The legal organization that has been advocating in court on behalf of jailed pastors and harassed churches in Canada released a documentary earlier this month detailing how the federal and provincial governments are increasingly resembling communist China.
“The Government War on Worship,” which was released by the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms and can be viewed below or on their website, begins by highlighting how Christians are brutally persecuted in China despite the guarantee of religious freedom in the Chinese Constitution.
The film then pivots to draw parallels between China’s tactics and how churches in Canada have been treated since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged from the communist state.
“It’s exactly like communist China,” said Justice Centre president John Carpay in the video, who also spoke to The Daily Wire in April. Speaking of the case against Edmonton pastor James Coates, who was arrested in February and whose GraceLife Church was forced underground after police barricaded their building, Carpay said, “Pastor Coates and GraceLife Church have been quite public about the fact that they are continuing to meet and worship every Sunday, and they’re doing so in secret. And in rural Alberta, there are thousands and thousands of big barns and all kinds of private properties where church services can be held and are being held.”
“There’s no science to back this up,” Carpay said regarding the lingering lockdowns. “But the more clear that it becomes that there’s no science to back up these orders, the more repressive they become and the more aggressive the government becomes in enforcing these unscientific public health orders.”
Carpay went on to note that because his clients have legally challenged the constitutional validity of the public health orders themselves, provincial governments are being pushed to defend them by putting forward scientific evidence in court to justify them. As The Daily Wire has reported, however, judges are quite willing to toss such challenges, as happened during Coates’ court hearing earlier this month.
The documentary goes on to recount the case of Pastor Artur Pawlowski, who was arrested in the middle of a busy highway on his way home from his Calgary church and dragged into a police van after he refused to allow health bureaucrats to interrupt his services. As The Daily Wire reported, Pawlowski alleged that some of the prison guards mistreated him and mocked him for his Christian faith.
The film then touches on the arrest of Pastor Tim Stephens, also of Calgary, whose Fairview Baptist Church was locked by authorities when they continued to congregate. Stephens was later released after the Justice Centre argued that the court order under which he was arrested did not apply to him, but last week he was arrested again when a police helicopter found where his church was secretly gathering outdoors.
As The Daily Wire reported, the arresting officer quoted Jesus in an attempt to justify driving the pastor to prison while his young children wept.
Also mentioned is the case of Pastor Henry Hildebrandt and his Church of God in Aylmer, Ontario, which was also locked by authorities when they continued to gather. The church and its pastors, who continue to meet outdoors, face more than $250,000 in fines and legal fees. Hildebrandt recently spoke to The Daily Wire about the ordeals his church is facing.
Several members of GraceLife Church also speak in the film about what it has been like to have their church singled out. Among them is Dr. Donna Klay, a health care professional who mentioned how many of her patients are falling ill because of the stress induced by the seemingly perpetual lockdowns.
“We know that stress is the biggest negative actor in our immune systems,” Klay said. “And the lockdowns have caused so much stress on my patients and, I think, on many Albertans, that that has been a big factor in people becoming ill.”
Klay went on to predict that the fallout from the lockdowns “will be felt for generations.”
Achnes Smith, another GraceLife member, said, “When Pastor James was taken to prison, I think government thought that we would scatter. They firmly believed that we were following a man. So, instead of us all scattering and the church not meeting, the exact opposite happened. Because of the media attention that was brought to our church and to Pastor James, people started coming from far and wide.”
“Some people drove five hours to come to our church service,” Smith continued. “And our attendance doubled. My husband and I met many people who were hungry, who were hurting, who were absolutely so lonely, that they were willing to drive hours to come to our church. And they would walk in the door and they would see us all talking with each other, counseling each other, hugging each other, and they said, ‘It is like I can breathe again. Can we please come to your church?’”
Smith said many of those who came were “at the point of emotional and mental breakdowns.” She also talked about how her father, who was subjected to slave labor for refusing to obey an order from the Third Reich to fight against his own countrymen, would be “absolutely astounded” by what the Canadian government is doing.
“The underground church is not just in China anymore,” the documentary soberly concluded, noting how Alberta now holds the record for the most Christian pastors arrested in any democratic country.
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