Canada: Pastor spends second night in jail to stand for religious freedom

Monday, October 25, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A pastor in Manitoba, Canada spent an additional night in prison last week after rejecting bail conditions that would have prevented him from preaching at his church, Fox News reports. Pastor Tobias Tissen who leads Manitoba’s Church of God Restoration was imprisoned for two days after violating a COVID-19 order which banned outdoor gatherings of more than five people.

Like a number of other pastors and churches in Canada, Tissen and Church of God Restoration (CGR) have refused to comply with public health COVID-19 orders they consider draconian and a violation of their right to religious freedom. In November 2020, Royal Canadian Mounted Police also prevented CGR congregants from attending a drive-in service. Tissen and his church have been fined “tens of thousands” of dollars for violating restrictions, Fox News reports.

Having been arrested last week on a warrant pertaining to the violation of an order issued in May, Tissen was due to attend a court hearing on Tuesday, Fox News reports. However, the pastor at first refused to accept his release because of a condition that he not preach in his church.

In an exclusive interview with Fox News, Tissen said he had prayed and believed he should stand up for religious freedom and reject any bail condition that would ban him from preaching or going to church. "They had these conditions that I wasn't allowed to attend any gatherings that were in contravention of COVID-19," Tissen told Fox News. "And that would automatically prohibit me from going to church and preaching. And I could not agree with that."

Tissen was released after 45 hours in detention, when "miraculously" the conditions of his bail were changed to forbidding him from organizing or inciting others to gatherings in protest of COVID-19 prevention orders, but allowing him to carry out normal church services and pastoral duties, Fox News said. Tissen will appear in court on November 4.