During a talk in recent days with TMZ, Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s Pastor Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church suggested that he and his parishioners don’t care if they die from the Coronavirus if it means they get to live like “free” people and gather in huge groups at their church when they want to. Spell has already been charged with violation of the governor’s order against gatherings of more than 50 people, but as recently as last Tuesday, the pastor held another service anyway. He’s not simply ignorant or naive — he appears to actively be embracing the possibility of death for himself and his parishioners, all in the name of their “freedom.”
A TMZ staffer asked Spell, who was getting interviewed via video conference:
‘What would you say if in the future, one of your parishioners did die of Coronavirus, having gone to one of your services? Would you feel like you have blood on your hands or not?’
He bluntly indicated that a perhaps preventable death on his watch among those who he’d brought together and thereby exposed to the virus spread would not faze him. As he explained it:
‘Though we may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for God is with us. Then he said, fear not, for I am with you. Then, the Bible teaches us that 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.’
So his idea of “zealotry” and “revolution” is to expose the members of his church to a deadly respiratory illness — not to mention those who his church members may themselves come in contact with on their own time, and so on.
Spell ignorantly continued:
‘True Christians do not mind dying. They fear living in fear and cowardice of their convictions… People that prefer tyranny over freedom do not deserve freedom.’
The pastor added that using teleconferencing software like Zoom to hold religious gatherings “does not work,” asking “why did America spend billions and billions of dollars on churches” if options other than heading out into the community amidst a raging pandemic would really be appropriate. In fact, the World Wide Web was launched in the early 1990s. Zoom Video Communications was founded in 2011. Point being: the pastor’s trying to justify heading into church by noting that what, hundreds of years ago there were no other options than spending “billions” on church construction? Obviously not — does he want America to abandon modern medicine, too, because well, hundreds of years ago people just used poisonous herbs and bloodletting? Is that where he’s going with this?
He’s not the first to gain notoriety for openly defying government orders for people to stay at home to try and stem the spread of the virus. Florida Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, for instance, was recently arrested after holding church services in defiance of his own state’s version of a stay-at-home order.