A Louisiana pastor who defied public health officials by bussing in over 1,800 to attend his Sunday service may face jail time for his actions.
Pastor Tony Spell is the leader of the Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he regularly preaches about the evils of homosexuality and speaks in tongues. Two weeks ago, he drew widespread criticism for bussing in 1,825 people to attend his Sunday morning service.
Despite being warned by the governor and public health officials not to do that ever again, Spell ignored their orders and continued leading services several days a week. Just yesterday, he held a special Tuesday night service that dozens and dozens of people attended.
Now, Spell is being charged with six misdemeanor counts of disobeying the powers of the governor for defying the state’s ban on public gatherings in response to the coronavirus crisis.
“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,” Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran says in a statement.
Spell maintains that the best way to handle a pandemic by trusting in the healing hand of Jesus and he’s promised that if anyone who attends his service contracts COVID-19 he, personally, will heal them.
“I’m going to address that by laying hands on them and praying for them and depending on God to heal their body,” Spell told local media in an interview.
Speaking to CNN, he said that opening his to church to thousands of people on a weekly basis is no more dangerous than people shopping at grocery stores.
“I’ve heard from God, and I will continue to do what I am doing!” Spell insists.
“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 says.
Louisiana has seen the fastest growing rate of coronavirus infections in the world, with more than 5,000 cases and 239 deaths as of Tuesday, its deadliest day so far.