"There does come a time when force, even physical force, is appropriate. The Christian is not to take the law into his own hands and become a law unto himself. But when all avenues to flight and protest have closed, force in the defensive posture is appropriate ... The state must be made to feel the presence of the Christian community." Francis Schaeffer (1)Faytene Kryskow Grasseschi has become one of the most prominent figures in Canada's Religious Right movement.
Her organization 4MYCanada, referred to simply as My Canada, hosts events called TheCry. Hours of emotional prayers, begging God's mercy for the horrible country that Canada has become.
Infanticide, sexual promiscuity, human trafficking. We're all going to hell in a hand basket.
I don't mean to mock, because she seems sincere in her beliefs, but what I find reprehensible, is the indoctrination of youth. Her bubbly personality and good looks are a definite draw.
I watched an interview of Kryskow (now married to Robert Grasseschi) with David Mainse on God TV, and it would appear that they are certainly trying to exploit her attributes. Mainse even requested that she do a pirouette for his viewers, and likened one of her TheCry gatherings to Woodstock (held on the anniversary).
She gets nothing near the 500,000 that the music festival did 40 years ago, but does draw in about 1,000, perhaps more.
Kryskow-Grasseschi is a regular figure on Parliament Hill, with coveted access to the Harper government. MP Rod Bruinooge is a regular at the TheCry events and often appears on stage with the little spitfire.
Conservative MP Ed Komarnicki promotes her organization on his website, sharing pics, including one with controversial senator David Tkachuk.
His colleague, Bev Shipley also makes the trek from his riding to cry with Kryskow in Ottawa. A fellow dominionist, on Canada Day 2009, he handed out bookmarks to his constituents (paid for by taxpayers?) urging them to pray for "godly" leaders who would govern "according to the Scriptural Foundation upon which our country was founded." (2)
However, the best endorsement came from the big guy himself. Not God, but the man who sees himself as such: Stephen Harper. When Faytene was on the Hill, whipping her disciples into a frenzy, he had a personal letter delivered to her, which she read to the crowd.
In it, Harper lauds her youth movement for cultivating "thoughtful, faith-filled citizens" and praises its political activism. "Faith has shaped your perspective on the world and strengthened your resolve to make a political difference," he writes, signing off with a beneficent "God Bless."His coziness with the American Religious Right was already well documented.
What makes the letter noteworthy is that it arrived, unsolicited, from a politician who had spent years scrupulously avoiding any suggestion of coziness with the country's Christian right. (2)
Jesus Camp and Lou Engle
David Mainse, when introducing Faytene Kryskow, compared her to both Esther and Deborah, from the Old Testament. Women warriors, though he didn't qualify his comparisons, because he didn't need to. His audience knew.
Esther was a young Jewish girl in the harem of the Persian King Ahasuerus, who is credited with saving her people from annihilation. Deborah, a prophetess, warrior and judge in ancient Israel.
However, Faytene prefers to think of herself as Joan of Ark, on the front lines of battle, who is spoken to by God.
But it is another voice that directs her actions, and one that we should be listening to. That of Lou Engle, a charismatic preacher in the United States, also seeking "dominion" over all, and replacing the constitution with the Old Testament.
In 2006, the critically acclaimed documentary, 'Jesus Camp', caused an uproar, as it revealed the Christian Right's indoctrination of children. I watched it in its entirety and wept, wondering why child protective services didn't intervene.
At the camp, which was run by pastor Becky Fischer, children are told to purify themselves in order to be part of the "army of God". Fischer strongly believes that children need to be at the forefront of turning America toward conservative Christian values, and that "Christians need to focus on training kids since "the enemy" (Islam) is focused on training theirs." She tells the children that Harry Potter is the devil and that had he existed in biblical times he "would have been put to death". They also pay homage to George Bush. You can watch the trailer here, and follow the link for the entire documentary.
Fischer has closed down the camp, and now runs the group: Kids in Ministry International.
A regular speaker at the camp was Lou Engle, who created the trademark red tape across the mouth with the word 'Life'; a feature at Krystows TheCry. (He even co-authored a book on the subject)
Krystow's rallies are taken directly from Engle's TheCall. Her American mentor refers to Faytene as "his daughter" and has often made appearances with her, both live and by video stream.
In 2009 he put a call out to his American disciples to "Invade Canada for God", no doubt hoping to bolster her numbers.
Engle has also praised Uganda for its tough laws against homosexuality.
Both TheCry and TheCall are heavy on military terms, believing themselves to actually be the Army of God.
So does this mean that I expect Krystow-Grasseschire to strap on a gun and go on a shooting rampage?
Of course not.
However, her branch of Engle's movement can be dangerous just the same.
While most "born again" Christians are enlightened and change their lives around for the better, many simply use religion as a drug of choice. Worse still, others are mentally ill and already vulnerable, so easily led to do unspeakable acts.
Like Scott Roeder, who murdered abortion doctor George Tiller. He was bi-polar and off his meds.
Or a more militant Army of God, who quote from Engle's The Doctrine of the Shedding of Innocent Blood, and view Roeder, and others like him, as heroes.
We need to have this conversation in this country.
These fringe groups have been around for years, but this is the first time that they have been allowed to dictate government policy. And they are just getting started.
Marci McDonald writes of how the U.S. media was oblivious to the threat, until it was too late, and it had destroyed U.S. politics.
When she appeared on Steve Paikin's program on TVOntario, Paikin dismissed her by suggesting that since it took 30 years for the American Right to do their damage, we had another thirty years before "late-term" abortion would be made illegal.
He was always a little right-wing, but I didn't peg him as being so naive. We don't need thirty years. The American Christian Right has not only inspired but financed the Canadian movement. It is on our doorstep and another TheCry is currently underway on Parliament Hill.
Says McDonald, when she was first asked to write a book on the rise of the Christian Right in Canada, a friend asked "Why would you want to do that? Surely you don't think that can happen here? This is a profoundly different country than the United States."
All I can say is that it used to be.
The media needs to start tracking this before it becomes our epitaph. "Here lies Canada. May she rest in peace."
1. A Christian Manifesto, By Francis Schaeffer, Crossway Books, 1981, ISBN: 0-89107-233-0, Chapter 9: 'The Use of Force'
2. The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada, By: Marci McDonald, Random House Canada, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-307-35646-8 3, P. 16-17