Would I Have Joined The Convoy in 2022?
Originally posted on February 7th, 2023
I just picked up Bradley Onishi's book Prepare for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism and What Comes Next. It forced me to face my own past of extreme Christian Nationalism where I put my own alt-right rap songs on blast at a high school dance and was kicked out of high school because kids complained. This event set me on a journey of going deeper into movements like The New Apostolic Reformation and The Prosperity Gospel which eventually resulted in me recently becoming an agnostic with Religious Trauma Syndrome. After the Freedom Convoy occupied Ottawa, I gave up my long-term goal of becoming a Christian thought leader and am now pursuing a career in full stack web development.
I would have been in Ottawa last year if I was still attending church in 2020. I would have resisted the Liberal government's "agenda" to protect its citizens in Canada. I understood back then how important it was that Christians gather together in person. I understood that if I only listened to sermons online, I would have had no chance to ask the pastor questions about what he said. If Christians didn't gather together, conservatism would have been weakened. If there were no in-person Bible studies, there would be comfort but it would be an artificial connection that in reality only contains zeroes and ones. And if Christians were to attend in-person with masks over their faces, how can people recognize the second family they are close to? Virus or not, this form of community is not normal and would never be accepted as a new normal.
Unfortunately, what I also learned was why churches needed to stay open. According to one pastor with a huge online following, if Christians aren't being directly given spiritual resources from the alt-right or conservative perspectives (he hinted but didn't say the direct sources out loud), Christians will become lukewarm, reject "family values," lose their faith, or at worst, turn to other forms of Christianity outside of evangelicalism such as *gasp* "Progressive Christianity." Turns out they were right. During 2020, I somehow found myself listened to podcasts like The Bible for Normal People, dumping that one for Straight White American Jesus, Heaven Bent by Tara Jean Stevens, and turned to alternative news sources like Canadaland and Tech Won't Save Us. But back then, I was stuck in my bubble 21 years ago.
I had a history where I didn't know who or what I was really listening to. My parents literally kept our internet connection to a dial-up speed so that my sister and I wouldn't consume a lot of secular information. Back in 2002, the internet didn't have much information on the long-term effects of Christian indoctrination. I didn't have the resources to figure out that when I tried to blast my alt-right "Christian rap" music at a high school dance, it was a form of Christian nationalism and that wasn't tolerated in school. I didn't know that I was making marginalized classmates feel uncomfortable or that kids actually were wondering what my lyrics were all about.
What would have happened if I kept up my zeal for a pure version of Winnipeg or my high school? Would that zeal have compelled me to spread misinformation about vaccines causing my own neurology? Would my "fire for God" have lead me to grab a picket sign and protest in front of parliament so I could see my church family again? Would I have spent 5000 hours rapping about a "Plan-demic" or ranting about what the World Health Organization, Dr. Faucci, or Pfizer is doing in the medical field? If my past-friends didn't put Donald Trump on such a high pedestal but still kept posting pro-evangelical messages in code without saying the quiet parts out loud, I probably would have gotten in legal trouble in Ottawa. In an alternate universe, I would have seen myself as a martyr, but this is reality. And in reality, I'm here to resist.