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Hawley reiterates call for Canada to be placed on religious liberty watch list as pastor remains jailed


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Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., reiterated his call for Canada to be placed on a special watch list of religious liberty violators as a Canadian pastor continues to be jailed after addressing the Freedom Convoy on the U.S.-Canada border earlier this month.

Speaking to Rebel News at CPAC in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday, Hawley was asked to comment on the ongoing imprisonment of Pastor Artur Pawlowski, a Polish-Canadian pastor who has been held at the Calgary Remand Centre for nearly three weeks after giving a speech to the anti-vaccine mandate Freedom Convoy blockade along the U.S.-Canada border.

“The United States keeps a designation of folks who are religious liberty violators, nations that are religious liberty violators,” Hawley said. “I’ve called for Canada to be put on that list, and I think that we need to consider all of the options that are available for that.”

Last June, Hawley sent a letter to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) urging it to consider adding Canada to its watch list. The letter came after Pastor Tim Stephens of Calgary was arrested for the second time when a police helicopter found his Fairview Baptist Church gathering outside.

Since the pandemic, other churches in Canada have faced imprisoned pastors, locked facilities, steep fines and continued interference from government officials.

THOUSANDS URGE CONGRESS TO CONDEMN IMPRISONMENT OF CANADIAN PASTOR WHO ADDRESSED TRUCKER PROTEST

Pawlowski was arrested for the fifth time since the pandemic on Feb. 8, just days after the pastor delivered a 20-minute speech to the truckers in Coutts, Alberta, during which he urged them to “hold the line” against government overreach without resorting to violence.

A Crown prosecutor alleged that Pawlowski’s speech to the truckers was an “overt threat to violence,” according to the CBC, though Pawlowski explicitly told the truckers twice not to resort to violence, according to video of his remarks.

Pastor Artur Pawlowski is arrested at his home on Feb. 8, 2021, shortly before was slated to speak to truckers on the U.S.-Canada border.

Pastor Artur Pawlowski is arrested at his home on Feb. 8, 2021, shortly before was slated to speak to truckers on the U.S.-Canada border.
(Courtesy Artur Pawlowski)

Since then, more than 10,000 people have signed a letter urging Congress to introduce a resolution condemning the treatment of Pawlowski, who was denied bail twice and has spent much of his time in solitary confinement.

VIGILS PLANNED AT CANADIAN CONSULATES IN US TO PROTEST IMPRISONMENT OF PASTOR WHO PREACHED TO FREEDOM CONVOY

According to regular updates relayed to his family from prison and posted to his Facebook page, Pawlowski thanked his supporters for their prayers and recounted how some of his fellow inmates have been seeking him out for spiritual guidance.

“I can feel your prayers, and they keep me strong,” the pastor said last Monday. “God allows me to be here for a witness to the entire world, to show what happens when you kick God out of your nation. Lawlessness, injustice, abuse of power and corruption creeped in.

“God allows me to be here for a witness to the entire world, to show what happens when you kick God out of your nation. Lawlessness, injustice, abuse of power and corruption creeped in.”

— Pastor Artur Pawlowski

“I am here to be a witness to the prisoners,” he continued. “I have witnessed to them in the most personal way and have become one of them, and because of that, I have been blessed every day with an opportunity to tell them about Jesus. In the end, to be able to do that, it has all been worth it.”

In an update posted to his Facebook on Sunday, Pawlowski said Canadian truckers have joined the regular vigils outside the Calgary Remand Centre protesting his imprisonment, which he said has “amazed” his fellow prisoners and offered him the opportunity to share his faith with them.

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“It created an atmosphere of openness and when you left I was able to share part of my testimony with the prisoners. After I prayed with them, two of them repented from their sins and gave their lives to Jesus. I pray that many more lives would be transformed while I am here,” Pawlowski said.

The pastor’s next bail hearing is scheduled for March 11.



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