The Ontario pastor who was charged by police for keeping his Windsor church open spoke with The Post Millennial a few hours after being charged. Rev. Aaron Rock said that he stands by his decision and blasted Ontario Premier Doug Ford for his pandemic restrictions.
While Rock is disappointed with the charges, they didn't come as a surprise. "I wasn't surprised given the direction that our culture and government has gone, with the irrationally, the fearmongering, and the public cries to lock the world down without any considerations of the harms."
There have been only a few outbreaks linked to churches across Canada, yet they have been affected by most lockdowns, including in Ontario. Rock told The Post Millennial that his church took safety precautions, like masks and social distancing, very seriously, even after defying the lockdown.
"We could have just said forget the 30 percent, forget the physical distancing, and masks, and all that. But we abided by all of those protocols and regulations to demonstrate that were not trying to be reckless or provocative or careless."
However, that wasn't enough to avoid the charges that Rock now faces for breaking the Reopening Ontario Act, also known as Bill 195. Rock says that these charges shows the government's lack of understanding for the importance of churches.
"There seems to be a complete lack of recognition of the work of faith groups. Its almost as if the premier and others think were some sort of a joke, And we're not going to permit the world to silence us," said Rock.
Rock hosted an in sanctuary service on December 20, and attendance exceeded the 10-person limit imposed by the government for churches in lockdown areas. Rock was planning to do the same for the Christmas Eve services, however due to the pending charges, he instead did a drive in service.
"We're gonna hold parking lot services for now, but we plan on ramping up our protest and have plans in the works for that." Rock added that drive-in services will not be the new normal for his church, and are to show that his congregation is devoted to having services on the property of the Harvest Windsor Bible Church.
"What were not going to do is have drive-ins through the winter, with everyone freezing in the cold. We are not okay with drive in services, drive-in church is not good."
Aaron Rock previously features on The Post Millennial's series on grassroots activism against lockdowns. Then, he had told us that he count not stand politicians who don't follow their own rules, citing Windsor's mayor who did so and got away with it without paying a fine. Rock had said then that if he ever got a fine, he would make sure the mayor pays a fine too for breaking the rules.
Now that Rock faces a fine, he has sent a letter to the mayor highlighting his hypocrisy. "We wrote a letter to the Mayor and to the Chief of police exposing the hypocrisy." He mentioned that hypocrisy included marching in the mass BLM protests that took place in the spring, which saw large crowds and no social distancing but no repercussions for violating public health regulations.
Rock added; "I have no problem with public protests, but they participated in public protest in our city in the spring, contrary to the law, and then the mayor was in that restaurant, contrary to the law, so we definitely included that in our letter."
Blames Premier Ford for 'draconian laws'
Rock blamed Premier Doug Ford for the charges and tolerance of hypocrisy. "I don't blame the Mayor or the Chief of police, I blame the Premier for these draconian laws, these tyrannical laws, and the offence of failing to recognize the essential nature and work of Christian churches in Canada," he said.
Rock also shared the frustrations he has towards the negative attitude Ford has towards those who oppose to his lockdowns. "Its unfortunate that the Premier has resorted to name-calling and posturing, and fails to respond to letters. He's literally acting like a man who has both his fingers in his ears not listening, not paying attention. The only person who he has any interest in taking input from is the Chief Medical Officer of Ontario."
While the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects religious freedoms, recent constructional challenges by churches against government restrictions in Manitoba, Alberta, and Ontario have not been successful. Rock says he doesn't have a lot of faith in the Canadian justice system, and he will stand by his decision even if he pleads guilty.
"I think our justice system is under the spell of foolishness, but in all honesty whatever the courts decide or not decide, makes very little difference to me. I have a work for God, a mandate for God, and whether the court upholds this ridiculous charge or not, it doesn't change my convictions."
Rock added that he strongly believes in meeting with his congregation in person for worship, and that he will do it no matter what. "We will meet one way or another, if we have to meet in secret, if we have to go underground, if we all have to meet in jail, we will do that. The world needs to know that there is absolutely nothing that they can say or do that will dissuade us from our convictions."
Pastor Rock now faces a fine of up to $100,000 or 1 year in prison. He has since become a target of the mainstream media. Many pastors have rallied around him and his cause, and a GoFundMe was started by the Christian community to pay for lawyers. Almost $30,000 has been raised in just 48 hours. Those who wish to view the fundraiser may do so HERE.
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