Canadian church sues a province for its ban of drive-in worship
A congregation in Canada has filed a complaint against a government shutdown order that prevents them from holding drive-in worship services on their church property. Springs Church of Winnipeg, Manitoba filed suit last Wednesday in the Court of Queen’s Bench on Wednesday in response to receiving four $5,000 fine over the weekend for each drive-in service they held, reported the Winnipeg Sun.
Leon Fontaine, the senior pastor at Springs Church, posted a video to Facebook on Wednesday arguing that the drive-in worship ban wrongfully singles out churches for severer treatment.
“The government has established rules which prohibit people from gathering with people who aren’t members of their household. They have deemed these rules sufficient to keep people safe as they drive to the liquor, cannabis, or big box retail store, park their car, and enter those facilities,” said Fontaine.
“If this is the case, we have to ask ourselves why the government has deemed it unsafe for Manitobans to drive to their place of worship with their windows rolled up for the entirety of a service and practice their faith. We believe this is an oversight on the part of the government of Manitoba.”
In addition to the drive-in worship at Springs Church, others have gathered for religious services elsewhere in the province in defiance of the latest regulations, including the city of Winkler.
In response to the restrictions on drive-in worship, The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms sent a letter of complaint to Premier Brian Pallister of Manitoba on Tuesday. “There is no scientific or medical justification to prohibit drive-in church services when the same, or even riskier behaviour in terms of hypothetically transmitting Covid-19 is permitted by the Province of Manitoba at big-box stores,” says the letter.