Updated: Jun 14
1. The Verdict
History promises judgement for wicked nations. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). Yesterday, The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), the legal centre representing Alberta’s courageous pastor, argued before the court that James Coates should be released on bail before his trial set for May 3-5.* Today, Judge Peter Michalyshyn presented his verdict denying bail for Pastor Coates, stating, "The law [holding in-person church services above %15 building capacity] that Mr. Coates clearly intends not to be bound by remains valid and enforceable against him. Mr. Coates's strongly held religious beliefs and convictions do not overcome those valid and enforceable laws.”
2. The Law
But the law is unjust! The law is wrong. Lex iniusta non est lex—“an unjust law is no law at all.” And we are certain this law is unjust because law itself is a reflection of the character of God. The whole of civilization depends on it. Absent an objective moral standard (God) by which we can declare with confidence and authority, “this is right, and that is wrong,” there is no way to determine what is “just” and “good” or what is “unjust” or “wrong.” Instead, actions committed by mankind become subjectively “preferable” or “non-preferable” according to each member of society. No person or activity can be “objectively right” or “objectively wrong” because men are equal. My opinion is as valid as yours. In such a world, Hitler’s extermination of a people, Stalin’s starvation of a country, and Nero’s persecution of a religious group can be right or wrong, depending on the individual’s point of view.
Yet we know things are objectively wrong. Murder, robbery, sexual assault are all things we call “unjust, cruel, and evil” because we have a moral standard upon which we measure our laws. If we fail to study the supremacy from whence law descends into the minds of man, we will be subject to cruelty and torture but ever-unable to call it so.
Does a law align with the nature of God? Then we call it just. Does a law contradict the nature of God (as jailing Pastor Coates certainly does)? Then it’s unjust.…so woe to Alberta! The Almighty is furious with the members of our government who ordered the arrest of a faithful pastor preaching Christ’s word to those who listened as a consequence of their volition. Pandemic or not, this is wrong.
3. A Righteous Anger
We are therefore ashamed and embarrassed and appalled with our rulers. But that’s not everything. We are beginning to comprehend what Jesus felt witnessing merchants defile his Father's house. We're speechless as we listen to the news and hear that from the same prison Pastor Coates is incarcerated in, a man who has desecrated the innocence of multiple children and is likely to do it again was released back into the metropolitan of Edmonton 3 days ago. Perhaps it was to make room for another pastor.