Canadian police officers stopped a church congregation from holding a drive-in worship service on Sunday morning in Manitoba.
However, cars lined up outside the lot to hear the pastor deliver his sermon from a stage through a radio broadcast.
“The church in rural Manitoba had received a $5,000 ticket last week for conducting a service despite COVID-19-related restrictions. But it said it will still hold a service on Sunday ‘in protest of these tyrannical edicts,’” the Post article read.
In the Facebook video, the person recording told viewers, “As you can see, the police have decided to not allow us to have service this morning. We have speakers set up and are playing songs.”
“Police have showed up in droves to decide that they’re not going to let us have service this morning in glorious and free Canada. Can you believe it?” he asked.
The church also shared photos of the cars backed up on the highway and several police officers.
Following the incident, minister Tobias Tissen told CBC News, “We’re proud to stand for religious freedom. We’re all one human family and we’re made to come together to worship.”
“Being alone at home and watching a virtual service does not replace worship,” he noted.
In an open letter, senior pastor Heinrich Hildebrandt said last week that “the Bible teaches Christians to be good citizens and obey the reasonable demands of our government,” but it does not “teach blind obedience to the authorities when onerous restrictions are placed on our freedoms.”
“We are not asking for special treatment, just equal treatment,” he continued, adding that businesses such as liquor stores and Walmart were permitted to stay open:
It is our faith community that is singled out for public criticism, media attention, and visits by the RCMP, Manitoba Public Health and local bylaw enforcement. There must be an allowable expression of faith that is deemed essential while we are allowing the sale of products at establishments that exist solely for the sale of alcohol, coffee, donuts, cannabis, and fast food.
Although the pastor is grateful for the police, he encouraged them to resist enforcing “draconian and unconstitutional orders,” the Post article said.