So much for Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
If you ever believed the Charter was worth the paper it’s printed on (I don’t) then the decision in Beaudoin et al v. British Columbia and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry should disabuse of that silly notion.
On March 18, 2021, BC Supreme Court Justice Christopher Hinkson sided with Dr. Bonnie Henry – BC’s chief public health officer and reigning High Priestess of COVID – and ruled COVID fear trumps the highest law of the land, the Charter.
 The religious petitioners have not satisfied me that they are entitled to challenge the G&E Orders on their judicial review under s. 2 of the JRPA. Even if they could do so, the infringement of their s. 2 Charter rights by the impugned G&E Orders is justified under s. 1 of the Charter. This part of their petition is thus dismissed.
That’s the short version.
For the story of how this case came before BC Supreme Court in the first place and what this decision means, please read on.
The Path to BC Supreme Court
On November 10th, Fraser Health Authority issued a warning about a ‘possible public COVID-19 exposure in Abbotsford.’
“If you were at Gurdwara Baba Banda Singh Bahadar Sikh Society on the dates/times listed on our public exposures page, Public Health recommends self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.”
That ‘possible public COVID-19 exposure‘ led directly to Bonnie Henry’s order to ban all worship services in British Columbia.
On November 19, 2020, Dr. Bonnie Henry banned all religious worship services.
Prior to this, Henry limited religious worship services and all other public gatherings to a maximum of 50 people and all churches in British Columbia complied with those limitations.
It wasn’t until she overstepped her authority by prohibiting all public worship that some churches balked.
The issues at play are the civil rights supposedly guaranteed to us under the Charter, specifically our right to religious freedom, and whether civil authority trumps God’s authority.
In Reformed Christian circles this is referred to as the Two-Kingdom Doctrine.
In a nutshell, Two-Kingdom Doctrine means:
- God created the world and everything in it. (Yes, including the Church and civil government.)
- The Church is a separate entity or ‘kingdom’ from civil government and the civil ‘kingdom’.
- The Church of God is commanded by God to worship God on the Day of God in the House of God.
- The civil government, instituted by God, has no authority over the church.
That is a great over-simplification, obviously, but you can learn all about it by following these four links:
- Two Kingdoms Politics [part 1]
- Two Kingdoms Politics [part 2]
- Two Kingdoms Politics [part 3]
- Two Kingdoms Politics [part 4]
Since the church is separate from civil government and God is over both, when believers are given a choice to either follow God’s Law or man’s law, there is no choice at all.
The Christian believer must follow God’s Law.
This is why Pastor James Coates sat in an Edmonton prison cell for 34 days. He was bound by God’s Law to preach the Word to his congregation each and every Sunday – COVID or no COVID. To do otherwise is to defy God, something Pastor Coates refused to do.
Here in British Columbia, with a handful of exceptions, every church disobeyed God’s Law and obeyed man’s law instead – much to the horror of many of God’s people.
The world has suffered dangerous and deadly viruses before, and the world will continue to suffer them as long as the world exists.
Do we stop living our lives because of danger?
No, of course not.
Yet this is the demand of governments the world over – stop living your lives until Big Daddy Government tells you it’s safe to go outside again.
You will quickly learn this response is complete and utter nonsense when you take the time to put away your personal fears and examine the facts – facts governments, news outlets and social media giants do there utmost to hide from you.
As the X-Files used to say, the truth is out there. You simply need the willingness to find it.
The Decision to Defy Un-Godly Orders
So a handful of courageous B.C. church leaders refused to obey the un-Godly demand by Bonnie Henry.
They remained open the Sunday following her initial closure order.
This led to government threats to arrest and imprison pastors – threats Bonnie Henry wanted enforced at the barrel of government-owned guns. Fortunately, Bonnie Henry lost that battle.
Those few churches remained open throughout the battle and vow to remain open every Sunday until the church closure order is rescinded.
If it’s permissible for Whistler Ski Resort to remain open despite 547 confirmed cases of COVID were linked to that facility in January alone, there is no reason why churches who have no history of COVID transmission should be shuttered indefinitely.
During this time much talk of ‘religious persecution’ ensued, naturally, but whether you believe it’s persecution or not, the larger issue is the response to these measures from the majority of individual churches in British Columbia.
They voluntarily shut their doors.
This brings up an issue of faith or, more specifically, my perception that these pastors lack sufficient faith to do their duty to honour God and His commandments.
I’ll share a little about the plight of a young Nigerian girl, then I’ll ask a question of the leaders of every religious faith in British Columbia and, specifically, Christian pastors.
On February 19, 2018, 110 young girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists. Eight of the girls died in captivity and on March 21, 2018, Boko Haram released all of the girls still alive – except 14-year-old Leah Sharibu.
Leah refused to renounce her Christian faith, so the terrorists refused to release her.
Leah Sharibu bravely refused and has been raped and beaten in their effort to get Leah to renounce her Christian faith. She is still a captive of Boko Haram today.
When a 14-year-old Nigerian girl has more faith in Jesus Christ, than almost all of British Columbia’s pastors combined, is it really a surprise that churches, synagogues, mosques, gudwaras and temples are still closed?
No, of course not.
Almost to a man, these religious ‘leaders‘ willingly shuttered their doors and abandoned their faith faster than I can say ‘High Priestess of COVID’ – all to avoid unconstitutional fines from their civil government.
It’s also eye-opening.
Pastor James Coates
Pastor James Coates sat in the Edmonton Remand Centre for 34 days because he refused to abandon his faith.
The day after Pastor Coates was imprisoned, When asked what people could do to help her husband, Erin Coates said this:
“Open your churches.”
The following Sunday, the only Alberta church to open its doors was Pastor Coates’ GraceLife Church.
Every other Alberta church, as far as I can determine, obeyed Alberta’s public health order.
“I am simply here in obedience with Jesus Christ, it is this obedience that put me at odds with the law [of man],” Pastor Coates said after his release.
Still to Come…
Pastor James Coates goes to trial in May.
It is unknown at this time whether the decision in Beaudoin et al v. British Columbia and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will be appealed.
There is no possibility provincial governments will lift these COVID restrictions any time soon.
This sets every provincial government on a collision course with the mere citizens of their respective jurisdictions, because more and more adults are fed up with being treated like 4-year-old children.
To live is to face risks. It’s literally the human condition.
At some point the desire to live will outweigh the 24x7x365 fear peddled by every level of government, every national news outlet and every major social media platform.
That’s when things will get very, very… interesting.