From the Cave of Adullam a King Shall Rise

Covid, Conspiracy Theories, Christian Nationalism, and Populism in Canada


  • Carmen Celestini University of Waterloo
  • Randi R. Warne Mount Saint Vincent University



Christian nationalism, populism, and conspiracy theories interconnected online during the COVID-19 pandemic, and eventually erupted in offline acts of protest against governments, with cabals attempting to create a New World Order and against the “tyrannical” COVID-19 mandates. In this paper we focus on the role of the Calgary-based Pastor Artur Pawlowski in building a religio-political social movement both in Canada and America, founded upon tropes of Christian persecution, conspiracy theories, Christian nationalism, and populism. This transnational online movement, in which national borders are blurred, helped to fuel the occupation of Canada’s capital city in December 2021, and continues to spur a Christian movement both in America and Canada as the pandemic wanes.

Author Biographies

Carmen Celestini, University of Waterloo

I am currently an instructor at the University of Waterloo, in the Religious Studies Department and in the Arts First Program. My research is predominately in the field of religion and social theory, with a focus on improvisational conspiracy, the overlapping belief systems of apocalyptic Christian thought and conspiracy theories, and the impact of these beliefs on the American political system.

In my doctoral work, my focus was on the John Birch Society of the 1950s and ’60s and how their form of improvisational conspiracism is linked to contemporary right-wing mobilization.

I also have an interest in religion and pop culture, specifically within subversive or marginalized religious movements. My popular publications can be found at Religion Dispatches. My interviews for the Religious Studies Project can be found here.

Randi R. Warne, Mount Saint Vincent University

Dr. Warne is an interdisciplinary scholar who has published internationally on gender theory, the material and idelogical conditions of knowledge production in the academy, and method and theory in the study of religion. Her ongoing interests include politics, gender, and religion; North American cultural history, including social reform movements; and material and popular culture. 





How to Cite

Celestini, Carmen, and Randi R. Warne. 2022. “From the Cave of Adullam a King Shall Rise: Covid, Conspiracy Theories, Christian Nationalism, and Populism in Canada”. Journal of the Council for Research on Religion 3 (2). Montreal, QC, Canada:40-58.