A Canadian pastor who was briefly jailed for breaking public health orders by organizing religious services under ongoing lockdown restrictions compared his situation to those living in Hong Kong, where Christians are regularly persecuted to meet for worship.
In an interview with Newsmax hours after his release from prison on Monday night, Artur Pawlowski, pastor of Street Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, said: “I just woke up in Hong Kong a few days ago. I mean, I thought I immigrated to our beloved Canada, but I’m in Hong Kong, full force.
“This is madness – arrest the pastor[s], by closing churches. Madness, ”added Pawlowski, reports The Epoch Times.
Pawlowski and his brother, Dawid Pawlowski, were arrested on Saturday for organizing an “illegal” in-person rally under COVID-19 restrictions set by a new court order. The two were released on Monday evening.
“Earlier today, police arrested two organizers of a church service who violated a new court order obtained by Alberta Health Services (AHS) regarding mandatory compliance with public health orders for gatherings,” said the Calgary Police Department in a statement. the Saturday.
A video posted to YouTube shows that the Calgary Police Department sent at least five police vehicles to stop the two on the street. The brothers knelt down on the road and refused to walk alone during the arrest.
A voice can be heard telling the officers, “Shame on you guys, this is not Communist China. Do you have no family and children? What happened to “Canada, may God keep our land glorious and free?” “”
In its statement, the Calgary Police Department said it had “proactively” served “a religious service organizer with the court order to ensure that citizens attending the Saturday service were complying with the orders. current COVID-19 public health “.
The Pawlowski brothers “were both arrested and charged with organizing an unlawful assembly in person, including asking, instigating or inviting others to attend an unlawful public assembly, promoting and attending a illegal public gathering, ”he added.
In China, churches are monitored and ordered to close across the country, whether they are underground or part of the Tri-Autonomous Patriotic Movement, the officially sanctioned Protestant church in China. Hundreds of pastors and church members have been fined or jailed for their faith.
Chinese Christians have also been ordered to renounce their faith and replace displays of Jesus with portraits of Chairman Mao and Chairman Xi Jinping.
Pawlowski, who was born in Poland and lived under the Soviet regime for part of his childhood, told Newsmax: “I became, along with my brother, a political prisoner. We were taken into custody, thrown on the police van like a piece of meat, and denied access to the lawyer for 24 hours. “
“It’s horrible. It’s a repeat of history,” Pawlowski said. “I grew up behind the Iron Curtain. I saw the police abuse their power, people get arrested – we could be stopped at five in the morning, doors could be broken for no reason. Just by listening to European radio, [would] order them to torture you, arrest you and throw you in jail for five years.
“I escaped communism. I fled Poland because I wanted to come to a free country, ”added Pawlowski. “And here we are again, repeating the same mistakes, the same story. And I have to stand up and fight for my rights – not to do wrong, to just open up [the] church for people who want to freely come and worship their God.
Alberta announced new mandatory health restrictions on May 4 to “help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health system,” including new restrictions banning all indoor gatherings, public or private.
Pawlowski made headlines earlier this year after sharing a video documenting the police visit to his church last month. In it, he expelled police officers from his church and compared them to the paramilitary forces of the Nazi Gestapo.
“I don’t care what you have to say outside!” “Pawlowski can be heard say at the time. “Get out of this property, you Nazis. Get out! Gestapo is not allowed here. Don’t come back, you Nazi psychopaths. Incredible sick and wicked. Intimidate people in the church during Passover. You fascist Communist Gestapo Nazis! “
Pawlowski is not the only pastor fighting with authorities over COVID-19 restrictions on places of worship.
Despite the prospect of fines and the threat of jail time over his refusal to comply with California COVID-19 regulations, Grace Community Church pastor John MacArthur maintained he was the church’s biblical responsibility to remain open and to organize worship services.
He also urged other pastors to open their churches and Christians to sign a petition to consider the church “essential.”
“There is another virus in the world, and it is the virus of deception,” the 81-year-old pastor told his congregation. “And whoever is behind the virus of deception is the great deceiver Satan himself.”