James Coates, a pastor at GraceLife Church in Alberta, Canada, spoke on Friday about his recent release from jail, his ongoing legal battle, and the Albertan government's recent barricading of the church's building on Wednesday.
"[The Albertan authorities] are going toe-to-toe with the Lord Jesus Christ," Coates said. "And that typically does not go well. It certainly will not go well in the end. But even now, they are taking on a fight that is way beyond them."
"I think that we have demonstrated clearly that the threat to Alberta is not COVID-19, it is AHS [Alberta Health Services]. We have demonstrated that the real threat to Albertans are the lockdown measures. We have shown them to be weak and incompetent. And the fact that they've had to close down our facility is ultimately for the purpose of ending the embarrassment. We have met for 37 Sundays without a single COVID-19 case, let alone an outbreak."
"And so AHS is weak and incompetent, and I think we have embarrassed them richly."
Coates also described his experience of over a month in jail.
"Once I got into [general population], I would have guys often come to my door and want to speak with me and would share difficulties in their life with me, and I would share the gospel with them," Coates said. "We'd be talking through a door to each other, but I would share the gospel with them. That happened often, where guys would just come to me."
John Carpay, president of the Calgary-based Justice Centre of Constitutional Freedoms which will represent Coates in court, said Coates' case is a battle for "fundamental rights and freedoms."
"The government has so far refused to justify the limits on worship and gathering. Health orders are inconsistent, differing from province to province, and arbitrarily created by one public health official who is under no obligation legally to advise the legislatures of the science and rationale which supposedly are the basis of the orders," Carpay said.