We went today to the Atrium to celebrate our faith and share about our saviour during this Christmas Season. Corporate Security and the Calgary Police Department were already waiting for us when we arrived. I was told, by the corporate security, that in fact this gathering was illegal. Think about it, all the memories of communism and history lessons about Nazi Germany that I was either witnessing or learning about, as I was growing up, came flashing before my very eyes. Let me be clear, we came to City Hall by the invitation of the mayor himself, that encouraged citizens to use the Atrium as a place of public expression. “Illegal gathering?”
Let me be more specific about what we came to do. We brought Bibles, we brought a guitar and a bongo drum, so that with the rest of citizens, we would remind ourselves that this time of the year has been used for hundreds of years as a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Before I had a chance to open my Bible, I was already threatened, that there is already a trespass notice being written for me and if I will continue with this illegal gathering, I will be served with a document and if I refused to leave that I would be arrested and the police were already waiting to do so.
In those moments one always has a choice. I love the reply from the apostles in the Book of Acts, chapters four and five, “Who should we obey, you or God?… We must obey God rather than men.” It is as simple as that. I grabbed the Bible and delivered fifteen minutes worth of preaching about how Jesus came, healed the sick, brought hope, died for our sins and rose again, and that we can all have part of His resurrection if we repent.
Then the worshippers started to sing. I was approached by corporate security, police officers and despite our pleading that we have the mayor’s invitation and in fact are not breaking the law but rather exercising our rights, I was the first one, of many, to be escorted out of the building, by officers. Over all there were about ten officers, plus a number of corporate security personal (4 or 5), along with uniformed security guards.
Over all, about thirty of us were threatened, intimidated, some served with trespass notices and escorted outside the building, because we took our mayor up on his offer. We decided that the top man that runs this city should be made aware of this matter and that he should have a word with City Hall’s Corporate Security team. There seems to be a big misunderstanding in this city about what citizens rights truly are. Who best to clear this matter up than the very man that gave the invitation.
When we approached the office I noticed that security, in a panic, locked the door to the mayor’s office (behold, the most dangerous people are armed with Bibles). We asked, at the security desk to see the mayor and we were told that he was not available. We indicated that we would wait patiently for him to come.
Then as we waited quietly in the entrance to the old City Hall, several officers showed up and told us to leave. We explained that we were waiting to speak to the mayor and that we wanted to address the matter with him directly. They arrested us.
I asked the officers to tell me which law we were actually breaking, which to this moment, no one informed us about the specific law that we had contravened. We had received trespass notices, to remove us from City Hall, without being quoted any bylaw, or any other law, telling us what we allegedly had done that was illegal, causing us to be issued the trespass notices. Six of us were arrested by the police. I suppose I should not consider this an unusual thing, in our city, since this would be my ninth arrest, in Calgary, for preaching the gospel and reading from the Bible but hear me out…
Bogdan, was handcuffed taken to a car, and as we were waiting for him in the police station, was driven to the other side of the city only to be left there to fend for himself without transportation, having to walk home.
Lisa, our worshipper was not served with a trespass notice at all, yet was arrested, pulled by her hair and man handled by police, and there was no need for that at all.
Jim Blake, National Chairman of Concerned Christians Canada, was stopped in the middle of reciting the Charter of Rights, our greatest legal document designed to protect our rights in this country and was escorted out and later arrested. During his arrest he was told by his arresting officer, “we don’t like the Charter of Rights”. By now, we know this to be self evident. Why don’t they like the Charter? Because it is designed to prevent people who are supposed to serve and protect from abusing their power.
After we were all arrested each of us continued to plead with our captors to use their discretion to chose what is right and to uphold the charter and to serve and protect not only citizens of Canada but also to protect our democracy and our charter rights.
Dawid, my brother, was able to share with them about how he used to hate the police, when he was involved with gangs, but now that he is a Christian he is called to bless them and love them in the name of Jesus Christ.
Jesse, what an amazing young man. He was one of the first ones to come and say if you are going to arrest the pastor, you need to arrest all of us, because we are apparently all guilty of the same crime of being in City Hall for this service. Some minutes later, we saw each other in jail.
While we were waiting to be “processed”, as we were entreating the officers to consider the charter and their role as officers to abide by the highest law of the land, one officer spoke out and said, “no, the greatest law of the land is not the Charter of Rights.” He said, “Do you know what the greatest law is? The Bible.” He then proceeded to quote the scripture from Romans 13 where it speaks about being in submission to governing authorities. Jim then proceeded to remind him that scripture says that the Bible says we are to obey the laws of man unless they contravene the laws of God. And that’s the essence of the whole problem.
God created us free, with innate value and God given rights. He determines what our rights are and we must obey His law above all else. Not to mention the fact that the officer was drawing our attention to the Bible as the ultimate authority, while at the same time the officers were not even obeying a lesser authority, which is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. God’s standards are higher than the Charter, are more noble and more worthy.
You are free to question this whole affair, that’s ok, I don’t actually believe that many church goers would even understand why a bunch of nobodies would put a check on some bureaucrats that think they are above the law and they truly, somehow, believe that government buildings are their private property. When I read the Bible, I see from the beginning to the end, men and women of God that could not keep silent in the face of injustice, corruption and abuse of power.
At the end of the day, history and eventually God will be the judge, but the truth is, if we do not push against this sick agenda of political correctness and this open silencing of people’s beliefs and convictions, as in the past generations, we will face unGodly rulers that will simply create a dictatorship out of our once free land.
At this time, I think that remembering our national anthem and learning a lesson from it is appropriate. We sing this anthem at various public events, but I think we take it too lightly. The words speak for themselves; “God keep our land glorious and free” is our plea, but what will happen if we don’t do our part “we stand on guard for thee”?
At the end of the day, let us remember that, as followers of Christ, our first citizenship is in the Kingdom of God, and that we don’t rely on man for our blessings, but rather we look to the Lord. So let’s keep His name, Jesus, lifted high. He told us that these kinds of things will happen – blessed are those who are persecuted for my name’s sake.
Some history of the fight in this article “Why the Lies?” http://streetchurch.ca/index.php/20120106821/News/Media/Why-the-Lies.html