Pastor Artur Pawlowski called six officials — Calgary Police Service (CPS), Alberta Health Services (AHS) and City of Calgary Bylaw Services — “Nazis,” and kicked them out of The Fortress (Cave) of Adullam after they responded to concerns about COVID-19 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on April 3, reports CTV News.
Pawlowski was praised by evangelical leader Franklin Graham who normally supports the police (especially when they have been accused of killing a civilian) who mangled the facts on Facebook:
I don’t know who this pastor is, but I kinda like him! I appreciate his boldness and tenacity in standing up for the rights of his church when police showed up without a search warrant. You can watch his cell phone video in this Fox News link. This is a reminder that, if we’re not careful, the coronavirus pandemic could turn the entire world into a police state. I am not saying that we should break the law, but I am saying that we must be careful to defend our rights and our freedoms—or we will lose them. We have seen this happen throughout history, so let’s be on guard against it happening to us.
Pawlowski called the officials “gestapo” and “communists,” and tried to paint them as a danger to his congregation to the Toronto Sun:
This is a place of worship and no place for weapons,. We have people praying here. They were scaring the kids. This was passover. This is Easter.
The Calgary Herald reports that Pawlowski has been fined multiple times over COVID-19 violations (a true danger to the lives of churchgoers).
Churches are allowed to hold services, but have to keep attendance below 15% and follow standard guidelines like wearing masks.
Alberta Health Services defended their presence at the church:
Our inspectors have an important job to do and we ask that business owners and organizations treat them with respect. We stand by all of our public health inspectors who are doing an incredible job in trying and challenging circumstances.
We expect that all places of worship across Alberta follow the CMOH restrictions and we thank everyone who continues to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 this holiday weekend and throughout the pandemic.
The Calgary Police tweeted a statement that explained why officers were present at the church:
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 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. 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...
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.