To The Editor,

Many people have written about the freedom convoy, yet I felt the need to express my concern because I know a number of people involved in that movement.

I am very distressed as I observe dark clouds of division spreading across our land. Numerous conspiracy theories crowding pages of social media have convinced a growing number of followers that respecting the health mandates is a threat to our freedom. One message even claimed that thousands of children have died from the vaccine and people who are vaccinated are at risk for their lives. This toxic soup of misinformation and outright lies continues to spread via social media. Vaccines, masks and distancing are the only weapons we have to control the spread of Covid-19 and protect the most vulnerable in our society(many dying every day).

Yet a large following of this new cult is demanding an end to these measures using bullying tactics that have negatively affected the working citizens of Ottawa as well as at border crossings, slowing down our economy. Demanding “freedom,” yet impeding the freedom of others seems a contradiction in terms of their claims. Of course, there is no rhyme or reason to these selfish and egotistical demands other than to score points with their following, Donald Trump style. “If you don’t give me what I want now, I’ll make your life miserable!”. In the end, we all lose because there will be a huge bill to pay for all the resources required to maintain order and protect our public infrastructure.

Those causing the trouble are seldom held responsible and the rest of us will foot the bill unless someone wakes up and sues the protesters and their sympathizers for all those expenses. That would take more courage than I see of those presently involved.

On January 29, Donald Trump publicly called Prime Minister Trudeau a fool and called upon his own followers to support the convoy. The more researchers dig into this movement, the more obvious it has become that this convoy is not a spontaneous movement by the citizens but a well-orchestrated plan to destabilize the government. The hardliners are extremists, inspired by the misinformation pouring in from groups south of the border with deep pockets. Their following has been brainwashed and simply don’t bother to verify the facts. They are convinced that what they read on Facebook is gospel truth and they are supporting a good cause.

What really irks me is the use of scripture verses to justify those demands and convince Christians that this freedom movement is God’s will. There is nothing further from the truth. Jesus taught us to obey the laws of the land (Romans chapter 13) to love and respect our neighbours and to be a servant to all.

Using brutal force to get what you want and poisoning the lives of others are weapons of the enemy, NOT from the teachings of our Lord and the Holy Scriptures. Many innocent people have been sucked into that cult by the rhetoric spewed on social media. Followers are even warned to keep away from the mainstream media “because it is all lies.” That is a red flag associated with all cults to feed their followers only their propaganda and keep them from the facts.

We are all tired of the health mandates, but that is not license for people to break the law and ruin the economy for selfish reasons. These rules will soon be a thing of the past and we can all move forward with our lives as did the populations of other pandemics in history. All I can do is urge people to check other sources of info before swallowing every message cramming Facebook. That misinformation may sound very convincing and appealing but that is the powerful attraction of all cults.

Léola Meagher, L’Orignal