Op-Ed: Montana Should Offer Canadian Christians Asylum for Religious Persecution


If the American government can offer asylum to those from terrorist nations and criminals hopping the Southern border, surely we can give room to Christians just to our north

Christians in several provinces in Canada are being persecuted by the very definition of that term. The world has watched in horror as Pastor James Coates of Faith Life Church in Edmonton, was arrested and illegally held in jail for more than a month, only for holding religious services. Last week, police in Edmonton tried to enter and disrupt their worship services on Easter Sunday, which is against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This week, a fascist fence company gleefully put up a double concentration camp fence around the church building on behalf of police.

But Coates is not the only one. Pastor Steve Flippin of Fellowship Baptist Church in Saskatoon in the province of Saskatchewan has been repeatedly harassed, along with his congregation, and charged for holding services in accordance to their Charter liberties. Also last week, the world watched in amazement as a Polish pastor in Calgary kicked out police trying to harass the congregation during Passover.

In each Canadian province, Christians are being routinely harassed, fined, and even arrested for exercising their rights laid out in the “Fundamental Freedoms” section of the Canadian Charter. That section reads that Canadian Citizens have the right to “(a) freedom of religion and conscience” and (c) “freedom of peaceful assembly.”

Given the largely secular environment of Canada, social media is rife with comments begging the Canadian government to incarcerate, imprison, and even execute Christians gathering for worship.

Meanwhile, although hotspots of tyranny exist in the United States in highly urbanized areas controlled by the Democratic Party, America still remains largely free and even where local health ordinances are being thwarted, Christians obeying God rather than Caesar have it quite well compared to their Canadian brethren and largely are not being prosecuted. And where Americans have been prosecuted for holding worship services – most prominently, Grace Community Church led by Dr. John MacArthur in California – the Christians have repeatedly won because of the strength of our First Amendment.

Emma Lazarus wrote the words to The New Colossus, the poem that is enshrined on the Statue of Liberty, in 1883…

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Currently, American immigration law allows religious asylum seekers to take refuge in the United States. Under American law, religious persecution is defined as…

  • Serious threats or infliction of physical, psychological, or economic harm by one’s own government or uncontrolled group
  • Punishment by a religious police through being beaten, detained, or otherwise harmed
  • Punishment by a family member, whose authority over you is recognized or tolerated by your country’s government, based on your supposed failure to comply with religious norms
  • Special restrictions on your religious freedom imposed by your country’s laws that have a serious impact on your individual way of life
  • Severe discrimination imposed on your religious group or banning the practice of your religion and forcing you to join a certain religion against your will

Canada’s incarceration of Christians, invasion and disrupting of religious services, and their building of fences around church property qualifies as religious persecution under U.S. law. The U.S. State Department should act immediately to allow Canadian Christians entry into the United States to seek asylum from persecution.

For a non-citizen to seek religious asylum in the United States, they must fill out I-589, “Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal,” which they can find here.

While Montana’s elected leaders – including Governor Greg Gianforte – reject the resettlement of criminal aliens who have illegally invaded American borders to the South, this rejection of refugee resettlement is based upon the reason such refugees from South and Central America have hopped the border; chiefly, the lack of desire to follow easily-attainable permission to come into the nation legally.

Montanans have also generally rejected Islamic refugee resettlement, which has been perpetrated primarily upon “red states” by Washington elitists who desire to change the voting demographics of conservative voting precincts.

However, when it comes to persecuted Christians in Canada, such refugees should be accepted with open arms because they are fleeing legitimate and very real religious persecution. There is sparse difference between the worldview, values, and affections of residents in Alberta or Saskatchewan from the typical Montanans, and they would fit well into Montana’s cultural melting pot, assimilating seamlessly with our own traditions and liberty-centered way of life.

Montana, with our vast public lands, plentiful resources, and low unemployment is well-suited to absorbing several thousand Canadians into our state, who will bolster our tax base and benefit our industries with their skills and work ethic.

Meanwhile, our elected officials are largely professing Christians, including Governor Greg Gianforte, Lt. Governor Kristin Juras, Attorney General Austin Knudsen, and Rep. Matt Rosendale. Surely we can make room for an orderly and legal use of American asylum laws to benefit our neighbors to the north who are being punitively targeted by their government for exercising their religion.

And from what I know of Montanans, our counties will do what is necessary to make sure that we are each living up to our charitable heritage of helping the oppressed seek religious freedom within our borders and shores.

[Editor’s Note: Contributed by JD Hall, Publisher Gideon Knox Group]


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