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Monday, August 21, 2006

It could get you jailed . . .

I'm always a little reticent about protesters' complaining about the consequences of their civil disobedience -- ergo, "How dare the police jail me for breaking city ordinances about lawful assembly!" and the like.  My view is, if you're going to engage in civil disobedience (emphasis on "civil"), then part of that is accepting the consequences.

But then, there are those instances where "protesters" have gone to great pains NOT to engage in civil disobedience, to stay well within the law, and to respect law enforcement, and they still receive what appears to be unreasonable, biased, and, even, egregious treatment by the law.

What the Ottawa Sun columnist Licia Corbella describes, here,  seems to fall into the latter category.  According to Corbella, Artur Pawlowski, a former homebuilder and a refugee from formerly Communist Poland, gave up his lucrative business to devote his life to turning streetpeople and others away from lives of drug abuse and what else goes with life on the street.  Pawlowski had the temerity to talk to "Fringe Festival" participants about the occult.  When asked to stay well away, he did, but went to the fringes of where the Fringe Festival was set up to pray for the participants, out of earshot.

Even so,  members of the Calgary Police Service responded to a complaint made by a participant in the Fringe Festival and arrested Pawlowski.

"Ah, yes," you may be thinking, "but how do we know Pawlowski and Co. didn't engage in UNcivil behaviour?"

According to Corbella, it was caught on video that showed the facts as she reported them.

But here's my question for the occultists:  "Assuming they  really believe this stuff, why didn't they just call on the 'gods' of the occult instead of the Calgary coppers?"

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on August 21, 2006 in Religion | Permalink


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i thought the Fringe was an Edmonton festival. They have one in Calgary too ?

Posted by: Markalta | 2006-08-21 3:25:32 PM

(1) According to the story, the prayer group was "in the far southeast corner of the park". That would put them right at the spot where the street performers were and where the street was blocked to traffic for this very purpose - not exactly clear of locations the Fringe was using, as the columnist tries to suggest.

(2) The police did not have the ability to review the videotapes before they made an arrest. All they knew was that this guy had been harrassing Fringe events on one day and then they got another complaint the next day. I don't know what the people who called the cops told them his group was doing, but police can only act on the information they get. Bad information can lead to bad arrests.

(3) You sneer, 'But here's my question for the occultists: "Assuming they really believe this stuff, why didn't they just call on the 'gods' of the occult instead of the Calgary coppers?"' Betcha you wouldn't say to the Israelis, "But if they really believe in God, why didn't they just call on him rather than launch rockets when Hezbollah attacked them?" It's a dumb-assed question, and you should know better.

(4) Suppose the tables were reversed and it was a Christian booth that was been confronted by people who did not share their views? Would you then agree that it is no big deal that they were being confronted and then returned the next day after police intervention? Probably not. Occultists are wacky, but their wackiness is protected if you take religious freedom seriously at all. Apparently you don't. Apparently your defence of it only extends to the religions you approve of.

(5) Hey, ebt. What Fringe shows did you see that warrants your quip? I bet you didn't even go to any events and are just mouthing off. I saw several different shows (plays, commedy, and music) and thought it was a good event. I did, however, steer clear of the occultists. I just wasn't interested. Maybe Pawlowski should have just done the same.

Posted by: Mark Logan | 2006-08-21 5:18:42 PM

Ah...a troll defends the depraved fringe people!! Now there is a surprise eh folks!!

Ha ha ........

Posted by: Albertanator | 2006-08-21 10:38:51 PM

I'll defend even your freedom of speech, Albernator - regardless of how depraved you might be.

The Holy Books says we're all depraved.

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-08-21 11:57:00 PM

Your right ian, but it also assumes you will realize your depraved state and alter it.

Posted by: Frico | 2006-08-22 6:57:36 AM

I should have added: 'if one has understanding'.
then it has this admonition - a man without understanding is like the beast of the field.
Today, there is ample evidence of this.

Posted by: Frico | 2006-08-22 7:26:59 AM

Forgive me if I've missed something but last time I looked Licia was editor of the Calgary Sun and regular contributor to Sun Media (national) columnist ranks by virtue of her writing on Alberta, etc.

Have I been that far away?

Posted by: maurice | 2006-08-22 12:26:05 PM

Uh, is nobody as worried as I am that a guy just got arrested for praying and reading the Bible? The charges were obstruction, trespass, and disturbing the peace. He's going to be in court in two weeks.

In court.
For praying and reading the Bible.

I think I might like to be in the courtroom. I think I might also like to hear what the police have to say in defense of arresting a man who is practicing freedom of religion and assembly.

Posted by: Tozetre | 2006-08-23 7:05:17 AM

Thanks, Tozetre. I was thinking the very same thing. Obviously many don't understand the passion that God gives us to serve others and to share Jesus' love - in deed and in word. The sad part is that this used to be the norm in Canada. Now Canadians are arrested for it. Remember what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount - "blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." It will be an interesting court case - if it gets that far. Would love to be a fly on the courtroom wall that day.

Posted by: Bob Beasley | 2006-08-23 8:07:46 AM

In response to Mark Logan's defence of the police action certain things should be pointed out.
1.) Licia Corbella states that Mr. Pawlowski stayed away from the vendors, not the festival itself. And he obviously did not interfere with anyone else's activities.
2.) If the occultists were disturbed they obviously were having problems of some sort beyond what Mr. Pawlowski was doing.
3.) By the way, the tables were reversed: Mr. Pawlowski was disturbed by the tarot card readers, and other practitioners of sorcery yet he is not allowed to voice his feelings and told to move on. The occultists get disturbed and Mr. Pawlowski gets arrested. Equality? I don't think so.

Posted by: Ken Cappon | 2006-08-23 11:09:27 PM

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