As the “freedom convoy” slowly but surely winds down—with police forces and the RCMP moving in to cordon off the center of the city, arresting leaders of the insurrection and preventing new people from joining—journalists and scholars are looking through the copious videos, images, texts, and online chats to uncover the ideologies that motivated the disparate groups that invaded the capital of Canada three weeks ago. The presence of multiple known Canadian far right figures organizing it—several of whom have been arrested this week—isn’t surprising, nor is the organization of a Canadian Jericho March around Parliament. What is surprising are the wide range of diverse, strange, and dangerous ideological—and theological—ideas about the “convoy” in the donor comments from the GiveSendGo leak.
Amidst the big names pushing the Ottawa insurrection internationally—the QAnon-linked Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, right wing pundits Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino, preacher Franklin Graham, and the like—we have a surprising array of comments from people in Canada, the US, Australia, Great Britain, France, and elsewhere who monetarily supported the occupation. After GoFundMe cut off donations to the so-called “Freedom Convoy,” the majority of donations were sent through GiveSendGo, the Christian crowdfunding website noted for being a platform used by extremist groups in the US.
The website for GiveSendGo was then hacked and the donation files were released and made available to journalists and researchers, some of whom are slowly but surely investigating. Out of the vast list, there are comments from donors around the world echoing the rhetoric of Jericho Marches and religious violence and spiritual warfare, alongside more standard comments.
What follows is not a quantitative study—one hopes that journalists and social scientists working on far right groups are engaging in large-scale work using NVivo and other software to provide us with quantifiable data on gender dynamics, countries of origin, and other such metrics. The excel file, the basic list form, has over 92,000 lines of entries.
This isn’t a scientific study, and it’s not an exercise in “nutpicking,” but it does demonstrate the presence of a consistent element at the convoy; it clearly shows that religious ideologies are scattered throughout the comment lines, with persistent elements we’ve seen magnified in speeches, in imagery, in participants and organizations in the past.
Just over 14% of the convoy donations for example, in the comment box, have the word God in them. That is 13,211 cells, and that is a single keyword search, and a limited one.
An even 100 contain two of the most prominent and easily searchable QAnon slogans, with 87 using WWG1WGA, and 13 spelling out Where We Go One We Go All. One of the more explicit of these comments, from southern Florida, reads:
God Bless the WORRIORS rising up against Tyranny and Corruption in their GREAT HOMELAND of CANADA. YOU ARE LEADING THE CHARGE!!! You are giving HOPE and INSPIRATION to MANY other WORRIORS in the WORLD to follow. We pray for you and your families SUCESS for failure means END of FREEDOM for us ALL. WWG1WGA!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!”
The mix of religious violence, the idea of a unified worldwide struggle, and the QAnon slogan are, of course, the bedrock of QAnon eschatological identity. At least one Canadian donor from British Columbia uses “the Storm” in what is clearly the QAnon context:
“The Storm is upon us, it’s going to be biblical. Keep the faith, take courage. Love never fails.”
Another 25 of the comments mention “The Great Awakening,” almost assuredly referring to the QAnon event. Given QAnon’s spread abroad, and the interest taken by Canada’s QAnon branches in the Ottawa occupation and other “Convoys”—especially the self-proclaimed “Queen of Canada,” Romana Didulo, who brought her own convoy before attacking it on social media—it’s unsurprising to find them in the donor comments.
Some of the comments mention Trump, who has promoted the occupation and attacked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau among others. And unsurprisingly, those comments contain violent rhetoric. One donor from Williamsburg, Virginia, writes (at times cryptically);
“Trump won. F Hide Biden! F TruDope! All dictators & Traitors will get what they deserve. Praise the Lord.”
Most of the others are some variation on “Trump won” or “Trump 2024,” but the inclusion of Trump is a fairly clear indication that those donors are uninterested in the Canadian context—to them, this is merely an extension of the American conflict abroad.
Only 7 mention the Book of Revelation by name; 4 mention the Book of Daniel; and 24 mention the Book of Joshua, with several of those explicitly mentioning Jericho—though if you search for “trumpet” instead of “Joshua,” it adds another 6 biblical references, mixed between Isaiah, Revelation and Joshua 6. For example, a donor from Oregon writes:
“You’re our Joshua that marched around Jericho 7 times and they blew the trumpets and the walls came down. If God is with us, who can be against us. God be with you all!”
While another from Ontario writes,
“Thank you truckers for your compassion, love, courage and tenacity. I, along with many of my friends, greatly appreciate what you are doing for humanity worldwide……and the ‘walls of parliament came tumbling down’ – just like the biblical story of Jericho. It is time as prophesied, for the old to end and the new earth, the new way with freedom to begin. God Bless you all!”
And referencing their tools a donor from southern Michigan says:
“God bless and protect you. The walls of Jericho will crumble. Keep blowing your modern-day shofars!”
Yet another, from Simi Valley, California, transports it from Jericho into Revelation, writing, “Those aren’t horns, they’re trumpets. Just didn’t know about trucks, motors & horns when Revelations was written,” an interesting and disturbing apocalyptic spin. She isn’t the only commenter to believe this—a donor from Lubbock, Texas, tried to coordinate apocalyptic ideas via the donor comments, writing:
“someone mentioned that the Truckers’ horns sounds like the shofar. Tell truckers to coordinate by CB radio to blast Teruah all at the same time. The sounds of the shofar: Tekiah, a long blast. Shevarim, three long sounds. Teruah, nine staccato blasts. The shofar blower must [blow] three sets, three times. Finally there is tekiah gedolah: a very long blast. Teruah [is] Hebrew [for] shout or blast of war.”
The Christian right’s interest in shofars taken to it’s strangest conclusion.
Numerous others focus on the sacral element of what the convoy is doing. One comment, from southeast New York despite the text, reads,
“YOU GUYS GOT OUR BACK! I WISH I COULD SEND A HUNDRED! HANG IN THERE YOU CRUSADERS FOR FREEDOM AND STRIKE BACK AT THIS EVIL FORCE WHICH TREATS US LIKE PEASANTS WHO HAVE NO SAY IN OUR OWN AFFAIRS. I WILL GIVE MORE NEXT WEEK, I PROMISE. MAY GOD BE BESIDE YOU AS YOU STAND FOR EVERY CITIZEN OF THIS PLANET, ESPECIALLY ALSO FOR 1ST WORLD AUSTRALIA, SHARING IN YOUR OPPRESSION SO MUCH, -AND EVEN MORE SO!”
The reference to crusaders, to striking evil forces, is very close to an active call for violence. Another, from Iowa City, Iowa, writes, “As Archbishop Vigano has confirmed, this crusade by the Canadian Truckers is the spearhead of God on earth to bring down the Deep State evil. The truckers are St Michael incarnate. Strength and Honor,” likewise straddling the line between spiritual and physical warfare.
But another, who didn’t mention him by name, went straight into Vigano’s Klaus Schwab-conspiracy, writing:
“The 0.0001% globalist politician/bankster parasites have double their net assets during the criminal planned SCAMDEMIC and Robbed our GOD- GIVEN Human Rights. NO MORE GLOBALIST CRIMES!! BRAVE TRUCKERS: THANK YOU – CANADA IS SUPPORTING YOU!!! 18 Wheels will flatten the parasite politician/bankster/globalists, starting with that coward Turdeau, Klaus Schwab’s little puppet. TRUCK OFF TURDEAU!!!”
This is an active call to violence, and the language—globalists, “bankster”—is an aggressive anti-Semitic dogwhistle. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the calls for violence, there are 5 mentions of the Antichrist scattered throughout, 41 mentions of Satan, and numerous other references to “evil forces” or “devil” or “Demonic.”
Finally, also present in the comments, is a strong focus on the language of spiritual warfare, with one donor from California writing:
“God, Please bless all of our white hats & patriots with your spiritual armor and spiritual sword to strike down all those evil doers and expose the truth to all the sleepers. Please lift the scales off the eyes of all the sleepers God.”
While one from Ontario adds,
“This movement is anointed. No weapon formed against it will prosper. Thank you truckers! This is the first time in almost 2 years I’ve felt hopeful. Enough is enough! What’s been going on is UNJUST! God bless you all!”
And a donor from Voisins-les-Bretonneux in France actually gave twice with prayers to the Archangel Michael, who was mentioned in an early Qdrop and has been used on the fringes of QAnon before—the first time, saying:
“We are praying daily for you to St Michel the Archangel – St Michel, we implore thee, please shield the convoy from all ills, and blind the demons operating within the Canadian government so that they know not how and where to attack and disrupt this convoy and event.”
And the second time writing:
“Praying that St Michel the Archangel watch over the Freedom Convoy, and blind the demons attacking it, neutralizing any of their attempts to harm the Convoy or detract from the Convoy’s just objectives. St Michel, intercede for the Convoy, in Jesus’s name.”
The language of spiritual warfare, both in the donations and during the Jericho March, shouldn’t be surprising—it’s repeatedly been deployed by Christian nationalist groups before, in service of Trump and elsewhere.
These are snapshots into a much, much, much broader field of commentary. There are literally thousands upon thousands of comments in this single donor file engaging in a range of theologies and ideological commentaries, in service of funding an insurrection in Canada.
However sparse these particular examples may be, I hope that researchers will invest the time to dig into the religious narratives being sent, alongside money, to the siege of Ottawa—because even as the mob is cleared, and the organizers arrested, the ideas will live on, and very few if any of the donors’ minds will be changed.