October 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – COVID-19 restrictions gave organizers of Sunday’s Canadian-wide outdoor pro-life event Life Chain dual “silver linings” by allowing them to expand into new communities as well as seeing new people stepping up to help run the event.
“We weren't short on silver linings. Due to the challenges that COVID-19 presented, including the social gathering limits, Life Chain ended up expanding into new communities and a number of new organizers stepped up too,” Josie Luetke, Life Chain Canada committee member and Youth Coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), told LifeSiteNews.
Life Chain took place nationwide on October 4 and thousands of Canadians took to the streets in cities and towns while following local COVID-19 guidelines to defend the sacredness of human life in protest against abortion, which claims the lives of approximately 100,000 Canadian babies every year.
Because of COVID-19 gathering limits for the 2020 event, organizers had to work with local provincial COVID-19 regulations.
Luetke noted that Life Chain was able to expand into many new communities in Ontario, such as Sutton, Beamsville, Vineland, and Welland. In addition to the new Ontario locations, Luetke told LifeSiteNews that new Life Chains were formed in Whitehorse, Yukon; Maple Ridge, British Columbia; Grande Prairie, Alberta; and Brampton and Mississauga, Ontario.
Luetke told LifeSiteNews that she could not say with certainty whether the new locations were created due to COVID-19 restrictions, but added that the commitment to the Life Chain with the restrictions in place was great to see.
“The fact that Life Chain went ahead despite all the obstacles and last-minute changes is a great reflection of the tenacity of pro-life grassroots. Our commitment to ending abortion is unwavering,” Luetke said to LifeSiteNews.
Luetke told LifeSiteNews that there were notably few counter-protesters at the 2020 Life Chains.
“While most Life Chains saw a lower turnout, which was expected, the response to the event, especially from participants themselves, has been very positive,” Luetke told LifeSiteNews.
Luetke also told LifeSiteNews that participants “were simply grateful to be able to take part in pro-life activism at all.”
First-time Life Chain participant Jacob Kociuba told LifeSiteNews that the event in Westlock, Alberta, gave him hope for the future by witnessing so many others who share the pro-life beliefs.
“When I arrived I was greeted by around 40 lovely people, most of whom were under the age of 25, which I was not only surprised to see but gave me an assuring sense of hope that many young people share the same beliefs as I do, that human life is sacred from conception to natural death,” Kociuba told LifeSiteNews.
“I thank God that nothing bad happened and it was a very peaceful demonstration. Some people were not happy with us being there, which I knew was going to be the case, but the people who were supportive greatly outnumbered the ones who were not.”
Life Chain took place in every province in Canada except Prince Edward Island and the territories of Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Due to restrictions in place because of COVID-19, event organizers asked each Life Chain group to follow their local guidelines as they pertain to outdoor crowd limits. They encouraged each group to create “mini” Life Chains separated by a few blocks.
Life Chain organizers were also adamant in reminding everyone that even “during a pandemic” people have the right to protest.
Attendees at previous Life Chain events have received opposition for their pro-life witness.
In 2018, a man was caught on video roundhouse-kicking a young female CLC staff member at a Life Chain event in Toronto. The identity of the attacker was later verified and he was charged with assault.
Life Chain events in Canada have been held every year since 1990, with the event first taking place in the United States in 1987, as “a peaceful and prayerful demonstration in support of the inherent dignity of every human being, from the moment of conception until natural death.”
For more information on Life Chain Canada, visit https://www.campaignlifecoalition.com/life-chain.
Life Chain events in the United States also took place on October 4, but another event is also scheduled for November 1.
PETITION UPDATE (8/17/20)
Churches across the state of California are being forced to halt indoor worship services thanks to a decree issued by liberal Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. But one Christian pastor is defying the state’s orders and literally risking his freedom for his sheep.
Rob McCoy of Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Newbury Park told LifeSite correspondent Lisa Stover today that the “draconian” measures imposed by the state are “an overreach” and that he has no intention of closing his church.
Please WATCH the interview with Pastor McCoy.
“If your doors are closed because you have a fear of man instead of a reverential fear of God, then you have to measure that and take a look at it,” said Pastor McCoy.
“The supervisors and the counselors and all the folks that run government, they’re actors performing a script,” McCoy continued. “If we're not going to push back, they'll take everything we surrender to them. And we really have to stand because I know how government works. Most pastors don’t. I do.”
McCoy had been serving on the Thousand Oaks City Council until April when he resigned over religious objections he had with the state’s coronavirus orders. “I cannot submit to the authority that declares the church to be nonessential” he said in a sermon at the time.
LifeSite hopes that Pastor McCoy will be a role model for pastors of all Christian denominations.
Please continue to SIGN and SHARE this petition. Thank you and God bless!
Religious freedom is again in the crosshairs of progressives across the country.
In some states, President Trump's declaration that houses of worship should be designated as "essential" during the COVID-19 pandemic has fallen on deaf ears.
In both Nevada and California, the state government is severely restricting the constitutional right to practise one's religion and attend church.
But now, pastors in both states are saying "Enough is enough!"
Please SIGN this petition in support of religious leaders who are challenging their state's oppressive restrictions against religious freedom.
In Nevada, Calvary Chapel of Dayton Valley challenged the state's draconian restrictions on houses of worship which placed an absolute cap of 50 congregants on every worship service. At the same time, the government decided to allow casinos to operate at 50% capacity - so that many thousands of gamblers can continue to legally gather.
And, in California, pastors from two large congregations, the Grace Community Church in Los Angeles and Calvary Church Chino Hills (also, in Southern California), have vowed to keep their churches open in defiance of Governor Gavin Newsom, who recently closed churches in 29 of the state's most populous counties.
Although the Supreme Court of the United States just turned down Calvary Chapel's petition for redress in the matter of their state's discriminatory policy, their pastor and leadership should be congratulated for filing a lawsuit in defense of religious freedom.
It should be noted that 4 of the 9 justices agreed with Calvary Chapel. In his dissent, Justice Alito states the following, in part:
"The Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion...It says nothing about the freedom to play craps or blackjack...But the Governor of Nevada apparently has different priorities. Claiming virtually unbounded power to restrict constitutional rights during the COVID–19 pandemic, he has issued a directive that severely limits attendance at religious services...That Nevada would discriminate in favor of the powerful gaming industry and its employees may not come as a surprise, but this Court’s willingness to allow such discrimination is disappointing. We have a duty to defend the Constitution, and even a public health emergency does not absolve us of that responsibility."
Your petition signature will give the pastor and congregation of Calvary Chapel a morale boost just when they need it most.
And then, in the case of the two California churches, your signature will give them the support they need to continue to serve the people of God, even in the face of oppressive state directives which have closed churches.
In a letter posted to the Grace Community Church's website, titled 'Christ, Not Caesar, Is Head of the Church', Pastor John MacArthur stated that Governor Newsom's directives had "exceeded their legitimate jurisdiction," and that, "faithfulness to Christ prohibits us from observing the restrictions they want to impose on our corporate worship services."
They plan to keep open their churches so that they can continue to serve the people of God, and they are praying that other faithful Christian communities will stand with them.
Please SIGN this petition which supports religious leaders who are challenging their state's oppressive restrictions against the free exercise of religion.
FOR MORE INMFORMATION:
'US Supreme Court won’t intervene as Nevada limits church services but casinos can host thousands' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/us-supreme-court-wont-intervene-as-nevada-limits-church-services-but-casinos-can-host-thousands
'California Churches Defy Gavin Newsom's Lockdown Order: Christ is Head of the church.': https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/07/25/california-churches-defy-gov-newsoms-lockdown-order-christ-head-church/
Grace Community's statement on the Church's Duty to Remain Open: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B200723
Supreme Court Decision in case of Calvary Chapel (Nevada): https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/19a1070_08l1.pdf