Yep, still blocked. Our Instagram account made one too many (read: maybe a couple dozen by now) posts about Pastor Landon Schott’s charismatic church run by Realtors who coerce congregants to “expand territory” by buying property they can’t afford through one of Mercy Culture’s elders. Uh, grift much?
No publication has taken a deeper dive into the inner workings of this growing and dangerous church than yours truly, and we do it not just from a sense of journalistic duty but a sincere concern that Schott and his QAnon-quoting quacks represent a clear and present danger to democracy and human decency. Our reporters have spoken to current and former church members; human trafficking victims who allege emotional and spiritual abuse by Mercy Culture elders and pastors; area residents frankly terrified that a law enforcement raid on the compound is likely if not inevitable; and students at nearby Mercy Prep who allege child abuse is condoned by school administrators.
Yet no matter how many victims flee Mercy Culture to recount horror stories from within the Northside compound, its plague continues to spread like gay-bashing locusts across Fort Worth. The newest Mercy Culture installment is possibly its most troubling yet.
Candidate University is one of Mercy Culture’s “housed visions” that openly invites political candidates to “stand for righteousness,” which, based on Schott’s Instagram stories that are regularly #ScreenSchotted by our loyal readers, means they stand for anything Fox Nation’s red-faced pundits spew to other presumably red-faced viewers who tremble at the idea that love could somehow be defined outside the straight, white, evangelical paradigm.
The $100 eight-week course is dedicated to “raising up Godly activists, campaign team members, and candidates,” based on one Instagram post from Candidate University organizers. “The time is now to mobilize the church with truth in the face of cancel culture by equipping them with training and strategy to fight for righteousness in government. This is how we wake up our city.”
Fort Worth has already woken up to the dangers posed by Mercy Culture’s toxic blend of far-right bigotry and convoluted misinterpretations of Christianity. The cancel culture quip is pretty hilarious given Schott’s thin-skinned reputation for blocking anyone who posts a snarky comment to his Instagram stories or his posts.
That’s something Schott and Republican county judge Tim O’Hare share in common — intolerance of anything resembling criticism. Missing from O’Hare’s candidate Facebook page are negative comments. He must be perfect.
By the time this paper hits stands across Tarrant County, the race between Democrat county judge candidate Deborah Peoples and CRT conspiracy loving O’Hare will likely have been settled. Despite federal laws that ban churches from endorsing candidates, O’Hare has attended Mercy Culture church services where Schott openly called on congregants to vote for him.
Last month, O’Hare, this time joined by Republican DA candidate Phil Sorrells, attended a Mercy Culture sermon in which Schott blasted anyone who didn’t buy into his warped trans-bashing, conspiracy-loving worldview as wicked.
“But the moment you start stepping outside the four walls of the church and expanding territory, and taking back territory, wicked people don’t like it,” Schott said.
The list of local Republicans in bed with the Christian Nationalism movement is shocking but not surprising. Disgraced outgoing DA Sharen Wilson endorsed O’Hare early this year, even as the Southlaker openly spewed baseless lies about his Republican primary opponent at the time. Betsy Price, based on O’Hare’s bullshit press releases, is a riot-loving Marxist. The idea that a pathological liar like O’Hare could become the county’s highest elected official is terrifying and a damning reflection of how Cult 45 has brainwashed much of this country into believing the Big Lie, that largely peaceful protests somehow equal riots, and that transgender kids are a threat to anyone.
There is little that can be said to be merciful or Christian about Mercy Culture Church and its growing movement to push their Fox Nation views on Fort Worthians under the guise of faith. Any future with Candidate University graduates in power would be dark. Based on our extensive conversations with former church members and Schott’s public statements, Catholics are not Christians in the eyes of Mercy Culture leaders. Neither are Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, or any other denomination. The only true Christians, according to Schott, are fellow nondenominational charismatic churchgoers who believe God gives certain disciples superpowers.
Schott believes he has supernatural powers. His visions somehow predict “housed visions” that position Mercy Culture Church to gain more power and more money. Because, ya know, Jesus was all about the grift.
This column reflects the opinions of the editorial board and not the Fort Worth Weekly. To submit a column, please email Editor Anthony Mariani at Anthony@FWWeekly.com. He will gently edit it for factuality, clarity, and concision.