CALGARY — A preacher says the Calgary Stampede is refusing to allow his church to join the Stampede Parade. Arthur Pawloski runs Street Church Ministries and says his right to free speech is being violated.
He says it’s important that the poor, who his church represents, has a part in the parade, which kicks off the world famous rodeo every July.
Members of the church say they’ve already spent $20,000 on props, costumes, and horse-drawn carriages for this year’s parade entry.
The Stampede committee says it won’t allow Street Church to participate in this year’s parade because it violated rules from last year.
Committee spokesman David Swanson says members of the ministry broke the rules when they passed out pamphlets to parade spectators.
Pawlowski argues his ministry was told they could distribute pamphlets by on-site parade officials, adding he believes he’s being targeted because of his outspoken religious beliefs.
The Calgary Stampede says the decision has nothing to do with religion and it’s about respect for the rules.