I am purposely not re-posting the CBC and other mainstream articles on these heroic men because the mainstream media is slanted against religious freedom. The CBC is a mouthpiece for an oppressive state apparatus. It should be defunded: like Pravda, the CBC is the state-run propaganda machine.
Rebel News, in contrast, has been a leader in standing up for the principle of freedom in Canada, both in terms of reporting and legal support for heroic Christian pastors.
The pastors I’m aware of are Phil Hutchings, James Coates, Tim Stephens, and Artur Pawloski — all arrested for the same thing: not bowing down to the state when it violated freedom of religion. I am attaching some Rebel News stories on them below. I have posted on Hutchings’ story previously.
In Canada, freedom of religion is supposed to be protected under the Canadian Chart of Rights and Freedoms, section 2(a): 2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion.
The problem is that the government has put in a loophole for “emergency orders” — which they’ve abused for almost two years now, to enforce lockdowns and through state intrusions onto religious services. Now we have vax passports which fake Christian churches are sinfully self-enforcing while pretending it’s a virtue.
True human rights are universal and inalienable — meaning they apply to everyone and cannot be taken away for any reason. So the state is wrong to provide loopholes.
Freedom of religion — which includes fellowship and the embodied ritual elements of the faith (e.g. sacraments) are being violated by lockdowns, restrictions on numbers, mask mandates, and tracking parishioners — and legally persecuting them through large fines.
This is a clear violation of the Enlightenment principle of freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly (stemming from Natural Law and pure practical reason a priori) that the Charter is based on. But it is done through deception, the pretense that it’s about public health. In fact, it’s the Great Reset, and true Christianity is not part of that, from Trudeau’s perspective. In fact, Christians are a threat to this godless worldview.
By “fake” I mean they are not true Christians in the sense that they do not welcome all who seek Christ into their church.
If Jesus Himself showed up, they’d turn Him away. In rejecting people they are rejecting Christ: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matt 25:40)
They will make obedient servants of the state-run version of the church, similar to the state corrupt of the church in China (they have even started re-writing the Bible there. See this article on it.
Here are some of my previous articles and postings on the Christian duty to nonviolently resist medical tyranny, and comparison with past Christian martyrs persecuted by the state:
Medical tyranny as a test of Christian faith: a sermon
A Christian argument against Covid restrictions
Emperor Nero unjustly blamed the early Christians for burning Rome. A similar scapegoating, orchestrated by modern despots, is now happening to the unvaccinated
The Roman Catholic Church is wrong to impose vaccine mandates on employees: one Christian’s opinion
The Roman Catholic Church should stand up against the scapegoating of the unvaccinated, consistent with its own teachings on social justice.
Systemic discrimination against the unvaccinated is correctly compared with the worst examples from history
Pastor Phil Hutchings
Pastor Phil Hutchings of His Tabernacle Family Church was arrested for refusing to enforce COVID restrictions on his congregation.
by Rebel News, Oct. 15, 2021
Places of worship in the Atlantic province are required to enforce contact tracing, masking, social distancing, along with a restriction on capacity limits and a prohibition on singing.
Pastor Phil will be held in provincial custody until his next hearing, scheduled for October 22.
His Tabernacle Family Church was ordered closed on Thanksgiving Monday, with some regions in the province being thrown into a 14-day “circuit breaker” lockdown ahead of the holiday long weekend. Another pastor at the church, Cody Butler, was arrested on Thanksgiving Sunday while delivering his sermon.
Butler was later released after agreeing to terms with a court.
If you’re interested in showing your support for Pastor Phil Hutchings, you can sign our petition at SavePastorPhil.com. To donate towards helping Pastor Phil fight his charges, visit FightTheFines.com. Donations made to Fight The Fines are eligible for a tax receipt through The Democracy Fund, a registered Canadian charity.
After being jailed for refusing to comply with New Brunswick’s COVID restrictions, Pastor Phil Hutchings discusses his treatment, jailing, and the ‘amazing’ support he’s received since His Tabernacle church made headlines.
by Sheila Gunn Reid, Rebel News, Dec. 09, 2021
Pastor Phil Hutchings of His Tabernacle Church in Saint John, New Brunswick spent over seven days in jail for the crime of allowing his congregation to gather freely in the face of COVID places of worship.
The shocking story of what happened to Pastor Phil, his church, and his associate pastor, Cody Butler, has been wildly underreported given the extent of government overreach involved.
The church itself was repeatedly surveilled by local police and health authorities, with services interrupted when officials barged in to check for COVID compliance.
The restrictions at the time in New Brunswick forbade singing in church, required mask-wearing, and forced congregants to social distance and respect capacity limits. Butler was even arrested while preaching on Thanksgiving Sunday. Hutchings’s family was harassed at his home.
But it didn’t stop there.
Hutchings was then summoned to court, where he was held in contempt of a court order requiring him to abide by public health restrictions. Hutchings then spent seven days in jail, in isolation.
Hutchings joined other Canadian pastors who met the same fate of incarceration at the hands of a judge. Tim Stephens, Artur Pawlowski, and James Coates all spent varying lengths of time behind bars for obeying their conscience and their interpretation of holy scripture over the lockdown restriction of the day.
Pastor Phil Hutchings and his family are receiving much-needed legal help at no cost to them in partnership with the registered Canadian charity The Democracy Fund. Hutchings is out now, but his freedom is still at risk and the courts in New Brunswick want to lock him up again for honouring God before the government.
Pastor Phil spent seven days in jail for refusing to follow the province’s COVID-19 protocols at his church.
by Mocha Bezirgan, Rebel News, Oct. 26, 2021
Saint John pastor Phil Hutchings was released from jail after his court date Friday. His release was conditional upon him agreeing to abide by a number of conditions imposed by the court, which included a promise to abide by all of the province’s COVID-19 public health protocols.
Pastor Phil, of His Tabernacle Family Church, spent seven days in jail for defying a court order to follow the province’s COVID-19 protocols at his church.
Previously, His Tabernacle associate Pastor Cody Butler was arrested during church services on Thanksgiving Sunday. The church was subsequently ordered to close the next day.
Hutchings had also posted a video and images to his personal Facebook page showing police repeatedly visiting his home.
I was there on the scene to report on Pastor Phil’s court appearance, but unfortunately the sheriff refused to let me in the courthouse — because apparently, Rebel News is not real media — even though a federal court has twice ruled that we are. I reported from outside the courthouse all the same, and was there for the moment that Pastor Phil walked out as a (sort of) free man.
Pastor James Coates
by Rebel News, May 03, 2021
Rebel News reporter Sheila Gunn Reid watched and live-tweeting the first day (May 3, 2021) of the trial of Pastor James Coates, who allegedly violated public health orders by not limiting his GraceLife Church congregation.
Coates is represented by Leighton Grey and James Kitchen of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.
Here’s what Sheila noted from the morning session:
(12:09 PM ET / 10:09 AM MT) Side note: lawyer for JCCF repping Coates, James Kitchen, is not wearing a mask. Had to explain to the court that he was medically exempt. Judge reminds him that he can attend remotely. Kitchen declines.
The courtroom is at capacity. The first witness in Coates trial: Janine Hanrahan from Alberta Health Services – she’s a health inspector. Been on the job 8 years. 2.5 with AHS.
Going through her educational experience now.
AHS inspector Janine Hanrahan says that she responded to GraceLife Church based on complaints about non-compliance at the church first on November 22nd, 2020.
AHS’s Hanrahan says she made recommendations to Coates after entering the church for an inspection ON A SUNDAY (?)
Says she saw people not social distancing, no masks, overcapacity. Saw evidence of sanitization supplies. Coates told her he didn’t want to police congregation
The next visit to GraceLife from AHS inspector Hanrahan during church services came on Dec 13. This time she brought with her RCMP, for some reason. She says she saw groups of people visiting in the lobby. She complains that people were videotaping the RCMP that day.
AHS’s Hanrahan says she went to the balcony to observe the number of people in the sanctuary. She points out the music ministry wasn’t wearing face masks when they sang from the stage. (This indicates Hanrahan was inside the church disrupting a religious service in progress)
Hanrahan did not meet with Coates during her disruption of the Dec 13 services at GraceLife
Court playing video now as evidence. The video was taken by AHS inspector hand when she visited the church on December 13, 2020, and interrupted services along with RCMP officers she requested to accompany her. The video is of a robust GraceLife congregation singing in the sanctuary.
Hanrahan testifies GraceLife was issued a work order on Dec 17 by AHS compelling them to operate within a covid mitigation plan and bring the church up to compliance. [Hanrahan] testifies she saw no evidence of compliance on Dec 20, 2020 – another Sunday inspection with cops
December 20th, Hanrahan testifies that GraceLife elders reminded her and the RCMP that it is a criminal offense to disrupt a church. She didn’t seem to heed their protestations. However, she put away her camera at this visit.
Hanrahan says she was told repeatedly that it is a criminal offense to disrupt a church service on Dec 20th. She testifies she told GraceLife elders & Coates that it wasn’t her intent to disrupt service. (Me: But that’s actually what you do when you show up with two cops)
Hanrahan is testifying that she saw people touching each other in the lobby of the church on December 20th. She didn’t enter the sanctuary but she did observe it from the balcony at 1045 am. (That’s during GraceLife’s Bible study. So she interrupted a religious service)
December 20th the GraceLife congregation showed appreciation and offered applause for the RCMP who accompanied AHS inspector Hanrahan.
Hanrahan is now testifying about things she eavesdropped on at GraceLife. Says she overheard someone call Hinshaw a dictator and said Kenney is hiding behind her. She didn’t hear pandemic denial however she did hear people say the pandemic isn’t going away.
Hanrahan said she left because people started to sing at the Church. Says she didn’t want to potentially get covid.
Crown is done with AHS inspector Hanrahan.
Leighton Grey for the JCCF will cross-examine her after a short break. Here’s what Sheila tweeted after the break:
(1:08 PM ET / 11:08 AM MT) Court back in session:
Leighton Grey cross-examining AHS’s Hanrahan. Hanrahan admits that she did not visit Grace Life between her initial contact in July of 2020 and November of 2020. Admits her interest was revived after complaints from the public.
AHS’s Hanrahan admits to Grey that in all of her contact with GraceLife she was not aware of any covid possible cases at GraceLife… outside of the two related to the church that GraceLife reported on their own, when they moved to online services for 2 weeks in July.
Grey confronts Hanrahan with a conversation she had with James Coates, where Coates tells her she’s violating his Charter rights and interrupting a church service in contravention of the criminal code.
Grey makes Hanrahan explain why she repeatedly had RCMP officers attend with her to the church. Grey confronts her with notes from an RCMP officer who said Hanrahan told him she feared she would be harmed. Hanrahan says perhaps the cop misunderstood her remarks.
Grey forces Hanrahan to admit that she didn’t have any concerns that anyone from the church would hurt her. Hanrahan says what changed was media attention. ([Sheila’s commentary]: So was bringing the cops all theatre for the media?)
Grey: did you hear Pastor Coates thank the police officers for their professionalism? Re: Dec 2020 visit
Grey: you’ve described some of these activities as risky (people singing re: the asymptomatic spread of covid-19). Were you told by your employers (AHS) that singing was a risky behavior?
Grey: You took that as face value?
Hanrahan: the science made sense to me
Grey: were you trained on the actual effectiveness of masks on the spread of covid-19?
Hanrahan: we were given guidance
Grey: the same would apply to physical distancing?
Grey: What about 2 meters vs 3?
Hanrahan: I read about it myself
Grey: you said you questioned the reliability of some information about covid19?
Grey: but what about the information given to you by your employer?
Grey: you didn’t question that?
Hanrahan: yes because it’s the law.
Grey: you see your role as an inspector?
Grey: and when you discover violations you go back and you make recommendations for those things to be changed, and then if there isn’t compliance, you make a recommendation for violations tickets?
Grey: you see your role as someone who’s helping the public?
Grey: so the fire code capacity information that you have is based on the self-reporting from GraceLife Church? Second-hand information, wasn’t it? You didn’t collect the data yourself, did you?
Grey: it’s possible that information is wrong?
Hanrahan: I assumed
Hanrahan admits that the information she has about the fire code capacity at GraceLife could be wrong.
Grey: you said something odd in your notes. You said clapping/cheering for RCMP at GL could lead to covid spread.
Grey: did AHS tell you that?
Grey: so that’s your own theory?
Grey: did you read that in any studies?
Grey: Can you appreciate how forcing the GL congregation to be 6 ft apart might interfere with their experience? Can you understand how these folks might feel that this is interfering with their experience of the service?
Grey agrees to rephrase
Grey: enforcing the 15% capacity regulation would mean that 85% of the congregation would need to be removed. That was your expectation?
That 85% of people who wanted to be there would be excluded from fellowship, and worship, and prayer?
Grey: so this isn’t just about restricting the number of people that can be in the church but also what those people can do (clapping singing cheering hugging)
Grey: you thought it was important to take note of something Coates said to a police officer about the charter of rights and freedoms.
Hanrahan: it made me assume that we were not going to get compliance
Grey: did you ask?
Hanrahan: no I assumed.
Hanrahan is done.
Crown isn’t going to call two police officers as witnesses.
Defence does not object.
Charter issues being dealt with now. Defence filed a notice April 14 2021.
Legal wrangling happening.
(Leighton Grey, with the JCCF, is the indigenous lawyer who was attacked by the left and gave up his appointment to Provincial Court Nominating Committee because he called BLM a Marxist lie. A bunch of privileged white busy bodies tried to ruin his career)
Court in break again.
Court returned from break, only to break again for lunch.
(2:27 PM ET / 12:27PM MT)
oh oh – the judge is talking about some of the reporting by the media. That’s probably me.
(FYI: I did submit by undertaking by a non-lawyer to the media liaison this morning. Did not receive any advice not to tweet. In fact, I informed the media contact I would be tweeting)
ok, The judge has advised we can continue to report/tweet/talk about evidence.
This is a blended voir dire – a mini-trial within a trial dealing with multiple issues of evidence
Crown’s application to dismiss the charter notice filed by Coates legal team is dismissed. Great news for Coates.
The court is adjourning for lunch. Time to return 1000 emails.
Court returns and Pastor Coates is called as a witness.
(4:01pm ET / 2:01pm MT) Court is back
Leighton Grey calls Pastor James Coates as his first witness.
Coates choses to affirm his oath on the Bible. Naturally
Pastor Coates details his backstory. He’s from Ontario (I don’t hold it against him). Parents are divorced. Didn’t grow up in a Christian home. Studied kinesiology in university in a 4 years honors program.
Coates is talking about how he came to Christ. Said his mom was saved first. Felt his life was unraveling morally in university (party lifestyle etc) before he found God.
Coates describes going to seminary in LA at age 27 for 3 yrs. He’s 41 now
He came here straight from seminary to Grace Reformed Baptist, now called GraceLife, before GraceLife even had a building. Initially met at a hotel, then a school, before the building in Spruce Grove
Coates describes the doctrinal theology of GraceLife. There is a doctrinal statement being admitted as evidence.
Coates describes the doctrine of GraceLife as that of a Trinitarian theology, with specific views on the nature of salvation and eschatology.
Describes Jesus Christ as the head of his church.
Coates describes the efforts he takes to be biblically accurate in his sermons. To be precise.
Describes his congregation as being “commanded to sing”, describes singing as a “matter of obedience”, a critical way to express “worship”, “love and adoration”
Coates is now describing the importance of in-person meeting
When we come together on Sunday “it is a critical time and the most important time..have set aside other meetings. We put all of our attention on the Sunday gathering because it is something we could not compromise”
Coates describes his role as a shepherd of a flock to bring his flock closer to Christ, as a counselor. He must be a preacher of the Gospel of Christ and build congregants up in the teachings of Christ so they can reach spiritual maturity. Says his job is to glorify God.
(Coates complains about the difficulty of trying to testify while wearing a mask)
Coates describes the beginning of the pandemic as a difficult time for his congregation as they tried to navigate uncertainty.
Says realized after that it wasn’t as bad as foreshadowed.
Describes initial govt modeling of the pandemic as wrong. And an overreaction.
Coates says mask violates his religious freedom. Says that being forced to request his congregation to wear masks, and if they don’t, he must ask them to leave, is a violation of his conscience.
Disputes efficacy of the masks. Calls them a hindrance to communication.
Coates says mask inhibits his ability to sing, express thoughts and feelings, read facial expressions
Calls it a violation of his free expression and a deterrent to communication.
Coates calls social distancing a violation of his free association.
Coates calls enforcement of 15% of fire code capacity restrictions “pastoral malpractice”
Calls virtual services “altering what worshiping is”
Describes it as a major interference
“I went to jail for it”
Coates details the 2 cases of individuals at the church who had positive PCR tests. Church did their own contact tracing. No one who had been in contact became sick. Church shut for 2 Sundays.
Then they opened for 37 Sundays without a single case
Coates tells Grey they never wanted this public position. Says the visits from AHS and RCMP were disruptive, “with Janine looking down from the balcony during Sunday school.” The media were eavesdropping on their services to report in a negative light.
Grey: why did you not limit the church capacity?
Coates: I couldn’t. Because doing that would be saying that we wouldn’t allow people to come to worship.
Coates says: “Conviction. Conscience. Obedience to Christ. It would be sinful to tell people they could not come”
Grey: why did you go to jail?
Coates: RCMP used a tool to bring me into compliance. That tool being the undertaking. I was in violation of a condition I never agreed to.
Grey: what was that condition?
Coates: that I couldn’t set foot in the church grounds unless we complied
Grey: Why didn’t you just comply?
[Coates]: to comply ( to limit the church) would be to sin against God.
Coates is describing his time at the Remand Center for 35 days. Says he could have walked out of the Remand at any time if he would agree to comply with AHS orders.
“On conviction and conscience, I couldn’t do anything but what I did”
“it was hard on the body to be in prison”
Coates says he lost 10 pounds while in the Remand. Coates says his experience in jail is exactly why a virtual church doesn’t work.
Could see his family sometimes online in the form of a visit but that was not the same as being with them in person.
Coates: “I think this has been a challenging season for our church but the Lord is using it. We have experienced a lot of vitriol. We have been (in some respect) mistreated by the media.”
Describes how congregants have been faced with keeping their jobs or their church life.
Coates: “The media fear-mongers the people into believing the narrative and the Charter is being pushed aside. The long-term ramifications of that are deeply concerning to me.”
Coates: I don’t think this virus poses a real threat to our people… I take in media that provides good exposure to both sides of the debate.
“Janine (Hanrahan) thinks AHS has a monopoly on science”
on break from court. Just in time for the Rebel afternoon staff meeting. Alright
Court returns after a short break.
(5:23 PM ET / 3:23 PM MT)
Court is back. Coates now being cross-examined by “unnamed prosecutor”
Describes the difference between himself and elders. Different roles. Equal authority
Crown: do you not think you’re living in a pandemic?
Coates: the definition of pandemic has changed over the last 10 years.
Crown: did you follow the CMOH order on capacity?
Crown: do you doubt the accuracy of the PCR rest?
Coates: Austria has ruled against the use of it. The creator of the test said it was never intended for diagnostics of a viral infection
(That checks out btw)
Crown: you don’t believe the PCR rest is accurate?
Crown: so you won’t get tested?
Coates: I have been tested with a PCR test, twice.
Coates describes both times.
Crown is now going through the visits from AHS/RCMP. Crown trying to downplay their presence. Disrupting the service is illegal
Crown: but you were still able to conduct a service?
Coates: by God’s grace, yes.
Crown: so people socialize after services?
Coates: it’s more than socializing. It’s fellowship. Socializing is talking about the Oilers game. This is talking about spiritual life.
Coates regarding the first ticket he received: “it was clear they (RCMP) did not want to be there and did not want to give that ticket. Our interaction was very cordial”
Crown: because of the rising case counts, children cannot go to school. Do you recognize that?
Coates: that’s a govt decision.
Crown: children used to be able to go to school, remember that?
Coates: children are at a very low risk of having serious effects from covid-19.
“What’s the value of this line of questioning?”
Crown: more people are coming to the church now?
Coates: the more people who come to GraceLife the most responsibility we have to the people. We wish more churches were open.
Ok, court is breaking for the day in the trial of James Coates for breaching the public health order restrictions on places of worship. He served 35 days in jail and the province has currently confiscated the church.
Back here tomorrow same time. 930am MST to as late as 5. Okay that’s a wrap. Court is adjourned until June 7th 9:30 in Stony Plain Provincial Court where the judge will bring down his decision on the charter arguments made today. He’ll decide if Pastor Coates rights were violated and if so what those remedies are.
by Adam Soos, Rebel News, June 15, 2021
Pastor Tim Stephens was arrested on Monday afternoon on new charges, after Fairview Baptist Church gathered for underground worship for the second week in a row since their church was effectively seized by Alberta Health Services last Saturday.
Alberta authorities were forced to drop other charges against Pastor Tim last month, after discovering that Alberta Health Services never served Pastor Stephens with the court order he was accused of having violated, a requirement under the order. That effectively ended the case against Pastor Tim, but he will now be facing another legal battle.
On Tuesday, Rebel News reported that Pastor Tim will be held in prison until June 28 due to his refusal to sign bail conditions that would limit his ability to gather with his congregants.https://rumble.com/embed/vfywgl/?pub=B8C3X
Over the weekend, an ever-growing crowd gathered at the undisclosed location for services and shared the word, sang songs of praise and heard Pastor Tim preach.
As worship progressed, a police helicopter discovered the gathered congregation.
It is unclear if police were actually searching for the group or simply happened upon it, as the helicopter was significantly north of the location of worship and continued towards the city. It wasn’t until several minutes later that the helicopter returned and completed repeated passes overhead.
Minutes later, police vehicles were seen circling the location, but they never moved in to interrupt worship or make arrests.
Ironically, all efforts to suppress worship by Alberta Health Services, whether at Pastor Artur Pawlowski’s or Pastor Tim’s church have only served to significantly bolster church attendance. As public health restrictions continue to be relaxed, these churches are not facing defeat at the hands of overreaching officials, quite the opposite — they are stronger and larger than ever before.
Despite worship continuing, Pastor Tim was arrested in front of his family on Monday. He is fortunate to be represented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, who will be working for his immediate release.
Moments ago, Justice Jo’Anne Strekaf of the Alberta Court of Appeal threw out the unconstitutional sentence that a lower-court judge had imposed on Pastor Artur Pawlowski, his brother Dawid Pawlowski, and Alberta businessman Chris Scott.
Effective immediately, they no longer have to denounce themselves after any criticism of the government’s lockdowns.
That bizarre order — that they were forced to say official government propaganda after every time they criticized the government — was part of an abusive, anti-Christian sentence meted out last month by Justice Adam Germain.
Click here to learn more about today’s proceedings.
The saga of Pastor Artur Pawlowski is one of the biggest stories that Rebel News has ever covered.
Pastor Artur became an internationally recognized symbol of opposition to unjust mandates and a defender of fundamental religious freedoms the likes of which Canada has rarely, if ever, seen.
Since the onset of Covid-19, there has likely been no single individual who has garnered so much international attention and notoriety as Pastor Artur.
You will no doubt recall the infamous and viral “get out” video, and the dramatic arrest footage both at the side of the road and at the airport, but the Pawlowski’s run-ins with authorities go back much further than that.
Since 2005 Artur and his family have endured ongoing legal battles with authorities for daring to feed the homeless, preaching the bible, and most recently for daring to open their church for all to worship despite Covid-19 restrictions.
Pastor Artur was our very first FightTheFines.com client, and since then we have launched saveartur.com, an initiative that has enabled us to crowdfund and cover all of Pastor Artur’s legal costs, allowing him to focus on his mission as a pastor rather than worrying about paying for his legal defense.
Pastor Artur has endured repeated arrests, alleged attempted arsons and property damage, a public assault, and countless other hardships over the past two years the likes of which most of us will never see in an entire lifetime.
Rebel News has been there by Artur’s side since the very beginning, and we have covered his story like nobody else.
When mainstream media outlets spun the story or outright ignored it, we were on the ground bringing you the truth.
[Below are more articles by Rebel News on Pastor Artur – a story they covered extensively insofar as Rebel News also provided his legal support.]