A Canadian pastor has escaped with his family to Kenya after his government invoked emergency war measures to punish citizens who attended a protest where he prayed and sang the national anthem.
Rev. Harold Ristau is said to have participated in the “trucker convoy” which involved a series of protests and blockades in Canada against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions.
As a result of this action, he faced a lawsuit from the Canadian government over his criticism of how it responded to Covid. The pastor had claimed that the state treated dissent as terrorism.
For peaceably assembling to petition the Canadian government, Ristau noted that he was threatened with the removal of his security clearance and government confiscation of his life savings.
The pastor was also hit by serious damage to his reputation, career and friendships after the government used anti-terrorism measures against peaceful protesters.
After enduring more than two years of severe social and government repression, Ristaus, his wife and five children moved to Kenya to seek refuge.
“I don’t know that I can go back and be a Christian in Canada. So that’s why we are here in Kenya,” Ristau said.
Ristau recounts that besides dealing with overbearing health restrictions, his children were mocked at school for their family’s religious and political views.
In a prior interview with a Canadian news outlet The True North, Ristau reiterated that the Government of Canada was judging whether a church’s teaching was aligned with the mainstream media narrative and pharmaceutical messaging at the time.
He added that registered Christian denominations were flagged if they held a position that was not fully supportive of the vaccine mandates.
The family has so far found peace in Kenya after a long back-and-forth battle with the Canadian government. The wife to the pastor, Elise Ristau, stated that the difficulty of raising their children in rapidly apostatizing Western culture also affected their decision to move to Kenya.
“Things are normal here, people have traditional values. It is inconceivable to think of transgender mutilation. As a mother and father, we do our very best to keep our kids Christian,” She added.