Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers prevented a church from holding a drive-in worship service by blocking the entrance with their squad cars.
The Church of God Steinbach in rural Manitoba shared a video on Facebook Sunday showing police cars lined up along the roadside in an effort to prevent anyone from entering the church’s parking lot.
The church was fined $5,000 the week prior for holding an indoor worship service despite restrictions due to the coronavirus. Senior Pastor Henry Hildebrandt asked why the government has banned worship services but is permitting “liquor, cannabis, and department stores” to stay open.
“This principle is not just about in-person services. This is a wholesale attack on faith and the freedom of the church to do its God-called duty,” Pastor Hildebrandt declared.
Church on Highway 12 at the RCMP barricade pic.twitter.com/XCKrvI0waV
— Pastor Henry Hildebrandt (@aylmerpastor) November 29, 2020
The pastor called efforts by police, a “fear-mongering tactic,” adding that churches have the right and freedom to assemble.
“Yesterday evening, the Manitoba government deemed drive-in services to be illegal,” the church wrote on Facebook. “This worship service will be held in protest of these tyrannical edicts. Make no mistake, this is not about a virus.”
“God has given us the right to worship Him together and He wants to see His people united,” the pastor said. “It seems like we’re living in a different Canada. It’s very heartbreaking to me.”
Last month, Canada’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry suspended all in-person religious gatherings in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Henry’s decision was met with immediate criticism, including from Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver J. Michael Miller, who called the move “puzzling,” noting parishes have not seen substantial viral spread.
A Bold Breach of Provincial Orders
And one Canadian reporter apparently camped out at a church in British Columbia over the weekend to count how many people went to a worship service – a “bold breach” of provincial orders.
CBC News’ Georgie Smyth announced she counted “more than 60 people inside this church in Chilliwack,” a development she described as “a bold breach of provincial health orders to suspend gatherings due to record high Covid cases.”
In a letter shared last week, Hildebrandt stressed that while “the Bible teaches Christians to be good citizens and obey the reasonable demands of our government,” however, it does not “teach blind obedience to the authorities when onerous restrictions are placed on our freedoms.”
STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE FREE CBN NEWS APP
Click Here Get the App with Special Alerts on Breaking News and Top Stories