A Canadian pastor, who was arrested last week for reportedly violating COVID-19 health orders, spent an extra night in jail after police said he wouldn’t be released unless he agreed to stop preaching in church.
Pastor Tobias Tissen of Steinbach, Manitoba, was detained by police during a traffic stop on Oct. 18. A warrant for his arrest was issued in May over a health order prohibiting outdoor gatherings of more than 5 people, Fox News reports.
Tissen’s bail hearing was originally scheduled for Oct. 19 but was pushed back after he learned about the restrictions laid out by authorities that would prevent him from performing his pastoral duties.
“They had these conditions that I wasn’t allowed to attend any gatherings that were in contravention of COVID-19,” Tissen told Fox News. “And that would automatically prohibit me from going to church and preaching. And I could not agree with that.”
The pastor had avoided police for months before his arrest, only making appearances at his Church of God Restoration.
His church, along with several others, have filed lawsuits against Manitoba over its extreme COVID-19 restrictions.
Tissen says police are attacking church leaders in a “fight between good and evil, and they’re targeting those public figures that are in the lead who are fighting against the evil.”
While awaiting his release, the pastor said he prayed and reflected on the darkness that has come over mankind.
“In Ephesians, it says that we’re fighting against spiritual wickedness in high places and principalities and powers,” he explained. “That’s it, right now, what we see. And they’re after all of us who are giving to God what belongs to God and to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. But now, Caesar wants that which belongs to God. And as Christians, we just cannot. We cannot comply with that.”
Following his arrest, Tissen received an outpouring of support from religious leaders.
“What’s happening in Canada should concern freedom-loving people everywhere,” shared evangelist Franklin Graham. “It is extremely disturbing as it relates to pastors and churches being targeted. Earlier this month the Canadian Prime Minister announced some of the world’s strictest COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Be sure to pray for Pastor Tissen and his church.”
Another Canadian pastor who’s been arrested, Artur Pawlowski, tweeted, “When authorities do this kind of things we know that the judgment on the land will be very severe!”
And Pastor Henry Hildebrandt with Church of God in Ontario wrote that preachers aren’t being arrested for committing crimes, rather for the sake of the Gospel.
“Two pastors sitting in jail, IN CANADA. Don’t get callous to this reality. Not for criminal activity, but because they refuse to follow unlawful, unconstitutional, and – most importantly – unbiblical public health mandates.”