A government health agency, along with law enforcement, has barricaded a church in Alberta, Canada, as its pastor awaits trial for violating COVID-19 restrictions.
Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church of Edmonton made headlines after he was arrested in February for keeping his church open during the COVID-19 pandemic in violation of public health orders.
Coates would spend one month and six days from jail before being released on March 22.
On Wednesday, Pastor Coates’ wife, Erin, detailed the incident as officials put up a fence around the church.
“They are putting up a private screen on the inside fence. I’ve heard there is a tactical and de-escalation team behind the building because AHS thinks this will cause anger and uproar with our people,” Coates wrote on Instagram. “Oh @albertahealthservices have you not learned who we are by now?”
Despite her husband’s compliance, Erin asked, “why create a narrative to make us look evil?”
“Anyone who shows up on our property taking their moment of fame with MSM and is not in line with how our elders conduct themselves is not a representative of GLC,” she continued.
John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, the law firm representing the church, rebuked the Alberta government for barricading the church and for delaying Coates’ trial, which had initially been set for May 3. The Alberta Government Crown Prosecutor has called for the trial to be postponed until the summer so that the provincial government can gather evidence.
“The government knew in February that this trial was scheduled for May 3,” he noted. “They had enough evidence to shut down hundreds of small businesses, close restaurants, cancel hundreds of necessary surgeries and medical procedures, and force Albertans into a third lockdown, yet they are not ready to present their data in court?”
“We call into question the timing of the Crown to request an adjournment of the May 3 trial,” Carpay continued. “Pastor Coates is defending [the] freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly, which are freedoms exercised by the entire population, not just churchgoers.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Marc Harris/EyeEm
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.