A Church in Manitoba intending to have a drive-in service had their church service crashed by Law Enforcement officials who used their squad cars to disrupt the planned event and physically prevent them from gathering, threatening massive fines for anyone who dared to drive their vehicle onto the church parking lot.
The move to physically restrain congregants from attending a drive-in church service, where everyone stays in their cars with windows rolled up to listen to a sermon piped through the radio using an FM transmitter, is yet another escalation from a supposedly “Conservative” government who has gone to war with the Church of God in Steinbach, for defying the government mandate that prohibits the gathering of 5 or more people, either inside or outside, after the province recorded more than 13,000 cases of COVID-19 and 200 dead.
The church in rural Manitoba initially planned to have an indoor service but chose to have an outdoor drive-in one after being fined $5000 the week before for being open.
As a result of the planned action, The RCMP set up a roadblock outside the entrance to the church parking lot and informed the 100 member congregation that anyone entering would fined $1296. One man insisted that he would not be backing down, and was swiftly issued the pricy fine, but other vehicles stayed outside on lot on the main road to try to stay within distance of the FM receiver.
During the service one of their ministers, Tobias Thiessen railed against the police and the government, saying that the officers and government were not just persecuting them, but were persecuting God.
The Church of God is one of 4 churches in Canada, with another one being located in Aylmer, Ontario, whose pastor Henry Hildebrandt also had a similar encounter with RCMP back in May.
The Church of God argues, however, that the restrictions are an infringement of the Charter of Rights And Freedoms which guarantees the right to peacefully assemble and the right of association. They also say they are being discriminated against given that other people are allowed to congregate in parking lots to purchases alcohol or marijuana from stores which are open after being deemed “essential.”
Hildebrandt said in a statement about the Steinbach Church:
The question is, what is essential? If faith and the communal expression of faith is not essential during times of crisis, is this an attack on faith? We are not asking for special treatment, just equal treatment.
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.
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, defended liquor stores and cannabis stores being open, saying that failure to have them open and give people access to booze and weed could result in “unintended consequences” that “would do more harm than good.”
Editor’s note. We use the term “church” loosely in this article. Given they have several extremely aberrant theologies, they do not qualify as a biblical church and no one should be attending their services.
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