Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) sent a letter to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom urging the commission to consider adding Canada to its watch list in response to the country’s crackdown on religious freedom. In the letter, Senator Hawley cites recent instances of Canadian pastors being arrested and jailed for holding worship services that do not comply with strict COVID-19 restrictions.
“I am troubled that our Canadian neighbors are effectively being forced to gather in secret, undisclosed locations to exercise their basic freedom to worship,” Senator Hawley writes. “Frankly, I would expect this sort of religious crackdown in Communist China, not in a prominent Western nation like Canada. Canadian authorities’ arrest of faith leaders and seizure of church property, among other enforcement actions, appear to constitute systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”
Last year, Senator Hawley urged the Department of Justice to bring federal lawsuits to uphold the rights of houses of worship burdened by unjust restrictions.