Pastor says police, politicians will face ‘God’s justice’ for deeming worship ‘unessential’
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WATERLOO, Ontario, January 5, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A Canadian pastor says that police, elected officials, and bureaucrats will one day stand before the court of “God’s justice” for deeming worship “unessential” amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Pastor Jacob Reaume of Trinity Bible Church, located in Waterloo, Ontario, made these remarks after he and five other church elders were served with charges for holding a service on December 27, which violated local COVID-19 rules limiting worship size.
“Our Saviour shed His blood to purchase the church, and therefore deeming the church ‘unessential’ is tantamount to deeming the blood of Christ unessential, which is a public act of blasphemy,” wrote Pastor Reaume in a press release sent out December 31.
“One day our elected officials, bureaucrats, and police will stand before the court of God’s justice for these acts. We earnestly pray that the Holy Spirit would draw them to his Son, Jesus Christ, who offers free grace and forgiveness to all who would repent and put their faith in him.”
On December 30, Waterloo Regional Police (WRPS) charged all six of the elders of Trinity Bible Chapel. According to the church press release they were all charged with violating Section 10.1 of the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) after holding the December 27 Sunday service.
Just before Christmas, Premier of Ontario Doug Ford announced a province-wide lockdown which began on December 26. The lockdown is to be in effect for two weeks in northern Ontario, and for four weeks in southern Ontario, which includes Toronto and the Peel regions.
The new measures limit all religious services as well as weddings and funerals to a maximum of 10 people indoors and outdoors. Religious drive-in services are permitted with strict conditions in place.
On December 3, Pastor Reaume posted an open letter on his church’s website which stated that the church would stay open if any future lockdown was enacted by the Ontario provincial government.
Reaume stated that it was the church’s “observation” that the “government’s restrictive actions” have in times of “isolation” harmed people and society “by perpetuating loneliness, hopelessness, fear, poverty, division, anger, the deterioration of relationships, and a plethora of other evils which will become more evident with time.”
According to a Toronto Star report about Trinity Bible Church elders being charged, police had “observed” the church’s December 27 service to provide church officials with information about “complying with the restrictions.”
The Star report stated that police had observed that some people were not wearing masks, but that no fines were handed out. If a person is convicted for violating the ROA, they could be fined upwards of $10,000.
Pastor Reaume said in his December 31 press release that the church members charged are “peaceful family men seeking to pastorally care for our families and our church in sincere obedience to God,” and are “not criminals.”
“Although we know of officers within the WRPS who personally disagree with these charges, it appears the WRPS is trying to make an example of us,” he wrote. “For years we have taught our children to respect police, and now our children and grandchildren are witness to their fathers and grandfathers receiving charges from police for worshipping Christ with our church. It is a dark day for Waterloo Region and Ontario.”
Yesterday, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) announced they will be helping to defend Trinity Bible Church and others in Ontario who were charted for holding church services under the ROA.
In a press release, JCCF lawyer Lisa Bildy stated that it is the actions of church leaders such as those from Trinity Bible Church keeping alive any hope of “remaining a free society.”
“Many people scoff at those who believe that defending civil liberties is especially critical during government-declared emergencies, as though they are somehow selfish and short-sighted,” wrote Bildy.
“In fact, it is only through the vigilance and courage of people like these church leaders that we have any hope of remaining a free society. History is replete with examples of authoritarianism being ushered in by a fearful public and fanning the flames of that fear is a common tactic of such regimes.”
JCCF pointed out that the ROA, like “all laws in this country,” must comply with Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, “which guarantees citizens that the government will not infringe their freedoms of peaceful assembly and religion, among other fundamental freedoms.”
Other churches in Canada have been fined or charged for defying government health orders and holding in-person services.
In late December of last year, three Canadian churches in the province of British Columbia were handed fines totaling $18,400 by police for holding in-person services which are currently banned under the provinces COVID-19 rules.
The Manitoba Church of God in Steinbach was handed a $5,000 fine after defying COVID-19 restrictions to hold an in-person service in November of 2020. The same church again defied COVID-19 rules banning all church services other than virtual ones on Sunday, November 29, and held a drive-in service that saw the police block the parking lot of the church.
Only days after issuing huge fines to the church for holding “illegal” drive-in church services, the government of Manitoba reversed course to allow people to worship in their cars in church parking lots.
In early December of last year, the pastor of the Manitoba Church of God in Steinbach, Tobias Tissen, was fined over $6,000 for holding a drive-in service for the second week in a row.
Despite the Ford government promoting lockdowns, a high-profile member of his government, finance minister Ontario MPP Rod Phillips, recently resigned after it was discovered he traveled out of Canada for a vacation to St. Barts.
Phillips resignation is not the only one regarding high-profile government officials in senior roles who were caught jetting off to warmer climates for Christmas vacations.
A growing list of offending politicians and senior staff members has made headlines in recent days.
Although it is technically not illegal to leave Canada to travel, the perception of an elected official doing so while telling people to stay home is seen as a double standard and hypocrisy by many Canadians.
Premier Doug Ford
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Email: [email protected]