Pastor Holding Large Services Despite Distancing Order: ‘True Christians Do Not Mind Dying’

On Wednesday, TMZ uploaded a video in which they interview Pastor Tony Spell, the leader of Life Tabernacle Church in Central, Louisiana. Spell has made a national name for himself in recent weeks as he has continued to hold large church services despite state social distancing orders.
TMZ asked Spell what he would say if a congregant died of COVID-19 having attended a Life Tabernacle gathering. “Would you feel like you have blood on your hands or no?”
Spell replied, first quoting scripture. “Yea, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil for God is with us.”
The pastor then added that “the Bible teaches us to be absent from our bodies is to be present with the Lord. So, like any revolutionary, or like any zealot, or like any pure religious person, death looks to them like a welcomed friend.”
This led to the following exchange with TMZ:
TMZ: You’re saying that they wouldn’t mind if they died?
SPELL: True Christians do not mind dying. They fear living in fear, [cowardice] of their convictions.
TMZ: So you’re saying that you think that your parishioners would prefer to come to the service and potentially get coronavirus and die than not come to the service and be fine?
SPELL: A people that can prefer disgrace to danger are headed for a master and deserve one. People that prefer tyranny over freedom do not deserve freedom. People have been locked in their homes for 23 days now, like prisoners. The only vent that they have to their emotion is coming to the house of God and worshiping like free people.
TMZ asked Spell why the church can’t simply meet “on Zoom,” adding that God is “everywhere.”
Spell said that it “does not work,” and that if it did, “why did America spend billions and billions of dollars on churches?”
One final time, TMZ asked Spell what he would tell the family of a congregant who died of COVID-19. The pastor replied that this hypothetical person “died like free people fighting for their convictions.”
Spell then said that his congregants pass away from sickness such as “cancer, HIV, AIDS, [and] heart disease.” TMZ noted that COVID-19 is “preventable,” to which the pastor responded:
Well, who knows what is preventable? … God gave us a strong immune system, and the only way we’re going to destroy this virus is for – they say everybody’s gonna get it. Then if everybody’s gonna get it, then let’s get on with life.

On Palm Sunday, Spell held services despite having been served days earlier with a “misdemeanor summons for six counts of violating the governor’s executive order,” according to Central Police Department Chief Roger Corcoran.
While Spell reportedly told CNN that approximately 1,220 people attended his two Sunday services, Chief Corcoran told NBC News that the pastor has been padding the numbers: “At the most, he had 500. Between the two.”
The spotlight has been focused on Spell as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The pastor has refused to suspend large church gatherings despite the virus infecting hundreds of thousands of Americans, and leading to the deaths of more than 19,800 people, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) Global Cases map.
During a recent interview with CNN’s Victor Blackwell, Spell said that he and his congregants are following a “command from God” to assemble, and that “there are no governing bodies that can tell us we cannot gather and worship freely.”
When asked by Blackwell if his position was consistent with his alleged pro-life values, Spell replied:
My response to that is people’s hope is in the house of God. If they do contract the virus, if they have fears of the virus, the church is more essential now than ever to pray with people, to let them know there is a balm in Gilead. There is a physician in Jesus Christ. He is the healer. He said, “Come unto me, all you that are wearing heavy laden, let me give you rest.” So, we were supposed to be at a million and a half body bags. We’re at 8,400. So, the narrative is false, Victor.
Blackwell noted that the friends and families of the 8,400 who had died at the time of the interview likely wouldn’t appreciate Spell’s attitude.
In a Facebook post on March 31, Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran stated in part:
Instead of showing the strength and resilience of our community during this difficult time, Mr. Spell has chosen to embarrass us for his own self-promotion. 
Mr. Spell will have his day in court where he will be held responsible for his reckless and irresponsible decisions that endangered the health of his congregation and our community. 
Corcoran concluded: “This is not an issue over religious liberty, and it’s not about politics. We are facing a public health crisis and expect our community’s leaders to set a positive example and follow the law.”
Speaking with Reuters about upcoming Easter Sunday services, Pastor Spell said that the congregation isn’t “afraid,” that “Satan and a virus will not stop us,” and “God will shield us from all harm and sickness.”
Pastor Holding Large Services Despite Distancing Order: ‘True Christians Do Not Mind Dying’ Pastor Holding Large Services Despite Distancing Order: ‘True Christians Do Not Mind Dying’ Reviewed by CUZZ BLUE on April 12, 2020 Rating: 5

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