Pastor Peter has been filling in for Pastor Artur Pawlowski for the past three weeks while the contempt charges against Artur are being addressed in court. Worship has been conducted outdoors, with ample space for social distancing.
Last week, we learned that despite worship being held outdoors, Pastor Peter was served under the same May 6 injunction by Justice John Rooke, under which both Artur and Pastor Tim Stephens were arrested. The implication was clearly that if Peter proceeded with worship on Saturday, he would be subject to arrest. Despite the threats, worship proceeded as usual on Saturday morning, and things were eerily quiet on the police enforcement front. A sense of relief began to wash over everyone as the day went on.
That relief soon came to an abrupt halt. A police vehicle mounted the curb opposite the church, about 15 feet from me, while I was in the midst of filming. Given the traumatic arrests of two pastors in recent memory, my immediate thought was that they were coming for me next. I braced myself and continued filming. A small number of congregants, noticing the commotion, crossed the street to protest the police presence. Due to the horrendous escalation and targeted abuse of Christians by Calgary police, reportedly under the direction of Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro, the response of peaceful worshippers to the sight of officers was a mix of defensiveness and fear. The immense damage that Calgary police have done to their reputation was palpable.
However, these officers could not have provided a starker contrast to the conduct of police in prior weeks. They calmly explained that they were only in the area as they had received a complaint from someone in the community and that they accordingly had to attend. They apologized for past experiences and ensured that they had no intention of interfering with worship. In fact, they had hoped to visit ongoing worship to say hi to everyone, but opted to abstain to avoid any perceived interruption.
The officers spoke with several attendees and answered all their questions courteously. One officer expressed a desire for a return to normalcy, lamenting neighbours being divided over the restrictions. The most ardent opponents of the police who were at first yelling at them rather quickly shifted to conversing with them, and by the end of the exchange, were even praying for the officers.
Pastor Artur has endured horrific treatment at the hands of police and prison guards, but he has insisted that when police officers conduct themselves honourably, we must hold them up as an example, as a counterpoint to their abusive colleagues.
That being said…
The wickedness of Calgary police who targeted and persecuted pastors in Alberta is utterly reprehensible, and will not be easily forgotten. I have been covering the plight of Christians under Jason Kenney as intimately as anyone. I know the men who have been imprisoned. I know their families. I know the hurt that has been caused.
It does not matter whether you are the premier, a health minister or a police officer. If you enacted targeted discrimination against peaceful Christians, you will be exposed. Rebel News will help those you victimized through our civil rights initiatives at SaveArtur.com and FightTheFines.com.