The Cry, young conservatives and end times

By Dennis Gruending

cry_200.jpgTwo summers ago a young friend of mine encountered a youth rally one day while working near Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa. The event was called The Cry and its speakers denounced contemporary Canada but supported the government of Israel. Faytene Kryskow, one of the organizers, later told an evangelical publication, “There was a sense that it is time for the socially conservative youth of Canada to rise up.” The Cry is coming back to Ottawa on August 23, with similar events planned for Toronto, Iqaluit and St. John’s this fall and winter.

Organizers are predicting that the Ottawa event will “likely be the largest non-government event at the Canadian Parliament in recent history.” That’s a stretch — they claimed attendance for rallies in 2002 and 2006 that seemed inflated. Yet several thousand young people may well gather for what has been described as “an intense time of prayer, worship and preaching.”

Kryskow, who is described on The Cry’s website as its “visionary director”, is in her early 30s. On her personal website, Kryskow describes herself as an “itinerant minister” and speaker. She will, for example, participate in October 2008 at the All Nations Convocation in Jerusalem, organized by Watchmen for the Nations, a Christian right and pro-Israel group based in the U.S. and Canada. Kryskow also leads a conservative Christian youth group called 4 My Canada, which has purchased a six-bedroom house not far from Parliament Hill to serve as its “discipleship centre”.

Kryskow’s invitation to The Cry in Ottawa paints a bleak picture of Canadian society – “gross moral decay, family breakdown, immorality, perversion, abortion, the highest suicide rates in Canadian history and general cultural demise.” She blames it all on the “the sexual revolution, the new age movement, secular humanism . . . and the women’s movement which has transformed into the modern day pro-choice movement.” These groups, she says, “have sunk their ideological claws into a generation and have produced a mass of social wreckage and a trail of shattered lives.”

But Kryskow says there is a new movement afoot. “In this end-time hour a radical generation is being raised up by Holy Spirit with a revelation of the power of mass prayer and fasting,” she writes. A “tribe of believing radicals” has succeeded in turning the tide. This tribe, it would appear, has convinced the Harper government to become its vehicle of virtue. Kryskow writes, “We now have a government that has been advancing the cause of righteousness and justice on many fronts and a generation that is catching a vision, from sea to sea, to influence every realm of society.”

The Ottawa event promises to be a combination of prayer rally and fast, a march, a concert and an action where participants tape shut their mouths in symbolic solidarity with foetuses. There will be “abandon worship and fervent prayer”– which is a descriptor for charismatic and emotional worship. There will be a prayer for peace “with a leader from Israel” and special visits from as yet unidentified members of Parliament. The Cry says that the Ottawa event and those in other centres will cost $300,000 and asks for donations, which it says are tax receiptable. That means that either The Cry, or another organization assisting in the event is registered as a charitable organization.

The Cry was inspired by an American youth initiative named The Call, which describes itself as yet another “divinely initiated” prayer group. The Call grew out of large rally in Washington, D.C. in 1997 organized by the Promise Keepers, a Christian right men’s group. A man named Lou Engle claims that following that gathering he had “a God-given dream” to organize a corresponding youth movement. Conservative Christian youth rallied in Washington D.C. in September 2000 and the movement spread from there, including to Canada.

Existing Christian right organizations in Canada have also begun to nurture a youth corps in this country. Kryskow writes that in 2002 “the Lord moved upon the hearts of a cluster of national leaders to raise up a movement of young people in Canada that would petition heaven for His mercy and favour on Canada.” Speakers at the The Cry’s 2006 event included David Demian, head of Watchmen for the Nations, and Rob and Fran Parker from the National House of Prayer (NHOP). The NHOP has used its website to promote The Cry and the organization is opening its doors to host 35 high-school aged youth who will help with last minute preparations for the Ottawa event. Kryskow has also received attention from an array of Christian right media, including the television channel 100 Huntley Street, The Miracle Channel, and Christian Week, a publication that is distributed in many churches.

What is one to make of this growing network of prayer and intercessory organizations, including youth groups? They exist within a fundamentalist and charismatic movement known for its emotional and enthusiastic forms of worship, including speaking in tongues, holy laughter, and a belief in powers of prophecy and healing.

They are Christian reconstructionists who believe that “God governs” and that government and all of society must submit to the Bible’s moral principles. There is no place in this movement for compromise on issues or for ecumenism. A good part of the ardour arises from a millenarian belief that we are approaching end-times, when Christ will return to reward the righteous and punish sinners. Many believe that the return of Jews to Israel and establishing an Israeli state in 1948 was the fulfilment of a Biblical prophecy, and a foreshadowing of the second coming. That explains the unyielding support for Israel.

Many in Canadian prayer and intercessory groups are also following their American counterparts down a republican path. For the past 30 years in the U.S. white evangelical Christians have been the Republican party’s single most reliable community of support, and they remain so despite the unpopularity of the Bush administration. In Canada, the Christian right provides support and succour to the Harper Conservatives, a strategy that is displayed blatantly by organizers of The Cry.

Fortunately, Canada remains a secular democracy where the ideas of fundamentalists, millenarians and reconstructionists, young or old, can be openly debated. But when you apply their ideas to public policy, it’s creepy; in fact, it’s downright scary.

15 thoughts on “The Cry, young conservatives and end times

  1. I agree that these people are scary, at least if they achieve power to enforce their beliefs. It also seems to me that rather than follow the example and vision of Jesus, they are worshipping the trappings of Christianity (rules, charisms, literal interpretation of figurative language, etc.). This is a form of superstition.
    Q. How can they qualify as a charitable organization when they clearly exist to promote a political agenda? and If they are not a charitable organization, which charitable organization is sponsoring them?


  2. Thanks for this, Dennis!

    My first reaction is to write off “The Cry” and its ilk. To paraphrase the bible: “The crazies you have always with you.” And so we have–always did and probably always well. But this is a biased and unworthy reaction!

    Al H. in Brazil.   


  3. Um… anyone with an understanding of Revenue Canada’s charitable guidelines should know that ‘political activities’ carried on by registered charities must be limited to only 10% of resources and budgets. Which either means the organization that holds the charitable status allowing The Cry to write receipts is either a very large organization with over $3million in revenue… or it is violating its violating Canadian law by allocating too much money to advocacy and could potentially get its charitable status revoked.

    That is… if anyone wants to pursue this and file a complaint. Just saying.


  4. All political parties have what we would call community-social roots –institutional anchors. What’s scary about the groups you write about is the potential impact on federal government spending and investment in areas of cultural activity, punitve crime legislatiion, etc. I suspect even the odd former Progressive Conservative finds the influence of this group troubling!!

    Regards Bill Knight


  5. Re: Political involvement, vs. charitable status, creepy & scary;
    Any comments from uninformed posters on this are purely conjecture and unfounded speculation. On the other hand, I’m grateful to be living In Canada where opinions can generally but not absolutely, be expressed without getting shot, that is scary.
    Has anyone here 1.) asked The Cry about their sponsor and charitable status first hand? 2. Read the Bible?


  6. Hey Dennis

    Am I ever glad you are no loger the director of information for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops…

    The old fashioned morally lame Catholics of the 60s are getting old … thank God… Now they are just a bunch of cranky old men … lamenting at a Church that has left them behind in it’s return to the Bible. It’s not your fault… your views are a product of your generation… a generation that is now entering into antiquity… I hope one day you will understand what abortion is, and I hope on that day you will get on your knees and ask for forgiveness.

    David MacDonald

    Dennis replies:
    Your humble editor remains vigourous in mind, body and spirit.


  7. I am one of those young people that attended the Cry on August 23. I am one of those people you seem to find scary because I have found something I am passionate about other than fashion or sports. I understand how it may seem strange to think of politics and religion working together, but if I may quote the Bible “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority”(1 Timothy 2:1-2). One is not made to work without the other. Our country was founded on the Bible “dominion from sea to sea”(Psalm 17:8) sound familiar.

    I can tell you personally you have nothing to fear from us. We live by the ten commandments, we respect life and the beliefs of others, but we are willing to defend what we know is true. This country should be proud to have so many young people fighting for this nation. What should I be doing on a Saturday morning sleeping off a giant hangover still stoned??

    The cry is interesting young people into politics, whatever the reason, everyone can admit that is a good thing.

    The last point I would like to make is that if we are passionate about something that teaches good moral standings and that in this we can find happiness, without hurting others. Is there really a problem?

    (Al H. in Brazil. What verse are you quoting? the only one I found is “For you have the poor with you always…”(Matthew 26:11))


  8. I’m glad you have this websight and are doing this research.

    I’m amazed how much Faytene Kryskow gets away with and how she draw people to her.

    Ed & Wendy Rubuliak also do this with their contemporary music etc !

    These set ups like the Cry have more of the dynamics of a Samba Festival in Rio De Janeiro Brazil than a Christian gathering and they wouldn’t make a very good Samba Festival either.So,they really aren’t anything!


  9. “But when you apply their ideas to public policy, it’s creepy; in fact, it’s downright scary.”

    What ideas are you refering to ? You mean the “ideas” as written in the Bible ? Such as the ten commandments (Exodus 20) ? No, no we cant have that as public policy today, that was meant for a small group of people at some remote location in the distant past. Or perhaps we could pick out the parts we like and dscard all the rest, better yet lets make up some of our own? now thats scary.


  10. Does anyone else find it funny that David MacDonald’s comment number is 666?

    I’m also highly amused at all of the people say “read your bible”. I’d prefer to understand what it means rather than simply reading it.

    Keep up the good work, Dennis.


  11. Hey just saw your post – 4MyCanada is not a charitable organization, so no worries about their political affliations!


  12. To Ryan, I think that’s just a bit ironic.

    I stand with Nathalie.

    No, we are not scary people. We are just people who’d like to see righteousness and justice be returned to our land.

    It’s not a popular choice to make. It’s actually counter cultural.

    It’s upholding the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage.

    It is also written in scripture that we as Christians are to pray for those in authority over us, to pray for our Prime Minister, our MLA’s, our Pastor’s, our leaders.

    btw… I know Ed and Wendy Rubuliak personaly and they are people who exemplify outstanding character and leadership.

    If we do not have love then we are just a clanging symbol.

    It doesn’t matter if we’re a Christian or not if what we do or say is motivated from the place of brokenness and pain, bitterness and ignorance it doesn’t actually get us anywhere.


  13. Nathalie,

    You wrote that our country was founded on the bible and quoted, “from sea to shining sea” …The bible is often quoted and refered to by people that do not have the heart and mind of Christ (the real Jesus Christ).

    Canada was not founded on love, just look at how the 1st Nations people were treated.

    God will have dominion from sea to shining sea when Christ returns, not by well meaning but misguided “Christians” taking politiical “dominion” in the “name” of Christ.


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