By Jon Brown
March 4, 2022
State legislators introduced a resolution in the Ohio House of Representatives on Tuesday urging the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to add Canada to its special watch list as a Canadian pastor remains jailed.
The resolution, which was introduced by Republican state Reps. Reggie Stoltzfus and Timothy Ginter, was cosponsored by 11 of their colleagues and appealed to the historic legacy of religious liberty in Canada, the United States and Ohio as the basis for their condemnation of how Canadian clergy have recently been treated by authorities.
Since the pandemic, churches throughout Canada have faced imprisoned pastors, locked facilities, steep fines and continued interference from government officials.
Read resolution here:
“We, the members of the House of Representatives of the 134th General Assembly of the State of Ohio, have taken note of the abuses of religious liberty that have gone on throughout the Provinces of Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the resolution reads.
The resolution singled out the ongoing treatment of Pastor Artur Pawlowski, who has been confined at the Calgary Remand Centre for the past three weeks after addressing the anti-vaccine mandate Freedom Convoy blockade along the U.S.-Canada border. Pawlowski’s brother, Dawid Pawlowski, was also arrested on Wednesday for allegedly breaching his bail conditions, according to Rebel News.
The Pawlowski brothers have been repeatedly arrested after Artur Pawlowski refused to limit church attendance in accordance with a court order.
BREAKING: Dawid Pawlowski, the brother of Pastor Artur, has just been arrested for allegedly breaching his bail conditions.
Pastor Art has been in jail for the past 3 weeks for similar allegations.
— Rebel News (@RebelNewsOnline) March 2, 2022
The resolution also pinpointed the treatment of Pastor James Coates of Edmonton, Alberta, who was the first Canadian clergyman to be jailed in the name of public health when he was imprisoned for more than a month last year after keeping his church open.
The resolution also referred to Pastor Tobias Tissen of rural Steinbach, Manitoba, who was arrested in October after holding church services in violation of a provincial public health order banning outdoor gatherings of more than five people, according to the CBC.
The resolution went on to denounce Canada’s Bill C-4, which prompted protest from approximately 5,000 Canadian and American churches, whose pastors devoted their sermons on Jan. 16 to condemning the legislation, which carries a potential five-year jail sentence for counseling that does not affirm homosexuality and transgender identity.
“This act is overly broad in scope and has potential negative implications for religious liberties and expression, including a prison sentence of up to five years for merely expressing a biblical view of marriage, thus restricting the ability of religious leaders from expressing sincerely held religious beliefs on marriage and sexuality,” the resolution said.
The resolution echoes a call from Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who sent a letter to USCIRF last June urging it to consider adding Canada to its special watch list. The letter came after Pastor Tim Stephens of Calgary was arrested for the second time when a police helicopter found his Fairview Baptist Church gathering outside.
Over the weekend, Hawley reiterated his call for Canada to be added to the list.