On April 7, the property of GraceLife Church in Alberta was impounded by the government at the behest of Alberta Health Services (AHS). With a heavy show of force that included police and RCMP, authorities confiscated the church’s property and erected three layers of chain link security fencing and a black tarp to obscure the entrance. The church has not followed the Covid-19 lockdown rules that limit church services to 15% building capacity and require masks and social distancing, contending that the rules restrict their ability to practice their faith. The senior pastor, James Coates, was arrested on February 16 and jailed for a draconian 35 days. He was released on March 22 but still faces a court appearance. The church continued to hold services during his incarceration. John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, the law firm representing the church, released the following statement on April 7: “The Alberta government has known for many months that it will be called to publicly account before the judiciary for its lockdown destruction of the Alberta economy and trampling of Albertan’s civil liberties. Freedom of conscience and religion is the first fundamental freedom listed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is listed first because it is one of the key bedrock principles on which Canada is built. The government has so far refused to justify the limits on worship and gathering. Health orders are inconsistent, differing from province to province, and arbitrarily created by one public health official who is under no obligation legally to advise the legislatures of the science and rationale which supposedly are the basis of the orders.” John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in California said it is “amazing to see an underground church in Canada.” MacArthur said, “This is a first for the Western world, to have the government lock out believers from a church” (“MacArthur Commends ‘Underground Church in Canada,’” The Daily Wire, Apr. 12, 2001). Of the 160,000 who have tested positive for Covid in Alberta, 2,000 have died, a fatality rate of 1.25%, but of course since only a portion of the population has been tested and since a high percentage of those infected with Covid are asymptomatic, the fatality rate is lower, probably much lower. The average age of the fatalities in Alberta is 81! Even the latest permeations of Covid hold small danger to young people. Currently there are 376 hospitalized with Covid and 90 in ICU (alberta.ca/stats). What the authorities promoting the lockdowns are not doing, it appears, is to look at the whole picture: human liberty, economy, mental health, the myriad of other medical issues beyond Covid, whether lockdowns are even effective, etc.
(Friday Church News Notes, April 16, 2021, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)