Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.
A Tulsa pastor trying to unseat Sen. James Lankford whose campaign has openly embraced QAnon followers is now denying accusations of Satanism and child sex trafficking leveled at him by QAnon followers.
Evangelical pastor Jackson Lahmeyer, who has in recent months appeared at conspiracy conferences with the likes of Michael Flynn and Lin Wood, was forced to deny involvement in “child sex trafficking, pedophilia, or devil worship” after he posted a picture of his daughter on Facebook, and QAnon supporters interpreted it as a sign of nefarious activity.
Lahmeyer is a political newcomer, but he has secured the support of Oklahoma GOP party chair John Bennett after incumbent Lankford consistently refused to repeat the lies about widespread election fraud spread by former President Donald Trump.
Lahmeyer, on the other hand, hasn’t hesitated to claim, with no evidence, that President Joe Biden stole the election. This week on his Facebook page, Lahmeyer once again claimed that former Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to certify the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6 made him a traitor.
“Pence had a chance to be an American hero, but he didn’t do the right thing,” Lahmeyer wrote.
Lahmeyer has not openly signaled support for the QAnon conspiracy theories—unlike many other GOP candidates—but he has embraced some of the leading figures in the QAnon cult.
He has sought and secured the endorsement of Flynn and Wood, both of whom are held in high esteem by QAnon followers. Bennett’s endorsement is seen as another signal that embracing conspiracy theories is no longer fatal to a successful run for Congress.
Lahmeyer has appeared on stage at a number of the conspiracy conferences organized by Tulsa businessman Clay Clark in recent months, and is scheduled to appear at several more in the coming months.
But last week Lahmeyer was confronted by the reality of what the QAnon conspiracy movement is all about.
After posted a picture of his daughter with him on the campaign trail, he was accused of being a Satanist and taking part in child-sex trafficking.
“It was a harmless post but there is an individual out there who has been spreading things about me that are not true such as I am creation worshipper, a new world order globalist and more nonsensical stuff.”
What triggered the accusations was the fact that Lahmeyer’s daughter was wearing red shoes. The wearing of red shoes is seen by QAnon believers to be a symbol of satanic ritualistic abuse and the trafficking of children.
Despite the baseless nature of the claims, the accusations were clearly reaching those who may be voting for Lahmeyer in next year’s primary.
“Unfortunately, I have to say it because people are asking me. I’m in no way involved in Child Sex Trafficking, pedophilia or devil worship. If you believe that it actually says more about you than it does me,” Lahmeyer wrote on Facebook.
Lahmeyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his embrace of QAnon figures.