Milloy: The role of religion in the Ottawa protest

Of interest:

The end of the “freedom convoy” in Ottawa has already led to much soul searching — how could it have happened? One of the topics certain to be discussed is the role that the Christian faith played in the protest. There wer

The end of the “freedom convoy” in Ottawa has already led to much soul searching — how could it have happened?

One of the topics certain to be discussed is the role that the Christian faith played in the protest.

There were a lot of Christians up in Ottawa — you could see it in protest signs and hear it in media interviews. There were numerous accounts of prayer services and Christian preachers addressing the crowd and an American Christian crowdfunding website helped funnel money to the cause.

As a CBC report concluded: “Christian faith — with an overtly evangelical feel — flows like an undercurrent through the freedom convoy in Ottawa.”

The situation puts me in a bind. Although I watched the protests in horror, I also regularly write, teach and speak about the positive contribution that faith, particularly my Christian faith, can make to public discourse.

So, in response, let me offer several observations.

First, I can’t criticize someone for holding strong religious beliefs. As a person of faith, I recognize that it is part of their identity. People are frustrated and scared, and these are often the circumstances where you most often look to God.

The situation is also far from black and white. Governments have made their share of mistakes in dealing with the pandemic and are not above criticism. I tried to think about the protesters with compassion and take their views seriously.

Source: The role of religion in the Ottawa protest

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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