President Joe Biden was wrong. The MAGA movement isn’t semi-fascist. It is actually 100% christo-fascist.
Under the stewardship of Michael Flynn and Roger Stone (former President Trump’s longtime advisor), the movement has evolved into a hellish coalition of Christian dominionists and violent extremist groups. Its goal is to replace our democracy with a militant theocracy. While right-wing propagandists have feigned outrage over Biden’s “semi-fascism” remarks, this dangerous coalition has continued its swift advance across America.
A few specific developments should alarm everyone who values American democracy. First, during the July 2022 stop of Flynn’s (multi-state) ReAwaken America Tour (RAT) in Virginia, Flynn and a militant group called the “Black Robe Regiment” recruited 150 pastors into the organization’s ranks. Jim Garlow, an apostle with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) religious movement, participated in the commissioning, according to a report that the Regiment posted on Rumble after the event.
An ad posted by the Regiment before the event stated that attendees would also have a chance to meet former President Donald Trump’s two eldest sons, retired General Jerry Boykin, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell (among others). The ad said to “Support Our Mission! Use Promo Code ‘ROBE’ at MyPillow.com.”
The Regiment, which has been closely tied to the Oathkeepers, will resume its recruitment efforts when Flynn’s RAT comes to Pennsylvania next month, according to the Facebook page for the Regiment’s CEO and founder, Rev. William Cook.
Moreover, NAR apostle Lance Wallnau — who conducted webinars with the Regiment in April and August this year — plans to come to Pennsylvania Friday to rally for Doug Mastriano, the Pennsylvania GOP’s gubernatorial candidate. Mastriano has additional ties to the NAR, as the Beacon has previously shown.
As the Beacon reported on August 21, 2022, the NAR is a politically influential religious movement that promotes not only “Christian nationalism” (a fusing of America’s national identity with Christianity), but also the more specific concept of dominionism, a belief that Christians have a mandate from God to control the government, media, education system, and all other pillars of society. The NAR endorses the so-called “Seven Mountains mandate” iteration of dominionism, which was popularized by Wallnau himself. The “seven mountains” that Wallnau and others within the movement seek to control are: 1. business, 2. government, 3. family, 4. religion, 5. media, 6. education, and 7. entertainment. Although the “seven mountains” mandate was popularized by the NAR, it has since expanded beyond the NAR.
During an August 24, 2022 webinar with the Regiment, Wallnau complained that he’s now receiving calls from journalists asking him to clarify his beliefs about dominionism. He said that although he proudly wears the “Christian nationalist” label, he rejects the “dominionist” label.
He doth protest too much. On July 1, 2022, Wallnau and three other religious leaders (NAR apostle Dutch Sheets and pastors Hank Kunneman and Mario Murillo) stood on stage inside a Georgia arena and recited (in its entirety) the “Watchman’s decree,” as we reported in our August piece. That decree states, in part, that, “Whereas, we have been given legal power from heaven and now exercise our authority [,] … [w]e decree that we take back and permanently control positions of influence and leadership in each of the ‘Seven Mountains.’” The word “dominion” literally means “the power or right of governing and controlling.”
NAR apostle Jim Garlow — who commissioned pastors into the Regiment with Flynn — is not as loose-lipped as Wallnau. But he endorses the same dominionist beliefs. “We’re the ones called to disciple the nation, and we disciple the nation through those 7 spheres of influence,” Garlow stated in a video posted by Right Wing Watch in 2010. In the video, Garlow emphasized that “I’m not the one that came up with this. This has been given by God for decades now.”
Garlow has also called gay marriage “satanic.” Below is a photo of Garlow, inside the White House with Trump in 2018. It is deeply concerning that Garlow and Wallnau are involved with the MAGA movement and the Regiment.
The Regiment’s embrace of the Oathkeepers is equally alarming. On Dec 12, 2020, Cook (the Regiment’s CEO and founder) sported an Oathkeepers T-shirt during the pre-insurrection Jericho March rally in Washington, D.C., called “Hear the Church Roar!”
Oathkeepers leader Stewart Rhodes spoke on the same stage that day, as did Flynn, Ali Alexander (who organized much of the “Stop the Steal” campaign), Alex Jones (host of the conspiracy show called InfoWars), Lindell, and Wallnau. NAR apostle Cindy Jacobs spoke on video during the event, as did Catholic Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a hard right ally of Steve Bannon.
The Regiment stated in a 2021 newsletter that it partners with the Oathkeepers. On April 8 that year, it held a special webinar featuring and defending Rhodes who was under a cloud of suspicion for his role in Jan. 6. The ad for the event stated that, “We are all Oathkeepers now.” It concurrently promoted an April 22 town hall with Mike Flynn
On Jan. 12, 2022, Rhodes was arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy involving the storming of the US Capitol. But even before Rhodes was indicted, the public had seen videos of Oathkeepers members moving in stacks through the crowd and up the stairs to the US Capitol building. The Regiment’s ties to the organization in 2021 are unnerving.
It is similarly distressing that the Regiment has conducted multiple webinars with John Guandolo, president and founder of Understanding the Threat (UTT). After Jan. 6, Guandolo stated that members of Congress should be “swinging from a rope.” UTT’s Vice President, John Bennett, is chairman of the Oklahoma GOP and has said that “we should try Anthony Fauci and put him in front of a firing squad.” In July this year. Flynn announced that he’s working with Guandolo too.
Nor is it comforting that, according to journalist Chris Rodda, the “Black Robe Movement” is based on a militant myth. The myth involves “Peter Muhlenberg, the Lutheran minister who, since the mid 1800s, is said to have stood before his congregation in January 1776, and, after delivering a stirring, patriotic farewell sermon, removed his clerical robe to reveal the uniform of a Revolutionary Army officer, enlisting three hundred soldiers for his ‘German Regiment’ on the spot.”
This myth was popularized by David Barton, founder of the Texas-based Wallbuilders organization, who wrote a book on the subject. Barton, who more recently co-wrote a different book with NAR apostle Jim Garlow, is one of America’s foremost crusaders for obliterating the separation of church and state. Mastriano seems to admire Barton’s work, which he cited in his 2001 master’s thesis, as Right Wing Watch has reported.
The Regiment is not the only organization based on the “Black Robe Regiment” myth. But it seems to be more involved with the NAR than others.
The Regiment’s website states that Cook founded the organization in 2012 in Virginia with help from retired Lt. Gen. William H. Boykin. As noted, Boykin was scheduled to attend the July 2022 event in Virginia with the Regiment and Flynn’s RAT.
In addition to his involvement with the Regiment, Boykin sits on the board of a controversial organization called the Oak Initiative, which was founded by a NAR-affiliated pastor named Rick Joyner.
In 2007, Joyner and NAR apostle Dutch Sheets prophesied that:
“The kingdom of God will not be socialism, but a freedom even greater than anyone on earth knows at this time. At first it may seem like totalitarianism, as the Lord will destroy the antichrist spirit now dominating the world with “the sword of His mouth” and will shatter many nations like pottery.”
In 2013, Joyner called for a military coup against Obama, stating that “our only hope is a military takeover; martial law.” He made similar remarks in 2014. In September 2020 he declared that, “We’re in time for war,” adding, “We need to recognize that. We need to mobilize. We need to get ready. I’m talking to law enforcement, talking to people. One of the things I saw in a dream I had related to our civil war was that militias would pop up like mushrooms. And it was God. These were good militias.”
NAR apostle Lance Wallnau also sits on the board of Joyner’s Oak Initiative. Wallnau has hosted and promoted Joyner on his show many times. (Link to post 1 from Nov 6, 2020; Link to post 2 from Jan 23, 2021)
Meanwhile, the “Black Robe Regiment” movement has been promoted by far right media personality Glenn Beck. In 2015, he and Garlow said they had 70,000 pastors willing to die for the cause. Beck dined with Wallnau and Joyner in 2019.
Pastor Greg Locke, a close confidante of Roger Stone, is involved with a “Black Robe Regiment” group that seems to not be affiliated with Cook. Lindell is involved with Locke’s group too. That makes two black robe regiment groups tied to Lindell.
On Jan. 5, 2021 (the day before the insurrection), Locke prayed for the Proud Boys, a violent extremist group with whom Roger Stone had cavorted for years. Here is Locke with Stone and Stone’s publicist, Kristen Davis (formerly known as the “Manhattan Madam”), on Jan. 5, 2021. Leaders of the Proud Boys organization have since been charged with seditious conspiracy.
In February 2022, Locke hosted a book burning event and threatened to release the name of six women in his congregation who he said were “stinky witches.” Locke has 2.2 million Facebook followers.
On May 5, 2022, Locke posted a photo of himself at. Mar-A-Lago.
Based on this Instagram post from May 4, 2022, it appears that Lindell and “Captain O” (a longtime Oathkeeper who has called Roger Stone his “hero” and “mentor”), may have attended the same Mar-A-Lago event as Locke. As we explained here, “Captain O” was apparently visiting Stone around the time the Oathkeepers and Proud Boys formed an alliance (although we don’t know if he or Stone was involved).
The man standing behind Lindell in the above photo appears to be David J. Harris, Jr., who is shown with Locke and Lindell in the image below.
On December 11 and 12, “Captain O” posted these photos on Instagram.
Stone, Jones, and Lindell are easily recognizable. The other two men are Harris and Brian Gibson, who spoke alongside Locke the day before the insurrection.
A few days ago, Lindell received a visit from the FBI, which confiscated his phone. And yet the national media has done little to warn the public about the dominionists cavorting with Lindell, Flynn, Stone, the RAT, the Regiment, and other “Black Robe Regiment” groups.
Unless Pennsylvanians want to live in a theocracy, they should do whatever they can to keep these people away from the Keystone state and to keep the MAGA coalition’s desired gubernatorial candidate (Mastriano) away from the Governor’s mansion.
Thank you to Bruce Wilson for sharing his knowledge of the “black robe regiment” myth with me. Thank you to Eric Ellason of SlickRockWeb for sharing his archived research about the Regiment and the OathKeepers. Thank you to @KiraResistance (on Twitter) for her discovery that Wallnau is coming to Pennsylvania tomorrow for a Mastriano rally. And thank you to @LeaLovesUSA (on Twitter) for her open source research on Captain O. Thank you to Opal Katz for her post about Locke and Gibson on Jan 5. Finally, thank you to Pat Bagley for the illustration.