved in politics. What’s new, as @GorskiPhilip has argued, is the extent to which much of the involvement now exists solely on the right of the political spectrum.
7/ The relationship between religious groups, apocalyptic thinking and conspiratorial thinking is old. QAnon isn’t “becoming Evangelical” and Evangelicals aren’t “becoming QAnon”. The seeds of this relationship has always existed.
8/ QAnon naturally resonates with a kind of religious thinking that already is speaking in the language of reclaiming America for God, that they are the righteous warriors against Satan’s influence on the world, that the truth will eventually be victorious.
9/ Third, QAnon is seeping into Evangelical communities not by itself, but largely on the back of other conspiracy theories: 5G, COVID is a hoax, pizzagate, election fraud, belief in a deep state plot against Trump.
10/ Because, as @travis_view says, QAnon is a "big tent" conspiracy, it will show up where other conspiracy theories are also making inroads.
11/11. Two good resources:

(1) American Babylon: Christianity and Democracy Before and After Trump by @GorskiPhilip routledge.com/American-Babyl…

(2) Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States by @ndrewwhitehead and Samuel L. Perry global.oup.com/academic/produ…

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More from @AmarAmarasingam

18 Jan
1. Was making a QAnon reading list for a journalist friend of mine, and thought the rest of you might find it useful as well – especially this week. Enjoy.
2. On origins, @QOrigins did a good summary piece a few weeks ago: bellingcat.com/news/americas/…
3. On spread outward, great piece by @BrandyZadrozny and @oneunderscore__ nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news…
Read 17 tweets
15 Jan
1. I know social media activists are trying to help identify a lot of the people that were at the Jan 6 insurrection, but I’m curious how people feel about this so-called “crowd sourced investigations”? Here’s a short thread on several instances where this has gone wrong:
2. To start, there’s the famous case of Sunil Tripathi from Boston, a young man struggling with depression, who had gone missing in mid-March 2013. After the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 he was misidentified by social media users as a potential bomber npr.org/sections/codes…
3. There’s also a great documentary about his case: helpusfindsuniltripathi.com
Read 10 tweets
10 Jan
1. (THREAD) So, it seems like the deplatforming debate is once again kicking off, so I thought I would introduce some of the earlier work that was done in this area back when ISIS was buck wild on social media. What have we learned over the last six years might be useful today:
2. One of the earliest studies that discussed the impact of suspensions of ISIS accounts was @intelwire and Morgan's piece: The ISIS Twitter Consensus.

They found that suspensions did have an impact on replies and retweets and overall dissemination. brookings.edu/wp-content/upl…
3. After suspensions, the die-hard supporters dedicated themselves to creating new accounts, but others whittled away: “it appears the pace of account creation has lagged behind the pace of suspensions”
Read 18 tweets
8 Jan
“After close review of recent Tweets from Trump’s account and context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence” blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/c…
Read 5 tweets
8 Jan
1. NEW by me, @ShirazMaher, and @charliewinter for @crest_research.

Anyone paying to ISIS channels on Telegram in 2019 noticed something strange in late November: they started to disappear en masse. We decided to take a closer look at the data. crestresearch.ac.uk/resources/how-…
2. These kinds of campaigns by Europol and social media platforms had happened before, and researchers either didn’t notice much impact on Isis presence online or noticed that ISIS channels came back pretty quickly. November 2019 was different.
3. They didn’t come back. They started experimenting with other platforms, supporters started freaking out and scrambling. I asked a Europol official about what was happening. 👇🏽ctc.usma.edu/view-ct-foxhol…
Read 8 tweets
29 Dec 20
1. My new piece for @Slate on election violence in the US, but a look at one peculiar reason for why we haven't seen much of it so far. slate.com/news-and-polit…
2. When it comes to conspiracy theories, most of the academic literature looks at why people tend to be attracted to them, and the kinds of impact they have on behavior.
3. Study after study has shown that people who deeply believe in conspiracy theories are less likely to vote, less likely to vaccinate their children, have dwindling levels of trust in government and expert systems, and are generally unlikely to donate money or volunteer.
Read 8 tweets

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