Artur Pawlowski is a Polish immigrant who pastors Street Church and The Cave of Adullam in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He and his brother Dawid have been outspoken critics of the province’s COVID-19 restrictions on church meetings ordered by the Alberta Health Services (AHS) during the pandemic.
After receiving 29 tickets, three court orders, two injunctions and two court contempt trials over the course of the last year, Pawlowski recently had to face Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Adam Germain, who found him in contempt of court for continuing to hold a church service after being ordered to stop. Although avoiding jail, Pastor Pawlowski was ordered to pay $23,000 in fines, undergo 18 months of probation, and serve 120 hours of community service.
Pawlowski, who famously chased Calgary police and health officials out of his church last year, calling them “Nazis” and “Gestapo” for attempting to shut down his church services, was also ordered by Justice Germain to give the government’s perspective whenever he publicly talks or communicates anything negative about AHS health orders and recommendations. CBC News headlined the court order this way: “Anti-mask activists ordered by Calgary judge to preach science, too.”
In a 40-minute lecture from the bench, Germain told the Pawlowski brothers that “they are on the wrong side of science” and “also on the wrong side of common sense.”
The judge continued, “The final term of [Pastor Pawlowski’s] probation order will be that when he is exercising his right of free speech and speaking against AHS health orders and AHS health recommendations in any public gathering or public forum, including electronical social media, he must indicate in his communications the following or words like the following:
‘I am also aware that the views I am expressing to you on this occasion may not be views held by the majority of medical experts in Alberta. While I may disagree with them, I am obliged to inform you that the majority of medical experts favour social distancing, mask wearing, and avoiding large crowds to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Most medical experts also support participation in a vaccination program unless, for a medical reason, you cannot be vaccinated. Vaccinations have been shown statistically to save lives and to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.’’’
Pawlowski isn’t happy with the judge telling him he must preach the government’s message along with his own. He told Rebel News, a Canadian media outlet, “Basically, what the judge is saying is that I cannot be a pastor anymore.”
Pawlowski has brought his dispute with Alberta authorities to the United States and has appeared on Fox News. Because of the negative media attention, his attorney, Sarah Miller, believes the judge’s order is part of a political vendetta by AHS authorities against him.
“It seems wholly … inspired by Artur’s trip over the summer to the United States and the evidence put before the court … on … his speaking tour and how that … inspired some people to … support him,” she told Rebel News.
Pawlowski is not the only Canadian pastor to feel the heavy hand of government when it comes to COVID-19. By contrast, churches in the United States have successfully resisted closure orders and health mandates that were not fairly applied to other similarly situated businesses and facilities. Many states have since passed laws and constitutional provisions protecting churches from closure orders. In fact, Texas voters will soon vote on Proposition 3 to amend their state constitution to prohibit state government officials from enacting any law, rule or proclamation that limits religious services or organizations.
Please pray for Pastor Pawlowski and other Canadian pastors attempting to minister to their flocks in the face of government heavy handedness.
“…not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near,” Hebrews 10:25 ESV.
Photo from Facebook.