A pastor and political activist in Canada went viral Easter weekend for screaming at police to leave church property. On Saturday, Artur Pawlowski, pastor of the Street Church in Calgary, Alberta, chased away six police officers and a health inspector who showed up during a worship service.
“Immediately go out and don’t come back,” Pawlowski shouted. “I don’t care what you have to say. Out! Out! Out of this property, you Nazis.” The Polish-Canadian pastor later posted video of the confrontation online, thanked supporters, and requested donations for his church.
Though police issued no tickets Saturday, Pawlowski has been fined during the pandemic for violating public health orders. In Calgary, churches may meet for in-person worship but at only 15 percent capacity, and face masks are mandatory.
Pastor Artur Pawlowski: ‘How dare they?’
An irate Pawlowski demanded that authorities leave the premises, hollering, “Do not come back without a warrant.” As officers walked away, the pastor continued filming, calling them “unbelievable sick, evil people” and “Gestapo, Nazi, communist fascists.”
Speaking into the camera, Pawlowski said, “Can you imagine those psychopaths? Passover. The holiest Christian festival of the year, and they’re coming to intimidate Christians during the holiest festival? Unbelievable. What is wrong with those sick psychopaths? It’s beyond me. How dare they.”
The pastor, who has been leading religious-freedom marches in Calgary, continued: “We’re living in a total takeover of the government with their thugs, goons, the brown shirts, the Gestapo wannabe dictators. Coming to the church armed with guns and Tasers and handcuffs to intimidate during Passover celebration? … They want to enslave us all like the Egyptians did. They want to be the Pharaohs of today … People, if you don’t stand up, wake up, I don’t know what will happen tomorrow.”
On Easter Sunday, Pawlowski posted on Facebook: “Wow! In just 24 hours the video of the attack on our Church by the authorities has been literally seen by millions of people! Thousands of messages of support are pouring in! I hope that this will encourage others to stand up and fight for their rights. Say NO to the bullies and traitors!”
The pastor also retweeted messages of support, including some that reference his nationality. “The Polish have a PROFOUND understanding of totalitarianism (fascism, communism) and sent the police away!” one tweet states. Another notes: “This is Pastor Artur Pawlowski who has had a taste of tyrannical governments growing up and has been fighting back since last year to keep his church open and feeding the homeless.”
Police, Health Agency Defend Their Actions
In a statement, Calgary Police responded to the incident, saying, “The organizer of the gathering was uncooperative with the health inspector, and repeatedly raised his voice asking all parties to leave the premises.” Police add, “We do not wish to disrupt anyone’s holidays or religious or spiritual events, however we must support our partner agencies when called upon to help ensure everyone can safely celebrate these occasions.”
Alberta Health Services, which sent the inspector to Street Church, said, “Our inspectors have an important job to do, and we ask that business owners and organizations treat them with respect. We stand by all of our public health inspectors who are doing an incredible job in trying and challenging circumstances.”