Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Upon returning to Canada from his tour of the United States, founder of Calgary’s Street Church Artur Pawlowski was arrested moments after stepping out of the private aircraft he used to cross the border.
The pastor’s return home marks the end of over three months in the US growing ever closer to prominent figures within the QAnon and larger COVID conspiracy movement.
An avid spreader of COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs himself, Pawloski has been rubbing shoulders with those with a much larger audience that have only served to boost his profile. After a much-publicized arrest along what appears to be an Alberta collector road, as well as banshee-style yelling of “get out Nazis” at public health officials who entered his church to enforce public health measures earlier this year, Pawlowski drew the attention to the American Christian far-right.
Video of the second arrest (which took place on an airport tarmac) immediately made Rebel News -- who had a correspondent on scene outside the airport -- as well as across far-right spaces on both sides of the border.
The arrest may not have come as a complete surprise to Pawlowski, who said the day before his departure that he would see his supporters tomorrow, “hopefully without shackles and handcuffs, but may God’s will be done.”
Calgary police confirmed the arrest to Global News.
“The charges are for officiating a church service and for not wearing a mask,” Pawlowski said in an emailed response to questions from the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. The Calgary Police Service did not return requests for comment by time of publication, but according to the CBC, he was charged with disobeying a court order and failing to wear a mask.
Pawlowski and his brother Dawid Pawlowski were found guilty of contempt of court and breaking COVID restrictions, after being arrested for holding and promoting illegal gatherings in May. When the decision was handed down, however, the pastor was already touring the United States, appearing at events hosted by FEC United, an American religious group recently founded by Joe Oltmann and boasts its own militia.
United American Defence Force was responsible for the Patriot Muster Rally in October 2020. During this event, a private security guard hired to protect journalists shot and killed a rally participant who attacked him with pepper spray. Oltmann laid his disdain for the media bare, making unsubstantiated claims that members of “antifa” were in fact posing as journalists.
“We’ve been de-masking antifa members that are actually acting as journalists … So the next thing we’re doing because of that is that we are going to start demasking so people in the community know who they are… You want to know what it looks, like who want to take this country away.”
He followed up with a threat toward journalists who publish unfavourable coverage.
“We’re coming for you. I hope they’re watching. I hope all of them are watching, including the one who tried to sneak in here. If you’re part of the media and you write something bad about us, better take your byline off it.”
FEC United did not respond to previous requests for comment.
It is not clear if the previous cases were why Pawlowski was taken into custody. In a segment widely shared online of Steve Bannon’s online show “War Room,” the Executive Director of the Coalition to Defend America, Cindy Chafian, said that the charges were new and unrelated to previous cases.
On The Road Again
FEC United’s “Courageous Faith” tour managed to net Pawlowski a spot on Steve Bannon’s online show War Room, a meeting with SPLC-designated hate group MassResistance’s founder Arthur Schaper in Los Angeles, and a video featuring both Pawlowski and his son with former national security adviser to US President Donald Trump, Michael Flynn.
Flynn specifically has become a central figure in the QAnon movement, even headlining a Q conference in Dallas, Texas in May.
This would not be the last time Flynn and Pawlowski would find themselves in close proximity, as an event held days before the return flight to Canada would advertise both men among their speakers. The “Reawaken America” tour in Colorado Springs, CO, came forward with a menagerie of different speakers including Flynn, Pawlowski, FEC United’s Joe Oltman, and numerous others.
Organized by podcast host Clay Clark, “Reawakening America” is a rolling show of medical and COVID disinformation, just one of a few tours organized by Clark giving a platform to numerous far-right talking heads and questionable medical professionals. Flynn has appeared at many of the events and recently went on Clark’s show to claim that there was talk about putting vaccines into salad dressing -- surprisingly, this appears to not be true.
These are hardly the only fringe figures Pawlowski has come into contact with while in the United States. During another “Health & Safety” event organized by Clark in Tampa, Florida, he delivered a sermon to a crowd about how they were engaged in a new civil rights movement.
During this conference, as noted by Media Matters’ Alex Kaplan, Pawlowski responded to the signature QAnon phrase “where we go one we go all,” with a simple “amen.”
There is also a movie allegedly in the works based around Pawlowski’s life and struggles, according to a video posted on YouTube by the pastor. After attending an Arizona conference featuring Eric Trump, he posted a video of a meeting with Mike Smith, a former Hollywood stunt man and creator of the film “Out of Shadows,” which purports to be a documentary exposing the satanic pedophilia of the major film industry.
“I’ve never seen more lions in a Savannah, and you know I work in Africa, than in the [United States],” Pawlowski said, introducing Smith to his audience. He added that the director was cooking some more stuff for the glory of God this time, not for the glory of Hollywood or the devil.”
Describing the Canadian pastor as an “amazing man,” Smith said “I want to tell his story because what’s happening to the pastor here is absolutely atrocious. It’s an attack on the church, it’s an attack on Christ.”
This would not be the first documentary made about the Street Church’s founder, as he was the subject of a previous feature on his ministry’s efforts to help feed Calgary’s houseless population.
Pawlowski is best known as a hate preacher based out of Calgary, Alberta and runs the Cave of Adullam, also known as Street Church, a far-right, anti-2SLGBTQ+ religious space. Since 2005, Pawlowski has become known for holding loud outdoor events in which he feeds the houseless population while proselytizing his specific, and bigoted, brand of religion. In more recent years, he, along with his brother, have become fixtures in the far-right protest movement.
His hate is primarily directed at the 2SLGBTQ+ community, by holding protests and disrupting Pride events. When asked for comment about his views towards LGBTQ people, Pawlowski said that “regarding the homosexual sin, I love everyone regardless of their sin. Everyone has fallen short of the glory of God created him or her for a purpose. Just because I disagree with someone’s preferences or life choices does not mean that I wish them ill or I hate them.”
Despite these sentiments, in 2013 he blamed flooding in Alberta on the 2SLGBTQ+ community: “(God) is weeping for the perversions of homosexuality which includes the walking out the pride of their abominations in the streets of our cities.”
Pawlowski also organized a protest featuring anti-LGBTQ activist Bill Whatcott in 2017. In 2018 Pawlowski called Whatcott a “Christian freedom fighter” when he was charged with promoting hate at a Toronto Pride event.
On his website, Pawlowski wrote, “This was a Church vigil called ‘In Defence of Christianity’ Thouse [sic] homofascists and antifa-fascists just proved our point that there is a need to defend Christianity in this Godless and perverted nation!”
PressProgress reported that same year that Pawlowski’s website stated that homosexuals are “not ashamed to declare the name of their master (Satan) and in the same way not concerned with provoking greatly the wrath of the Living God.”
In 2019 Pawlowski vocally objected to a rainbow crosswalk in Calgary. According to CBC, "This is a lie from the pit of hell, perverted symbol that God has given to us.… They are using it to laugh at God, to shake their fingers at God saying, 'we don't care about your law, we don't care about you,’” Pawlowski said in a video on Facebook.
Pawlowski also targets the Muslim community. Another 2013 post authored by Pawlowski states, “those Muslims and their message is un-Canadian...if we will not stand up for our values today, their [sic] will be no police and courts that will protect our rights tomorrow. It will be Sharia law and if you will not to submit [sic] to that wicked evil dictatorship you are dead.”
With files from Kurt Phillips and Elizabeth Simons.
This story has been updated to include the charges reportedly filed against Artur Pawlowski.