Canadian Pastor Jailed for Not Complying With COVID-19 Mandates
James Coates, the lead pastor of GraceLife Church in Alberta, Canada.
James Coates, the lead pastor of GraceLife Church in Alberta, Canada, has been jailed. The Canadian Pastor was detained for not meeting the 15% maximum capacity laws, failing to adhere to physical distancing requirements, and not enforcing face masks. This was not the first time that Coates violated Canada's "Public Health Act." Alberta Health Services ordered the church to close back in January until they complied with the mandates. Following this weekend's services, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police visited Coates twice in February and warned him that he would be arrested if he continued to disregard the orders.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which represents Coates and GraceLife Church, said the pastor "could not, in good conscience, agree to" stop holding church services, as ordered. James Kitchen, Pastor Coates attorney, advised him to turn himself in. Coates voluntarily turned himself in on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, at the RCMP Parkland Detachment.
Coates has declined to comply with bail regulations during the bail hearings, citing that he refuses to enforce mask mandates and keep services below 15% capacity.
According to Kitchen, Coates, and the Grace Point congregation, "It's not about just wantonly rebelling."
"It is about doing what is intelligent to them and what maintains their freedoms, but most importantly what is ultimately honoring to their god that they believe in," he said.
"And they are not going to cease worshipping God as they believe they have been commanded to do, simply because the government says so," Kitchen continued.
Kitchen argued that GraceLife's perspective is that lockdowns are causing "exponentially more harm" to the community than gathering in groups, saying "nobody has died of COVID at Pastor Coates' church."
Kitchen and his employers have asked Premier Jason Kenedy to free Coates. Citing that these laws are "tyrannical orders against Alberta's churches."
Coates is due to appear in court Wednesday, February 24, 2001. As of today, GraceLife Church has postponed all services and plans on reopening in June.
"We've been consistent in our approach of escalated levels of enforcement with Pastor Coates, and we were hopeful to resolve this issue in a different manner" said Inspector Mike Lokken. "The Pastor's actions, and the subsequent effects those actions could have on the health and safety of citizens, dictated our response in this situation."
As of the date of this publication, Pastor James Coates is currently still in jail, awaiting trial.
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About the Author:
Angel Quiroz is a Christian Conservative Commentator based in Lodi, New Jersey. He is also a political blogger, the Design Chairman for the New York Young Republican Club, an avid rock and roll connoisseur, and a full-time videographer.