Canadian pastor Artur Pawlowski of Calgary’s Street Church in Alberta was arrested, along with his brother, Dawid Pawlowski for “organizing an illegal in-person gathering,” according to The Washington Examiner.
The Calgary Police stated that the arrest was made early on Saturday, May 8, due to Artur being “in violation of a new court order obtained by Alberta Health Services (AHS) in relation to mandatory compliance of public health orders for gatherings.”
A Court of Queen’s Bench Order was issued and obtained on May 6, which applied to any gatherings “including protests, demonstrations and rallies.”
Police inforced that order by arresting the pastor who previously went viral when he stopped law enforcement from shutting down his Easter service.
A video of the arrest that was posted on YouTube shows five police vehicles from the Calgary Police Service that were sent to arrest the two from on the street. A voice in the video can be heard saying, “Shame on you guys, this is not communist China. Don’t you have family and kids? Whatever happened to ‘Canada, God keep our land glorious and free?'”
“It is important to understand that law enforcement recognizes people’s desire to participate in faith-based gatherings as well as the right to protest. However, as we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, we all must comply with public health orders in order to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing,” the Calgary Police Service said in a statement after the arrests.
The brothers “have both been arrested and charged with organizing an illegal in-person gathering, including requesting, inciting or inviting others to attend an illegal public gathering, promoting and attending an illegal public gathering,” the statement explained further.
The issue of religious freedom has been on many minds as North America has faced its first major clash with governmental interference with religious practice in the better part of a century.
Fearfully acceptance of COVID-19 restrictions by many at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak has dissolved into questions of whether this pandemic is being used as a way of stripping citizens of their rights. Response to this arrest by social media users indicates that this arrested is believed to be a step (or two) too far:
“Way to (sic) excessive in my opinion! Don’t know what perceived ‘threat’ the police thought to make this kind of arrest!” said one user. “If things keep going, this is what will be happening here In American before long. Democrats are destroying our country,” said another.
One concerned citizen was sounding the alarm saying, “This is insanity directed at them for running the police off church property. This is 1930s Germany all over again.”
Yet another put their opinions succinctly saying, “If you ever wondered what the wrong side of history looks like, this is it. This is what real fascism looks like. Not the watered down claim of fascism the media and left claimed was being created by our former president.”