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Government Helicopter Discovers 'Unauthorized' Canadian Church Service, Pastor Put in Handcuffs

Western Journal

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The moment that local governments in the Western world began to issue guidance or full-on mandates for religious gatherings in the early days of the pandemic, many were concerned that society had stepped onto a slippery slope.

Fast-forward 15 months later, and we’re seeing pastors arrested in front of their children after their “underground” church services were discovered by a police helicopter.

This is the stuff of tyranny and totalitarianism, not Western-style democracy. Yet here we are.

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This week, Pastor Tim Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church was arrested outside his home as his distressed children cried, all for holding a church service discovered the day before by a police helicopter.

The conservative Canadian website Rebel News reported that it is unclear if the helicopters were searching for unauthorized church services or just happened to notice the gathering. The outlet said that while police vehicles were later seen circling the service, which included group worship and a sermon from Pastor Stephens, they did not move in and attempt to stop the gathering.

The minister was arrested the following day for violating a court order that restricted him from holding services. Rebel News notes that the weekend prior, the church was effectively seized by Alberta Health Services for failing to adhere to local regulations regarding attendance, social distancing, and masks.

Stephens is being represented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

Jay Cameron, a lawyer for the firm, blamed Jason Kenney, premier of the Canadian province of Alberta, for the arrest, according to the Calgary Herald.

“It appears that Premier Kenney’s government is targeting its enemies, those who are speaking out against lockdown restrictions and for Charter freedoms,” Cameron said, according to the newspaper.

“Locking out Fairview Baptist congregants and arresting Pastor Tim Stephens has everything to do with punishing dissent, and nothing to do with public safety.”

Stephens has had several run-ins with the law for holding services in violation of local COVID-19 restrictions (as have other Canadian pastors). After Stephens was arrested in May, Alberta Health Services was forced to drop the charges after discovering the health order he had been accused of violating had been served to someone else by mistake, The Calgary Herald noted.

Now, he is being held in prison until June 28 for refusing to agree to bail conditions that would have hindered his ability to hold services.

Rebel News noted that despite efforts on the part of local authorities to prevent Stephens’ flock from gathering, services have only grown larger.

And now we can only assume that, as this man’s commitment to the Gospel of Christ is so emboldened by persecution, the men he is now locked up alongside will be hearing it, too!

That said, it is all the more chilling that we’re reading about a Canadian pastor who has not only been forced to conduct underground church services, but was arrested and put in prison after a police helicopter located the illicit gatherings.

“I just got a tip that the police may be on their way to arrest me,” Stephens tweeted Monday before police arrived at his house. “Why? I continue to lead our church to worship Jesus as Lord over every earthly power.”

“More to come… Pray brothers and sisters. Stand firm, keep the faith,” he added.

This incident is close to home for us Americans, yet it sounds more like something that would happen in China or North Korea.

Our respective nations have long professed a commitment to defending God-given rights to gather and worship, yet after a century of diminishing respect for this deity who gives us these rights, we see an undeniable diminished respect for the rights themselves.

The damage this cultural trend has done to our governments’ commitment to defending these freedoms may have reared its ugly head amid the pandemic, but this has been in the making for a long time.

Let this be a very, very stern warning to us. It’s not as though we’ve been gathering and worshipping freely as our Canadian brothers and sisters live in fear — our churches have been targeted by earthly authorities who prioritize the mitigation of a virus over the inherent rights of Christians to worship.

The most disturbing behavior we saw from leaders here at home was the arbitrarily discriminatory restrictions on religious gatherings even as big box stores and abortion clinics enjoyed more freedom to conduct regular operations.

Again, this highlights how little our leaders regard both our God-given rights and our God himself.

They will answer to Him one day for what they have done — and we will also answer for our commitment to obeying His laws over man’s.

We have a duty to ensure that our First Amendment is protected, because the threats against it are no longer hypothetical. They’re very real, they’re here right now, and the more we get used to it, the sooner we can kiss them goodbye for good.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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Sheriff's Helicopter Swoops In on People Trapped by Floodwaters, Camera Catches Daring Rescue in First-Person View

Western Journal

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As floodwaters deluged parts of Arizona, a daring helicopter rescue Friday plucked two people from a mobile home that was caught in fast-moving water. Monsoons struck Arizona last week, triggering severe flooding. Drivers who tried to make their way across flooded roads, despite advice to avoid driving, often became stranded. Floodwaters rushed through streets in Flagstaff, Arizona after storms brought heavy rainfall. Weather warnings have been issued to locals residents to warn of more flooding and heavy downpour. pic.twitter.com/X8lHGS8yEK — Newsweek (@Newsweek) July 19, 2021 On Friday, Daisy Mountain Fire and Rescue received a report of a mobile home that was caught in the flooding in New River. The water was too high for any ground units to reach those trapped inside. Authorities reported that water was pouring through the windows of the mobile home, and officials were afraid it would tip over, according to KNXV-TV. That left one option — an air rescue. A Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office helicopter flew to the partially submerged vehicle. In a video released by the sheriff’s office, which dramatically shows the extent of the waters rampaging through New River’s streets, the helicopter closes in on a vehicle with two people sitting on it, only a few feet from the rapidly rising water. We are here to provide #safety to our community but please be mindful of the dangers posed by moving water and entering flooded areas. Here’s a video of our MCSO aviation unit rescuing a driver after his vehicle got stuck in a wash. pic.twitter.com/tO3TL12tPw — Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (@mcsoaz) July 24, 2021 “We are here to provide #safety to our community but please be mindful of the dangers posed by moving water and entering flooded areas. Here’s a video of our MCSO aviation unit rescuing a driver after his vehicle…

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Off-Duty Firefighter Jumped by Mob Who Tell Him It's 'Fight Night' Before Brutal Beating

Western Journal

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Asking for a little old-fashioned respect can be the prelude to a beatdown in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s New York City. The New York Post has released video of a Friday night incident in which a rabid mob of teenagers surrounded and then attacked an off-duty firefighter as he walked his dog near his home in the borough of Queens. Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa, who founded the civic protection group the Guardian Angels in 1979, posted the video to Twitter. Warning: The following video contains graphic images and language that some readers will find disturbing. Last night in Middle Village a mob of kids attacked a man who asked them to stop blasting fireworks. #NYPD from the 104th precinct were there but did nothing. The community reached out to #NYC Mayoral candidate #CurtisSliwa & the #GuardianAngels to find these vicious teens pic.twitter.com/uVJkBUJ0L1 — Curtis Sliwa for NYC Mayor (@CurtisSliwa) July 24, 2021 The 44-year-old victim, whose name was not released by the Post, said he is among those who have objected to the deterioration of his community,  and taken the dangerous stand of telling teenagers to behave as if rules really mattered. Retribution for preaching civility arrived Friday night. “There were at least 100 kids … I was walking my dog. They just picked me out and approached me,” the firefighter told the Post in a Saturday interview. “One kid took his shirt off and said, ‘it’s fight night!’ He said he was 19 and said, ‘I could fight you.’ Everyone took their cell phones out. There were cell phones everywhere,” the victim said. “They all came at me…A kid came up behind me and hit me in the back of the head with a bottle and I let go of the dog,” he said. With the dog barking…

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