Bias Watch

Influential MAGA hate pastor uses social media to target LGBTQ+ kids & teachers

Pastor with a Bible in his hand during a sermon. The preacher delivers a speech
Photo: Shutterstock

Family members and associates of former President Donald Trump are increasingly associating with Tim Thompson, a Southern California pastor who bullies LGBTQ+ teachers, calls public education “Satan’s playground,” and is using his Inland Empire Family political action committee (PAC) to unite Christian conservatives against public education.

Thompson, who leads the 412 Church Temecula Valley, uses his influence to promote Christian conservative school board candidates, The Daily Beast reported. He also protests local schools that employ LGBTQ+ educators. In one case, he complained that a man “dressed as a woman” was teaching 5-year-olds.

Thompson has called the LGBTQ+ rights movement “a religion” that is trying to indoctrinate students. He said if parents love their kids, they should remove them from public schools and homeschool them instead. The Colorado Republican Party just literally said the same thing to its members.

He has used his Our Watch video streaming platform to host anti-LGBTQ+ conspiracy-theorist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and speak against “evil” in public schools online videos of people “sticking laser beams into their anus.”

In April, Thompson posted a video criticizing Riverside High School’s Pride Week activities, which included a drag performance, a scavenger hunt, and pronoun buttons. He encouraged viewers to call the school to complain — the school canceled the drag performance as a result.

“Who’s the pervert that’s allowing this to happen on campus?” Thompson asked in his video about the school’s Pride week. “Somebody had to approve this so somebody at that school district’s a pervert, and I want to know who it is. Let me remind you… Christian men do not allow perverts around children…. So if you’re there on campus, and you’re a man and you’re a Christian, you better do what a Christian man does.”

In another video, he complained about two trans middle school students who he accused of being “boys … dressing out in the girls locker room.” In May 2023, he publicly insulted high school drama teacher Greg Bailey — calling him a “perverted” “groomer” who should be fired — for assigning the 1991 AIDS epidemic play Angels in America as optional reading to students. Bailey was placed on a three-month leave after the ensuing local uproar that ensued.

In 2022, Thompson named and showed a photo of a Murrieta Elementary School teacher and her wife after the teacher started a “unity club” at her students’ request to help bullied kids feel welcome. Thompson also shared the teacher’s TikTok video telling people not to assume that nonbinary kids are confused.

“She is a danger to society,” Thompson told followers. “She is purely a groomer and that kind of stuff has no place in a government-ran school.”

“He claimed I was teaching LGBTQ issues but I wasn’t,” the teacher told The Daily Beast. “I simply had a classroom where students were free to be themselves without fear of discrimination. I tried to be myself. I have family pictures up and I have two kids that attend the school I teach at so people knew my kids had two moms and connected the dots about me being queer.”

The club only met thrice before the school shut it down due to Thompson’s complaints. The district later placed the teacher under investigation.

“Starting that day I started getting very aggressive threats online,” the teacher said. “He had found my TikTok where I just talk about providing inclusive safe spaces for kiddos and for queer teachers. So he encouraged all of his followers to find me there. People were saying I should be stoned. Someone on Instagram shared they knew what town I lived in and they said they should camp outside my house. It got very crazy very quickly.”

Additionally, Thompson once visited Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort to attend a gala for the anti-LGBTQ+ young conservative group Turning Point USA. In 2020, he also attended a “Freedom Rally” against government-issued public lockdowns — there, he wore the insignia of the Three Percenter anti-government militia.

In March, he encouraged conservatives to run for local school boards, saying, “We’ve seen Satan creep in, strip away the rights of parents and try to indoctrinate children into filth.” His PAC helped establish a new right-leaning majority in the Temecula Valley Unified School District in 2022.

Immediately after the three candidates he supported gained seats on the panel, they passed a policy requiring teachers to “out” transgender students to their potentially supportive parents and rejected a social studies book because its supplemental teacher’s guide mentioned gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

“He believes he’s doing the Lord’s work, and as we know he’s not,” queer-affirming pastor Rachel Dennis told the aforementioned publication. “He’s destroying people in our town.”

“He’s on a big power trip,” Dennis added, saying that she too has been targeted by him for her LGBTQ+ inclusivity. “Obviouslym, Eric Trump and the MAGA crew have realized that Tim is an extremist and will push their extreme agenda.”

He has welcomed Trump attorney Alina Habba to speak onstage with him and will host a fundraiser for his PAC this week that will feature Eric Trump and former Trump administration official Kash Patel.

Thompson has said “The Trump family is very well aware of what we have going on here in the Inland Empire … very well aware.”

Maddy Ziegler, a staff attorney with the nonprofit Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) complained about Thompson to the IRS after he told his church members to support the 2021 recall California Gov. Gavin Newson (D) in 2021 and endorsed the GOP U.S. Senate candidate Steve Garvey in 2024.

“Thompson has crossed the line into illegal partisan campaigning,” Ziegler told The Daily Beast. “Nonprofit organizations, including churches, cannot support or oppose candidates for office.”

Acknowledging the complaints, Thompson said on his talk radio show, “‘Hey, we know you’re listening, IRS, come and take it,’ and they never do.”

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