Even before our current predicament, I’ve always kept a close eye on evangelicals because you never know what sort of batsh*t they’re going to get into, and good God, has this pandemic been a freaking field day for them. We’re talking about an End of Days smorgasbord for the God and Guns crowd, and nothing more perfectly encapsulates that obsession than the terrifying prominent conspiracy theory around Bill Gates injecting everyone with the Mark of the Beast. (Always with the injecting with these people.)
If you’re blissfully unaware of this little number that’s bouncing around social media, here’s just a small taste:
I'd been thinking about making this account for a while, but the galvanizing event was when my dad shared this tonight with a caption that implies he thinks Bill Gates is gonna microchip us with the vaccine and it'll be the mark of the beast and I literally cannot fathom!!! pic.twitter.com/8Ai6tF6AtN— Rosili (@RosiliTheExvie) April 20, 2020
In a nutshell, during the very early days of the nation shutting down, Bill Gates participated in a Reddit AMA where he fielded questions from curious users about how businesses would change in a post-virus world, etc. etc. Here’s the seemingly innocuous answer he provided that sparked a whole entire shit show.
“Countries are still figuring out what to keep running,” he wrote. “Eventually we will have some digital certificates to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine who has received it.”
Keep in mind, Gates was mostly spitballing about steps that can be taken to monitor the spread of the virus. But because the internet is going to internet, his remark was quickly twisted by conspiracy theorists into “Holy sh*t, Bill Gates is going to inject a microchip into everyone” even though he said no such thing.
Gates did not mention microchips at any point during his Reddit conversation. Nevertheless, the article falsely claimed he was referring to a December 2019 study funded by the Gates Foundation on quantum tattoos — invisible ink that could last five years and be read with a smartphone.
“These markings were developed to provide a vaccination record and there is no ability to track anyone’s movements,” one of the study’s authors told PolitiFact, which debunked the claim. “This technology is only able to provide very limited (e.g. non-personalized) data locally. These markings require direct line-of-sight imaging from a distance of less than one foot. Remote or continuous tracking is simply not possible for a variety of technical reasons.”
Naturally, a perfectly rational explanation didn’t put this thing to bed because if there’s one thing people who gravitate towards conspiracy theories hate, it’s cold hard reality. Bernie didn’t lose because voters rejected him, the DNC is out to get him. Donald Trump didn’t tell people to inject bleach, he was taken out of context by the liberal media. You see my point.
Anyway, this puppy really took off when Roger Stone — who no one should ever listen to about anything — accused Gates of creating the virus just so he can microchip people, and it was off to the races. As for why the hell such a patently stupid idea could take hold, you have to know something about evangelicals, and it’s something I witnessed a lot during the ’90s. (Bill Clinton’s presidency really opened up the crazy with these people. You have no idea.) One of their beliefs is that during the End of Days when Christ returns and throws all of the Jews and sinners into a Lake of Fire, you read that right, the Antichrist will desecrate people with the “Mark of the Beast.”
Here’s a quick rundown of the relevant verse from Christian Post:
Nonetheless, the book of Revelation says this about “the beast of the earth” — a major helper to the beast, who is the Antichrist to come: “It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name” (13:16-17).
Now, you’ll probably notice that nowhere in that verse are microchips mentioned because The Bible was written 2,000 years ago. However, that hasn’t stopped modern-day evangelicals from creating their own head-canon where people will be injected with a microchip either in their hand, forehead, and fingertip, and this will undoubtedly be the Mark of the Beast. It’s why I saw churchgoers literally freak out on Sunday mornings because they heard that some credit card company was very close to making a fingerprint payment system happen. This shit is part of their mythos now, and shady actors like Roger Stone know that evangelicals are easy marks for this stuff.
Except, here’s the part that always baffle me. Part of this story involves the presence of the Antichrist, a charismatic figure who easily seduces Christians. Just an absolutely evil individual who bamboozles Christ’s church to fall madly in love with him. Sound like anyone in particular? Well, f*ck you, you’re wrong.
In literally none of these scenarios do these people ever once consider that maybe Donald Trump is anything but the hero. The Antichrist is always somebody else. Bill Gates, Obama, probably Joe Biden any minute now. Why would anyone think it’s the serial adulterer who literally lives in a house of gold and worships his own image? That’s just crazy talk.
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