One person who won’t be happy with the release of Marci McDonald’s The Armageddon Factor is youth evangelist and activist Faytene Kryskow. Before Faytene unplugs her phone and takes the bus out of town, I would like to make a quick note about some of how she is treated in the book. She gets mentioned on 38 pages—about a tenth of the book—and also has most of a chapter to herself.
“Gosh, thanks”, Faytene might think, as she is one of McDonald’s bête noires.
As readers might guess, Kryskow is a person whom I would admit that McDonald would have a valid reason to be apprehensive about. But there’s more. In McDonald’s mind, not only is The CRY a perhaps aberrant youth event, Kryskow might even be a main ideological spokesman for the “Christian nationalist” movement that the author fears.
McDonald writes (page 15):
“But The CRY is not merely another pro-life rally attempting to storm Parliament Hill. Its agenda is much broader and far more radical; Nothing less than restructuring Canada as a devoutly Christian nation government by Biblical literalists according to principles selectively plucked from the Old and New Testaments. That theocratic vision provides the underpinnings for a new Christian nationalist movement emerging in the capital, where Kryskow has become its most public face, the winsome front for a handful of militant evangelical groups determined to infiltrate the political system and, as she puts it, “reclaim Canada for Christ”
McDonald also goes on to note the informal ties between Faytene Kryskow and other dominionist-minded people in the U.S., as I did when writing about The CRY Vancouver last year. She also notes, as I did, how Kryskow’s closest political friends all seem to be Tories.
You may also recall that I speculated at the time that if Kryskow wasn’t as theocratic as she makes herself seem that she needed to work at publicly changing and recanting some of the more extreme things that she has said. I also wondered whether it was wise for the church to stand aside and let her be the only or main voice of passionate Christian youth in the country.
I would have hated to have Faytene learn and grow out of her dominionist ideas at the hands of the secular media, but now, thanks to McDonald, this might start to happen. McDonald briefly quotes where Faytene has written about “taking over”, which might lead some reporters to go “Whaaaa?” The fox is afoot and the hounds may start to bark.
I am sure that there are many in Ottawa and elsewhere who are happy that Kryskow is a witness for conservative Christian values in the public sphere. But they would be aghast with her dominionist ideas. Well, thanks to the new book, it may be getting too late for them to make a distinction to the effect of “This, we love about Faytene, but this…well…” McDonald, looking for a public face to represent all the diverse elements of the Christian Right, believes she has found one.
Most of Chapter 5 is devoted to a profile of Kryskow and brief explanations of some things she has done and believes. She has a critical eye. She notes that she was refused permission to attend one of Faytene’s events and that Kryskow even snatched back some CDs of hers that McDonald had bought from her book table. “I don’t want you to have those,” Faytene reportedly said, refunding her money.
She has managed to come across a couple of very interesting things about Kryskow.
I was unaware that Kryskow was reportedly healed through a prayer by my favorite evangelist Todd Bentley. (Best not to play that up, Faytene!)
Also McDonald records how she teaches her young followers to lobby MPs about issues that she, and presumably they, should be concerned about.
“On 4MYCanada.ca, ablaze with hyper-patriotic graphics and red maple leaves,” writes McDonald, “she leaves no room for misguided civic passion or error: she lists ‘bills we are watching’, and lays out the desired response step by step, even providing printable postcards and petition forms.”
As a former journalist and present blogger, I would be more than happy to have people share their views with the public and their politicians. However, its rightly frowned on when an avalanche of canned, prewritten responses flow hither and yon and people don’t take the time to formulate their own thoughts in their own way.
No doubt McDonald was thinking that in addition to encouraging young conservatives to get involved, they should also be encouraged not to be parrots (“Polly want Bill C-350, Waaaack! *whistles*” :) ). Is there a reason why the youth need not think through what they believe, and then send in the mail?
If I even think this is not a good thing, I’ m certain that McDonald would not either, if I follow her logic.