By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) - A Polish-Canadian pastor facing jail for holding “illegal” church services in Canada refuses to obey a court order to parrot official COVID-19 opinions in sermons.
Calgary city-based Pastor Artur Pawlowski of Street Church Ministries spoke after Court of Queen's Bench Justice Adam Germain sentenced him to 18 months of probation.
"This crooked judge wants to turn me into a CBC reporter or CNN reporter,” he said, referring to the Canadian and U.S. broadcasters. “Every time that I am in public, every time I'm opening my mouth, I am to pray their mantra to the government," the pastor added in an interview with Fox News network.
Pawlowski said the judge's condition to stay out of prison is "without precedent" in Canada, an assertion echoed by his lawyer, Sarah Miller, who described Germain's sanction as "bizarre."
Miller also cautioned that the court order was “likely unconstitutional" under Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, guaranteeing freedom of expression.
"This is totally and wholly new as far as sentencing goes, as far as I can see or as far as I am familiar with," Miller told Fox News. "I've never heard of any kind of probationary period which includes conditions that compelled certain speech. It seems highly unusual and rare."
The ruling is the latest development in Alberta's ongoing legal battle against Pawlowski.
Pawlowski already faced a civil contempt charge for holding church services despite a court order forbidding organizing, promoting, or attending an "illegal public gathering."
He faced another contempt charge for repeatedly ejecting armed officials inspecting his sanctuary for COVID-19 compliance, for which he first drew international attention.
In addition to tens of thousands of dollars in costs and fines, one condition of Pawlowski's probation required him to parrot "the majority of medical experts in Alberta" regarding social distancing, mask-wearing, and vaccines.
"The final term of his probation order will be that when he is exercising his right of free speech and speaking against [Alberta Health Services] Health Orders and AHS health recommendations, in a public gathering or public forum (including electronic social media), he must indicate in his communications the following," wrote Justice Germain, who appended a script:
"I am also aware that the views I am expressing to you on this occasion may not be views held by the majority of medical experts in Alberta. While I may disagree with them, I am obliged to inform you that the majority of medical experts favor social distancing, mask-wearing, and avoiding large crowds to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” the script says.
“Most medical experts also support participation in a vaccination program unless for a valid religious or medical reason you cannot be vaccinated. Vaccinations have been shown statistically to save lives and to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms,” the court’s ordered script adds.
Pawlowski told Fox News he has no intention of complying with Germain's sanction, despite being faced with a rousing prison term.
He condemned the ruling as "unconstitutional," "illegal," and a clear instance of "compelled speech like in China and North Korea."
The pastor also told reporters that it reminded him of his youth under Communism in Poland when devoted Christians were jailed and particular churches raided by the feared secret service.
He isn’t alone. Since the pandemic, churches throughout Canada have reported being faced with imprisoned pastors, locked facilities, fines, and interference from government officials.