Video went viral this weekend of a Polish pastor in Canada booting some six police officers and health officials from his house of worship as they were seemingly trying to shut down a Passover service over COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
The pastor in the video, Artur Pawlowski, notably called the officials “Nazis” and the “Gestapo,” the secret police of Nazi Germany, and told them not to come back without a warrant.
Pawlowski told The Daily Caller during an interview about the interaction that he used the language he did because he sees a “repetition of history,” likening the actions of some government officials to those of the “Communists.”
“I grew up in Poland under the boot of the Soviets, behind the Iron Curtain,” the pastor said. “What I see right now, I see everything escalating and moving to the new level. They’re acting just like the Communists were acting when I was growing up when the pastors and the priests were arrested, and some were murdered. Many were tortured.”
“That’s why I say what I say,” Pawlowski explained. “Because I see a repetition of history.”
The pastor said that the officials walked into the Calgary church “in the middle of worship.”
“I asked them to get out, and they would not move,” he detailed to The Daily Caller. “So everything started to intensify. And I raised my voice, and I said it again and again and again, and they just didn’t want to go.”
Pawlowski said the continued harassment of him and his churchgoers is “unacceptable.”
“Even during the times of the Middle Ages, the knights were commanded to leave their swords outside the church, they were not allowed to enter the church. But these days, nothing is holy for those people. They just walk in like it’s a restaurant,” he said, noting police were armed.
“What happened on Saturday is just the tipping point of the harassment and intimidation I have been enduring for months,” the Christian added.
The silver lining is that Pawlowski has been met with an outpouring of support and hopes the now-viral video will inspire other religious leaders to stand up.
“I simply say, enough,” he said. “And I want – I hope – that this video that so many people are talking about will give courage to other clergymen and other business owners to kick those Nazis out.”
“From my point of view, I’m not afraid of the disease,” the pastor said of COVID-19. “Because my God is bigger, and I pray for the people that are still sick and that they recover. I don’t live a life of fear, because I have hope.”
Calgary Police released a statement Sunday concerning the incident, confirming the drop-by was due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“The concern was that the people in attendance were not adhering to the government’s COVID-19 public health orders, which are in place to ensure everyone’s safety,” the statement said.
“The organizer of the gathering was uncooperative with the health inspector, and repeatedly raised his voice asking all parties to leave the premises, which they did approximately one minute after entry and in a peaceful manner,” Calgary Police continued.
“We understand the pandemic has caused great disruption to all Calgarians in their professional and personal lives. We do not wish to disrupt anyone’s holidays or religious or spiritual events, however we must support our partner agencies when called upon to help ensure everyone can safely celebrate these occasions,” the statement added. “No tickets were issued at the time and it will be up to our partner agencies to determine subsequent enforcement activity in response to this situation.”
Related: ‘Out, You Nazis!’: Viral Video Shows Pastor Kicking Out Officers From Church Easter Weekend