Meet the ‘Black Robe Regiment’ of Extremist Pastors Spreading Christian Nationalism

Days before the midterm elections, Pastor David MacLellan was ready to preach far-right politics through Bible verses to his small congregation. MacLellan, a hulking man with a long, grizzled black beard, isn’t an ordinary pastor. He proudly identifies himself as a far-right, extremist pastor and a Christian nationalist, someone who believes American politics should reflect fundamentalist Christian values. 

And he’s part of a growing national religious political movement called the Black Robe Regiment, 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.

And MacLellan plans to take an active role: He’s convinced that the 2020 election was stolen and that fraud has already been committed in the 2022 midterms. He wants his congregants to fight back. 

“This Tuesday, I’ll be taking some of our seniors to the polling station,” MacLellan announced at the beginning of his service, held in the living room of his home in Mesa, Arizona. That day, he wore a tweed jacket over a black shirt, and a bolo tie. His hands are gnarled with faded tattoos—a nod, he says, to his Scottish heritage and a holdover from a past life when he played in punk bands in New York and was a “heathen biker.”

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.”

“Interesting, huh?” he said, as an aside to the congregation crowded into his living room, who responded with knowing sounds.

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Federal Bureau of Intimidation: The War on Political Freedom

Discredit, disrupt, and destroy. That is how the government plans to get rid of activists and dissidents who stand in its way.

This has always been the modus operandi of the FBI (more aptly referred to as the Federal Bureau of Intimidation): muzzle anti-government sentiment, harass activists, and terrorize Americans into compliance.

Indeed, the FBI has a long history of persecuting, prosecuting and generally harassing activists, politicians, and cultural figures.

Back in the 1950s and ‘60s, the FBI’s targets were civil rights activists, those suspected of having Communist ties, and anti-war activists. In more recent decades, the FBI has expanded its reach to target so-called domestic extremists, environmental activists, and those who oppose the police state.

Back in 2019, President Trump promised to give the FBI “whatever they need” to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism, without any apparent thought for the Constitution’s prohibitions on such overreach.

That misguided pledge sheds a curious light on the FBI’s latest nationwide spree of SWAT team raids, surveillance, disinformation campaigns, fear-mongering, paranoia, and strong-arm tactics.

For instance, just before dawn on Jan. 25, 2019, the FBI sent 29 heavily armed agents in 17 vehicles to carry out a SWAT-style raid on the Florida home of Roger Stone, one of President Trump’s longtime supporters. Stone, charged with a political crime, was taken away in handcuffs.

In March 2021, under the pretext of carrying out an inventory of U.S. Private Vaults, FBI agents raided 1400 safe deposit boxes in Beverly Hills, seizing “more than $86 million in cash as well as gold, jewelry, and other valuables from property owners who were suspected of no crimes.”

In April 2021, FBI agents raided Rudy Giuliani’s home and office, seizing 18 electronic devices. More than a year later, Giuliani has yet to be charged with any crimes.

In June 2022, Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official under the Trump Administration, was led out of his home in pajamas while federal law enforcement officials raided his home.

In the summer of 2022, FBI agents wearing tactical gear including body armor, helmets and camouflage uniforms and carrying rifles raided multiple homes throughout Little Rock, Ark., including a judge’s home.

In August 2022, more than a dozen FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago, the winter home of Donald Trump.

And in September 2022, 25 to 30 armed FBI agents raided the home of an anti-abortion activist, pointing guns at the family and terrorizing the man’s wife and seven children.

Politics aside, the message is clear: this is how the government will deal with anyone who challenges its authority.

You’re next.

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North Dakota official says ‘no evidence’ supports suspect’s claim teen was Republican ‘extremist’

North Dakota official said that there’s “no evidence” supporting Shannon Brandt’s claim that 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson was part of a “Republican extremist group” before he allegedly used his car to hit the teenager, who later died.

Brandt, 41, is being charged with criminal vehicular homicide, as well as leaving the scene of a crash involving a death after the incident in the early Sunday morning hours. He was held in the Stutsman County Jail until Tuesday, when he posted a $50,000 bond and was released.

The incident happened after a “street dance” in McHenry, North Dakota and Brandt told state first responders’ radio that he struck the pedestrian with an SUV because the pedestrian was threatening him,” a probable-cause affidavit states. The document also states that Brandt fled the scene, but later returned and called 911.

Brandt also thought that Ellingson was part of a “Republican extremist group,” and then allegedly hit him, according to the court document. 

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41-year-old driver admits to intentionally running over and killing Republican teenager in North Dakota due to political dispute

Early Sunday morning, 41-year-old Shannon Brandt allegedly ran over 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson with his car following a political dispute in McHenry, North Dakota.

After being charged on Monday with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a deadly accident, Brandt admitted that his actions were politically motivated

According to InForum, Ellingson had been participating in a street dance Saturday night, and when it wrapped up, he noticed that Brandt was following him. 

Ellingson called his mother to ask for help, but it was too late. Moments later, Brandt slammed into him with his car in an alleyway, killing the teen.

Brandt later called police himself to report the incident. As InForum reports, he claimed that Ellingson had been part of a “Republican extremist group,” and had ordered others to come after him following a political argument.

According to police, Brandt was drunk at the time, however aside from that, very little is known about what transpired.

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