Seth Udinski, FISM News
James Coates, pastor of GraceLife Church in the Canadian city of Edmonton, Alberta, was arrested Tuesday for continuing to hold services publicly in defiance of the region’s health orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The congregation of roughly 300 has met consistently for the last several months without masks and without social distancing, in an act of civil disobedience similar to that of John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. The church was ordered to shut down at the beginning of January, and Pastor Coates calmly but resolutely disobeyed.
James Kitchen, Coates’ lawyer from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, lauded his client’s resolution. Kitchen said of Pastor Coates,
His first obedience is to his Lord, to his God. And normally, obeying Jesus and obeying the government go right in hand. The government’s forcing him in to a position where he has to choose between disobeying God and obeying government, or obeying God and disobeying government
GraceLife Church issued a statement on Tuesday defending their pastor’s actions and their church’s stance. The statement read,
We do not see our actions as perpetuating the longevity of COVID-19 or any other virus that will inevitably come along. If anything, we see our actions as contributing to its end – the end of destructive lockdowns and the end of the attempt to institutionalize the debilitating fear of viral infections.