Reviving the Violet Flame: The New Age conspiratorial journey of Canada’s Queen Romana Didulo

Studies in Religion has published my latest article on the self-proclaimed Queen of Canada, Romana Didulo. While much has been written about Didulo and her movement, her conspiracy theories, and anti-government approach, together with Dr. Amarnath Amarasingam, I examine the core of this movement and its religious pedigree, linking it to the Theosophical movement from the 1930s and 1940s.

Read the full article here.

Veltman Trial Continues with an Explosive Video Confession

Nathanial Veltman’s video confession was played in a Windsor court today, a shocking revelation of conspiracy, hate speech, and violence. Veltman revealed that he believed the social media posts of those spreading hate, that Muslims were abusing and grooming young women in Europe, his anger and hate rose from these images and he wanted to attack in response. His act of running over a family in London, Ontario was the result of these images and ensuing beliefs. Tonight I spoke to Global News about this issue and its impact.

Convoy Trial – Social Media

The trials for Freedom Convoy Leaders Tamara Lich and Chris Barber has seen a large amount of social media as evidence presented in the courtroom. Social media, both mainstream and alternative, was a significant component to the social mobilization of protesters and funders. While the evidence being shown focuses on the two leaders attempting to convince protesters to remain in Ottawa, after the police and Emergency Act called for them to leave, the posts from those leading the protest were also laden with conspiracies and disinformation.

Christianity and the Great Replacement Conspiracy Theory

The great replacement conspiracy theory holds that white people are being replaced in “Western Civilization” through immigration policies. Christianity will be destroyed and believers persecuted for their faith. In the August edition of Sojourner Magazine I have written a piece explaining the history and the impact of the conspiracy theory and how Christianity is intertwined.

Parliament of World Religions

A few years ago I was digging around in a pile of books for sale at the University of Toronto and I found a treasure. In my hands I had an original copy of the proceedings from the first Parliament of World Religions, that was tattered and worn, but it was soon to be all mine. I posted endless pictures of the book’s pages on my social media and it soon took a place of prestige on my bookshelf.

Fast forward a few years and I was shocked and honoured to be invited as a panelist for the 2023 Parliament of World Religions being held in Chicago. I will be joining experts in the field of religion and extremism to discuss the “Rise of White Christian Nationalism: Threats to US Democracy.” The rise in Christian nationalism across the globe is something society as whole needs to be cognizant of and respond to. There are numerous panels and conversations which address the role of religion in society, polarization, fears and hopes at this year’s Parliament, which is being made held in a hybrid format.

Hate Influencers on Telegram

Working with the team at the Disinformation Project at Simon Fraser University we researched the role of influencers within hate groups on the social media platform Telegram. Social media influencers (SMI) play a significant role in the spreading of hate ideology on platforms, recruiting new members, and organizing political social movements offline, in eruptions such as the events on January 6th on Capitol Hill or the Freedom Convoys in Canada. Research on SMI’s impact on conspiracy theories, social movements, and the spreading of hate is a relatively new field of research, and this work plays an important role in our understanding of the social capital power these individuals can have.

15 Minute Cities and the Spectre of Control

The concept of 15 minute cities is an urban planning idea to make where we live more walkable. Having stores, entertainment, and all our needs met within a walkable range of our homes, to eliminate car use, and engage in activities and with each other. Conspiracy theorists have linked this idea to the Great Reset, QAnon, and the social credit system believing that this is the latest form of control by elitist cabals trying to enslave us all, and begin the New World Order. The ramifications of this idea, in an offline setting, are becoming apparent as social movements in online communities, come forth and voice their concerns at local municipal meetings, as we recently saw in Essex, near Windsor, Canada.

COVID and Communication Issues

During the pandemic, and even currently, there are many hurdles to be faced with communication. What is the truth? Who are those we can trust. These issues continue to flourish as Chat GPT creates havoc with the line between real and computer generated faux reality. The Association for Canadian Studies invited scholars and policy makers to address this issue specifically with the pandemic, for their journal Canadian Diversity. My article looks at the way that conspiracy and extremism became prevalent in anti-mandate groups online.