Yesterday a friend of mine sent me a promo shot for a truly terrible movie called 2025: The World Enslaved by a Virus.  A ragtag group of Christians facing persecution during/after a global apocalypse is my favourite genre of bad movies, and since yesterday was a snow day I commenced watching and live tweeting the movie and my observations.  Then later that evening we watched Profile, a 2018 film in which a British journalist in search of a story develops a relationship with a Daesh recruiter in Syria. This morning it occurred to me that was an interesting combination of entertainment and while I have promised you that this substack is about books, it’s my substack and I can write what I want. Profile is based on the book In the Skin of a Jihadist by Anna Erelle (a pseudnonymn), so it’s kind of about books.

This is not an essay about both sides or how there’s extremists everywhere. I’m not going to tell you that there are Bad Christians just like there are Bad Muslims like that’s some kind of get out of jail free card for the Good Ones because I don’t buy that. If you’ve read any of my other essays you’ll know that I think that’s a dodge, a move to innocence. If you are one of the Good Ones, then not only are the Bad Ones your responsibility but you have an obligation to look at your texts and belief system to suss out where they went running off in a different direction. Because most of the time you share the same basic beliefs, it’s just their strategy you dispute. And that’s a problem that you need to deal with.

Both of these movies are products of the Christian west, one clearly has better production values and writing but they tell a similar story about the oppression of white westerners at the hands of globalist/foreign villains.

Our heroes in 2025 are that plucky group of Christians who just want to pray and sing and gather but are thwarted by a one world government. Communism is everywhere, gatherings are illegal, and both the Bible and Germany’s legal code are illegal.  In an interesting alignment with current political systems Roy quotes from the legal code rather than the Bible when questioned by police. People get arrested and summarily executed; when one character laments that his family has been arrested the others assure him that his family is with Jesus now.

In Profile, Billel and his terrorist group are obviously and clearly the baddies who are willing to use violence to achieve their goals and for whom freedom just means the freedom to oppress women and anyone who disagrees with them. The journalist who catfishes him in order to get her story and pay her bills becomes emotionally entangled. He’s clearly manipulating her and she knows that he’s a Very Bad and Dangerous Man but she falls for the manipulation anyway, at least until he punks her. Which made me think about my years in child welfare and how often we would good cop/bad cop the parents. Everyone knew what we were doing but it worked anyway because human psychology is a strange thing. I’m not going to spoil the ending for you but she did manage to write a book so that gives you a hint.

At one point Billel tells “Melody” that they actually prefer converts because they are more committed to the religion and the cause than those who are born into Islam. That sounds flattering but we all know it’s nonsense. Converts are more easily exploited and controlled, particularly when they’ve been forced to move from one country to another where they don’t know the language and are completely dependent on their captors.

And if that sounds familiar it’s because a strategy of Christians in the colonial west going all the way back to and beyond Matoaka, or as you may know her: Pocahontas.  Contrary to the Disney movie and related mythology, Matoaka was abducted and held captive for a year before she agreed to marry John Rolfe (not John Smith, sorry). Women in these situations tend to become hyper correct imitators, a phrase I learned while reading The Horse, The Wheel, and Language.  That means that they become more of whoever their captives are in order to feel safe. Billel’s strategy is smart. These women who come from the west will be better at their faction of Islam than any woman born into it because they will have to be in order to feel safe, and even so they won’t be safe because outsiders are always suspect.

During the middle ages Jews and Muslims would convert to Christianity in order to avoid the expulsions, pogroms, and assorted tortures that came along with being Jewish or Muslim, but these conversos were highly suspect and marriage to one was thought to taint the blood of pure Christians.  You can convert them, but you wouldn’t want to marry one.  Contemporary ideas about racial purity have their roots in these ideas about sangre real, or pure blood.

Christians are no less violent. Sure it starts with singing and praying and gathering together but before long you’ve got land theft and unfree labour, Jim Crow and residential schools. In fact, you’ve got Christians doing to others exactly what they are lamenting about in 2025. For decades it was Christian governments who made it illegal for Black and Indigenous people to gather, who criminalized their belief systems. There are stories in both Black and Native traditions about meetings taking place in churches, hidden by the singing of hymns to give the appearance of compliance. Using the shield of hyper-correct imitation in order to protect themselves. Think about that the next time you see stats on high numbers of Christian conversion among marginalized groups.

Bad movies are fun to watch and pick apart. Bad Christian movies even more so because that’s where I grew up, in the midst of evangelicalism and the Satanic Panic of the 70s and 80s.  We were so sure it was over and we never made the connection between the things we feared and the things we had done, just as we don’t now.  So I have a kind of trauma-nostalgia, outsider’s view on it now. I can analyze it from a safe distance and reflect on what my own complicity means, how to work against it.  But Christians still look marginalized people right in the eyes and talk about being persecuted, sincerely believing that they are the ones at risk of losing their freedom while maintaining control over economic, political, and social systems. On the surface these two movies are different, but in reality they are depressingly similar.

White people in general, and white Christians in particular, are in danger.

What goes around comes around

the fears of the Christian west