(by Ryan Foley | The Christian Post) – A prominent pastor who’s had several run-ins with Canadian authorities for violating ongoing coronavirus restrictions was ordered to pay crippling fines and give up his free speech rights as part of a probation agreement to avoid jail time.
Artur Pawlowski, the outspoken pastor of Street Church and The Cave of Adullam in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, avoided being sentenced to time in jail during his sentencing hearing Wednesday, but was ordered to pay $23,000 in fines and undergo 18 months of probation for violating court orders and coronavirus restrictions that prohibited him from holding in-person church services.
The terms of the probation include 120 hours of community service, restrictions on his ability to leave the province of Alberta, and what his lawyer described as “suppression of freedom of expression.”
In the written decision released Friday, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Adam Germain mandated that “when [Pawlowski] is exercising his right of free speech and speaking against [Alberta Health Services] Health Orders and AHS health recommendations in a public gathering or public forum (including electronic social media),” he must issue an addendum.
“I am aware that the views I am expressing to you on this occasion may not be views held by the majority of medical experts in Alberta. While I may disagree with them, I am obliged to inform you that the majority of medical experts favor social distancing, mask-wearing, and avoiding large crowds to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” the addendum reads in part.
“Most medical experts also support participation in a vaccination program unless for a valid religious or medical reason you cannot be vaccinated. Vaccinations have been shown statistically to save lives and to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.”
Rebel News, a media organization working to assist Pawlowski with a “Save Artur” campaign, covered the hearing Wednesday. Pawlowski spoke to Rebel News outside the courthouse following the sentencing, telling the news outlet that, “Basically, what the judge is saying is that I cannot be a pastor anymore.”
He added: “For 18 months, I have to give up my rights, I have to give up my convictions, I have to give up my faith and I cannot participate in anything that I believe in.”
Pastor Artur Pawlowski reacts to his sentencing live on air: “every time I open my mouth to the public, I have to lie.”
— Rebel News (@RebelNewsOnline) October 13, 2021
“Every time I open my mouth to the public, I have to lie to the public,” he said, noting that he’ll be required to assert that “vaccinations are saving lives, that masks work, that doctors and scientists are all for the restrictions.” He characterized the latter statement as a “lie,” lamenting that now “I have to lie.” Read Full Article >