Opinion: Josh Hawley Reported Canadian Officials to Religious Police Because They Protect Public Health

2 years ago 1913

Republicans can’t be bothered to do anything for the American people, but they jump at any occasion to protect what they contend is “religious freedom” if they believe it can win evangelical votes.

Josh Hawley is a typical Republican in myriad ways. He refuses to do anything for Americans, supports giving the rich the keys to the treasury, supported Trump’s insurrectionists attack on the Capitol, refuses to protect women’s rights, and like his hero Trump, he pretends religion is important.

It was reported recently that Hawley had nothing better to do than report Canada to the religious police because it is protecting its citizens’ health in the midst of a global pandemic. Of course the same thing happened in America, but in Canada they care more about their citizens’ lives than whether the faithful are allowed to congregate and spread the deadly virus.

Apparently what inspired Hawley to sic the religious police on Canada was the arrest of some preachers who openly defied COVID-19 restrictions put in place specifically to protect Canadian lives.

Hawley, a real piece of work, claimed the two preachers, James Coates and Tim Stephens, were “victims of religious persecution” and not criminals endangering public health. Hawley decided since Canada isn’t like theocratic America, he would appeal to the Commission on International Religious Freedom to look into putting Canada on a “special watch list.” He is such a tool.  

Hawley sent a letter to the religious police on June 26 that read in part:

I am troubled that our Canadian neighbors are effectively being forced to gather in secret, undisclosed locations to exercise their basic freedom to worship. Frankly, I would expect this sort of religious crackdown in Communist China, not in a prominent western nation like Canada.

According to a reporter covering the story, one of the preachers Hawley is rushing to defend is guilty of more than just endangering public health – he violated his bail condition after pleading guilty.  Bill Weber writing for the Canadian Press wrote:

Mr. Coates spent a month in the Edmonton Remand Centre after he violated a bail condition not to hold church services that officials said were ignoring COVID-19 measures on capacity limits, physical distancing and masking. He was released March 22 after pleading guilty and was fined $1500.

The other preacher, Tim Stephens, is still “in remand” because he continued breaking the law and endangering public health. Mr. Weber added:

[Tim] Stephens remains in remand after being arrested last week following repeated public complaints over an outdoor service that officials say broke public-health orders. Calgary police and Alberta Health Services allege that Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church chose to keep holding services without respecting orders on physical distancing and capacity limits, even after his church had been twice ordered closed, 

Not only are both Christian preachers guilty of violating the law, they are violating Jesus Christ’s orders about worship. He said in Matthew 6:1

Be careful not to perform your righteous acts before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

And in Matthew 6:5-6 Jesus said:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

 Now, let’s assume the god-turned-man and then turned back into god again did not say worship in private, the preachers still have to obey the governing authorities according to their bible. Those two preachers may be Canadians, but they read the same Christian bible as American Baptists. In Romans 13:1-6 it plainly says:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. The authorities are God’s servants sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

This isn’t a sermon, it is proof that the preachers Hawley claims are being persecuted because of their religion are not only disobeying the government authorities, they are disobeying the immutable word of their god. And they are almost certainly making a big deal out of their situations for sympathy and money.

It is also worth noting that if Josh Hawley was as religious as he claims, he too would know those preachers are violating the Christian god’s law. Hawley is simply pandering for the evangelical vote. And if he was that concerned about protecting the Canadian preachers to write a letter to the religious police, he would have done so in private. But he didn’t because he is looking for attention.

One would think that a United States senator would have something important to do other than attempt to sic the religious police on a foreign nation enforcing a public health law. But Hawley is a typical Republican only concerned about how the evangelical base perceives him; even if he is protecting foreign lawbreakers.

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