Police interrupt religious service in Canada. Pastor reacts: ‘Nazis, Gestapo is not allowed here’
CALGARY, Alberta, April 6, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A Canadian pastor who grew up under communism in Poland told police and health inspectors who entered his church during an unannounced COVID health visit on Good Friday to “get out.” He yelled, “You Nazis, Gestapo is not allowed here.”
“Please get out. Please get out of this property, immediately, get out, get out of this property immediately. I don’t want to hear a word, out, out!” said impassioned Pastor Artur Pawlowski of The Cave of Adullam church located in Calgary, Alberta, during a Easter Passover Saturday service. “I don’t care what you have to say. Out of this property, you Nazis, Gestapo is not allowed here … don’t come back without a warrant.”
Pawlowski filmed the altercation, which took place inside the entrance of his church. In the video, which has since gone viral worldwide, Pawlowski confronts at least a half-dozen police, bylaw officers, along with Alberta Health Services (AHS) inspectors, who appeared to interrupt his church service.
“Do you understand English? Get out of this property, go, go and do not come back without a warrant. Out, Nazis, you understand. Nazis are not welcome here. Do not come back without a warrant,” screamed Pawlowski at police and bylaw officers and AHS officials.
“Do not come back here, you Nazi psychopaths. Unbelievably evil, sick people, intimidating people [at] church during the Passover, you Gestapo Nazi communist fascist. Don’t you dare come back here.”
Section 176(2) of the “Criminal Code of Canada” bans interrupting or disturbing a religious service.
Pawlowski told LifeSiteNews that he has respect for the police, but that health authorities, bylaw, and the cops have been “harassing” his church since the start of COVID health restrictions.
“They came to our church a number of times to the parking lot. Of course, everyone is welcome to come to our church, but not in a capacity that they were doing, in taking pictures and evidence of our parishioners,” he said.
Pawlowski is a well-known street preacher in Calgary and is renowned for feeding the homeless. He has been running Calgary-based Street Church Ministries for over 20 years, and has been a vocal opponent to COVID lockdowns.
Pawlowski said he “was shaken” and very “upset” that authorities chose to enter his church on Good Friday, which he said is one of his church’s holiest days of the year.
“We have people in our church that have had things done to them in the past. A church is a refuge. One lady was so shaken that hours after she was still shaking,” Pawlowski told LifeSiteNews.
He said that if the officials would have made an appointment with him to inspect his church, he would have been fine with that, but not during “church time.”
“I did what I had on my heart. Get out, this is not a way I want to deal with this, I told them many times: You have issues with me, make an appointment, I’ll gladly go with authorities and talk, I have no problem talking with authorities, but do not intimidate my parishioners,” he explained. “You want to come and visit the church — fine, I have no problem letting them in to inspect the place, but not during worship, during the church time, and they heard that from me many times.”
Pawlowski has been fined multiple times for breaking COVID health rules. Last year, he was the first Canadian pastor to be fined for breaking COVID rules, getting a $1,200 citation by the Calgary Police because his homeless outdoor kitchen broke health rules on gatherings.
No doubt due to the international attention and scrutiny brought upon Calgary Police because of the Good Friday incident, the department issued a statement Sunday night.
Police claimed their presence was in assisting AHS due to concerns COVID health rules were not being followed at the church. They also stated they were not there to “disrupt” the service, despite video showing they appeared to do that.
“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,” said Calgary Police.
Calgary Police went onto note that only “one” uniformed officer from their ranks attended the call “to assist our partner agencies, Alberta Health Services and City of Calgary Bylaw services, in relation to a religious gathering being held at the Street Church.”
Pawlowski’s video shows one uniformed Calgary police officer, two uniformed Calgary bylaw enforcement officers, and three other individuals who appear to be from AHS.
Calgary Police went on to state that when “attending public spaces, private homes, and businesses,” it strives “for voluntary compliance with public health orders where that makes sense.”
Police stated that no tickets were issued and that it will be up to their “partner agencies to determine subsequent enforcement activity in response to this situation.”
Viral video shines spotlight once again on Alberta police’s targeting of Christian places of worship
As Pawlowski’s video went viral worldwide, many took to social media to show their support for his resistance to police and health officials.
Pastor Henry Hildebrandt of the Church of God in Alymer, Ontario, has been a vocal opponent to government-imposed COVID-19 lockdown measures, and has himself, along with others from his congregation, received fines for defying the local health orders.
Hildebrandt blasted the Calgary police for their official response to the incident.
“Now we pause for a message from the Calgary division of the Canadian Gestapo. First they dox the Pastor/Church, go on to say they don’t want to disrupt, and admit that they did just that, in violation of Canada Criminal Code section 176. Resignations are in order. #standwithGod,” wrote Hildebrandt.
Rebel News founder and editor Ezra Levant called out the Calgary police on Twitter, accusing them of breaking the law.
“This is how you handle police who enter a church without a warrant. They’re lucky they only got a tongue-lashing: s. 176 of the Criminal Code makes it a crime to disturb a church service. Those @CalgaryPolice thugs were breaking the law (and knew it),” Levant tweeted.
Pawlowski told LifeSiteNews he is considering legal action against the authorities who entered his church on Good Friday, but the financial cost for him to do so is high. Thus, he is not sure at this point if he will proceed.
The province of Alberta under its United Conservative Party (UCP) Premier Jason Kenney recently allowed retail businesses an increase in occupancy limits, but offered no such increase to churches, which remain capped at 15 percent.
Pastor James Coates of Grace Life Church in Spruce Grove, Alberta, was jailed for over a month for defying COVID-related orders. He walked out of the Edmonton Remand Centre as a free man on March 22, after a $1,500 fine was paid “as time served.”
Canada-wide, many churches over the Easter weekend opened their doors in defiance of their local COVID health rules, vowing “to stand together in unity and to oppose further lockdowns.”