Religious Freedom in Peril: Church Leaders Slapped with Charges, Fines

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Two church elders have been slapped with criminal obstruction charges and fined $14,000 by a public health official in Saskatchewan, Canada, because they reportedly would not allow him to enter their building and disturb an already-in-progress church service.

Their rights were protected, they said, by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“The representative for the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) also dispensed several $2,800 mask violation citations to members of Fellowship Baptist Church in Saskatoon, and allegedly extended Pastor Steve Flippin’s quarantine arbitrarily, according to a 30-minute video on Rebel News explaining the situation,” as The Daily Wire reported of this story.

As the pastor himself said of the situation, “We didn’t want to make any waves. We weren’t trying to overthrow the governing authority. Nothing like that.”

Pastor Flippin said the church was merely trying to keep the service going in as normal a way as possible during this time of a global pandemic, “despite the 30-person cap placed on houses of worship in November,” as The Daily Wire also noted of this story.

Related: Police Forcibly Shutter Edmonton Church

“We just feel the worship of Jesus Christ is important enough that it must carry on,” Flippin added.

Fellowship Baptist Church explains its mission and purpose on its website:

“Fellowship Baptist Church is not a place, but a people. People who love the Lord and strive to live for His glory and honor—yet we are, every last one of us, sinners saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to the Scripture alone, unto the glory of God alone. We gather multiple times throughout the week for worship, prayer, Bible study, encouragement, and fellowship. The Bible is our authority for every matter of faith and practice, so when we gather we take God’s word seriously, and as we study His word, we get to know our God as He has revealed Himself to us.”

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The church also says, “Sunday morning ministry includes nursery for families, Sunday school for younger children, a healthy mix of God-glorifying worship music, solid, biblically grounded and Gospel-centered teaching, and a time of fellowship to get to know one another.”

As Rebel News reported this week, “Much like Edmonton’s GraceLife Church, Saskatoon’s Fellowship Baptist Church, led by Pastor Steve Flippin, have been allegedly ignoring public health restrictions on congregation capacity, according to the bureaucrats who enforce these rules.”

It goes on, “That’s not to say that Fellowship Baptist doesn’t take the pandemic seriously—they have hand sanitizer and masks if you want to use them—but the congregation has decided that they will not turn away anyone who wants to worship with them.”

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As Rebel News also pointed out in its comprehensive piece on this case, “Religious freedom continues to be one of the greatest casualties of the pandemic.”

See these related tweets for additional context.

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By CNJ Staff

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