On Aug. 18, the Catholic-right media outlet Church Militant featured a half-hour interview with John Doyle, a young YouTube streamer who drew national attention this June for helping to lead a uniquely ugly protest against an LGBTQ Pride Month event in downtown Dallas. The 22-year-old Doyle, whose YouTube show "Heck Off, Commie!" has an audience of some 300,000 subscribers, has openly referred to himself as both a "white nationalist" and "Christian fascist." But to his interviewer, Church Militant founder and president Michael Voris, he was a "saint in the making." And as the conversation brought Doyle's message to a new and different audience, the alignment of right-wing Catholicism with some of the most extreme voices on today's far right only grew.
For years, Church Militant has served as an angry gadfly within the world of right-wing Catholicism, objecting not just to moderate and progressive Catholics and Pope Francis, whom the outlet sees as a heretical liberal, but also to more mainstream conservative Catholic outlets it views as insufficiently critical of church hierarchy.
For his part, Doyle is a prominent member of online far-right youth circles aligned with the white nationalist America First/groyper movement and its leader, the gleefully racist and antisemitic livestreamer Nick Fuentes, with whom Doyle led a "Stop the Steal" protest in 2020. On his livestream show, where Doyle promotes an authoritarian form of Christian nationalism, he has attacked figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., claiming that "being assassinated was like the best thing that could happen to him" and said that "the destruction of white racism is ultimately code for the destruction of American society." Last October, Doyle taunted students at the University of North Texas by asking, "What is wrong with Christian fascism?" and warning that "when we and all my friends take power, bad things are going to happen to you."
In February, Doyle appeared as a special guest at Fuentes' third America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC III) in Orlando, alongside far-right politicians like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers, who called for hanging the movement's political enemies. In April, after keynoting an event hosted by the University of California, Santa Barbara, chapter of Turning Point USA, Doyle praised the group for being brave enough to invite "white nationalists" like "yours truly" to speak.
And this June, as Salon reported, Doyle attacked a family-friendly drag queen brunch at a Dallas gay bar, declaring that LGBTQ people are "the symptom of a dying society," that he aimed to take away "every single one" of their rights and that Texas sheriffs should enter the bar "and put bullets in all their heads" because "That's what the badge is for."
That protest is what Doyle recalled when Voris asked him what Church Militant's right-wing Catholic audience should be paying attention to in the cultural arena. Describing transgenderism as "deeply disturbed and satanic," Doyle went on to claim that when some of his fellow protesters prayed the rosary, it had sparked a "demonic" response from the counter-protesters who were there to protect the bar and its patrons.
"There were people next to us who weren't exactly Catholic," Doyle said, but who nonetheless later told him that "at that moment, the sort of spiritual conflict we're in became very real to them." While LGBTQ advocates and allies might dismiss other forms of protests, Doyle continued, "hearing the word of God and something that powerful made these people who look as though they were probably demonically influenced screech. They weren't yelling their counterargument … they were literally screeching at us exactly as you would expect if you believe in spiritual warfare."
Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.
During that event, as local activists' and filmmakers' videos document, anti-LGBTQ protesters screamed at parents and their children, followed some families and performers back to their cars, called attendees and counterprotesters "faggots" and "groomers" and even taunted police there to separate the camps by saying, "Your dad probably dragged you to a lot of gay bars."
Doyle also suggested, without evidence, that the parents who had brought their children to the event were all "single mothers" who had "been failed by the men around them and they're taking it out on the children. You know, oftentimes these are little boys who are being brought to these events by their single mothers, and you have to assume that the single mother is basically viewing that boy as like his father, and getting revenge on him by destroying them."
Doyle went on to claim that American men have been feminized by "residual estrogen in our tap water"; that the behavior of women politicians shows "that they really were supposed to be like mothers or nurturers"; and that, should his side "win," it should erect statues of all the "Satanic Panic evangelical right-wing leaders [of the 1980s and early '90s], just as an apology to them, because everything they predicted turned out to be true." (As with baseless QAnon conspiracy theories today, the Satanic Panic involved elaborate but utterly unfounded accusations that American day care centers were part of a widespread network of organized ritual pedophilia rings.)
Doyle claimed American men have been feminized by "residual estrogen" in tap water and suggested erecting statues of the "Satanic Panic evangelical right-wing leaders" of the '80s and '90s, because their predictions "turned out to be true."
Doyle's racist ideas were also hinted at during the interview. When Voris asked Doyle why he thought he hadn't yet been censored by "big media," Doyle responded that he believed his "intellectual approach" disarms content moderators who are on the lookout for more obvious hate speech. "If I do an hour-and-a-half-long video, for example, basically preaching against the civil rights movement in every aspect, that has been able to survive on YouTube and get a few hundred thousand views," he said. "Whereas someone who will say, 'Oh, MLK is a bad guy because of XYZ cheesy joke,' they'll get censored." He went on to suggest that today's United States is "definitely unsustainable" because America's government was constructed "by people who were much more intelligent and educated than the people who currently run it," thanks to both "exponentially accumulating degeneracy" and "affirmative action."
In response to that threat, Doyle continued, the "authoritarian right wing" was growing as "an immune response to Communism." While he said he and his fellow travelers weren't calling for "a Mussolini-style state," they "just know that what is happening is wrong and we're going to stop it eventually." Within the course of the next decade, he went on, "It will be more obvious that pillars are being put into place that could really cause a serious change. …We're seeing a lot of these people emerge and I think they're going to be very useful in orchestrating what will be, like, the New America, so to speak."
Part of that New America, he suggested, would come about through the increasing mobilization of young right-wing men. "I think it is going to be as we see throughout history: Men, in particular young men, finally get together and organize and take the country back in whatever capacity that means."
During the interview, Voris called Doyle "a saint in the making" and Doyle credited Church Militant with helping shape his faith, saying that after he'd "come out" as Catholic during one livestream, "without really knowing what that meant," members of Church Militant "reached out to me" and had become his "sherpa, leading me into becoming a good Catholic."
Doyle's New America will come about, he suggested, through the mobilization of young right-wing men, who will "finally get together and organize and take the country back."
Church Militant isn't the only outlet helping to mainstream Doyle's views. In addition to the welcome he's found with Turning Point USA — which is currently bringing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on a national tour to support far-right candidates such as Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Pennsylvania's would-be Christian nationalist governor Doug Mastriano — Doyle also regularly appears on, and even guest hosts, a show on Glenn Beck's BlazeTV network.
Furthermore, Doyle also isn't the only far-right activist affiliated with white nationalism that Church Militant has helped elevate to a new audience. The outlet made waves in 2021 for hiring disgraced alt-right star Milo Yiannopoulos as a contributor. (Yiannopoulos in turn likely helped Church Militant score a major sit-down interview with Marjorie Taylor Greene this April, in which Greene declared that the existence of Catholic immigrant aid groups suggested that Satan was controlling the Catholic Church.) Last November, the outlet invited self-declared "groyper Mommy" Michelle Malkin to address its daylong protest rally outside the annual gathering of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, where Malkin invoked "replacement theory" rhetoric to charge that the church's hierarchy was using immigration to destroy "the historic American nation."
More recently, as Salon reported in a series this spring, Church Militant has made a number of efforts to align itself with and recruit members of the America First/groyper movement, at least one of whose members is also on the outlet's staff. Those efforts have included buying social media ads that use groyper imagery in appeals for "based straight Zoomer[s]" to join Church Militant's activist arm, Resistance, and "fight for authentic Catholicism."
In a video last February, Voris praised AFPAC III as the place "where all the youthful (read: future) energy is," predicting that, between Fuentes' AFPAC and the more mainstream Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), "Whoever wins this struggle will dictate the future of the [Republican] party and, to a large extent, the nation."
In May, the head of Church Militant's Resistance group interviewed groyper leader Dalton Clodfelter, promoting a groyper website as an exciting platform "for a lot of awesome younger conservatives." Clodfelter, who described the America First movement as "not like normie neocon conservatism" but rather actively "Christian nationalist" and dedicated to "spreading Christianity through our nation where it's lacking," in turn promoted a series of Resistance-organized anti-abortion protests to his followers on the social media site Telegram in the days after the leaked Supreme Court opinion that eventually overturned Roe v. Wade.
In the past week, as Right Wing Watch has reported, Clodfelter has declared that "every homosexual is a child molester; every child molester creates a gay"; called someone he was feuding with online a "fucking k*ke" and promoted a vision of America's future in which Christianity will become the official religion, pornography and LGBTQ people will be illegal and all schools will "promote what it means to be a Christian to the youth of America."
"I believe in a far-right authoritarian government," Clodfelter continued. "Once we take control, we will identify our enemies and we will stomp them into the dirt. They will not be able to return to power. We will rip them from their offices. We will rip them from their homes for being degenerate liars, degenerate, treasonous domestic terrorists, because that is what they are."
Back at Church Militant last week, viewers were ecstatic about the outlet hosting Doyle, calling him an "Absolutely based Catholic man," declaring the interview "in the top ten crossovers in modern Catholic history," and urging Church Militant, "Please have Nick Fuentes on" next.
from Kathryn Joyce on the far right