While churches around the world made the necessary changes to their Easter services, one pastor remained defiant and reportedly hosted more than 1,000 people at an Easter celebration in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Tony Spell, the pastor at Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rogue, is no stranger to controversy. After the governor ordered everyone to stay at home, Spell welcomed 1,800 people to the church’s campus. He continued to hold Sunday services, and was issued a summons.
“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 said according to reports.
Despite the media attention and arrest, Spell carried on with an Easter Sunday service.
Central City News streamed the service on Facebook, though the camera was mainly focused on Spell.
According to the media outlet, six members of the congregation have been fired from their jobs because they attend services at Life Tabernacle Church. Perhaps even more shocking is the news that approximately 1,100 people attended services across seven buildings on the church’s 30 acre campus.
Spell’s Easter service wasn’t shut down by police because they’re reportedly using it to build a case against the pastor.
“He is doing this for publicity,” Assistant Police Chief Darren Sibley said. “He is putting the citizens of the community at risk. And he is putting the people in his congregation at risk.”
Spell previously said his congregation wasn’t at risk of contracting coronavirus.
“It’s not a concern,” he told WAFB. “The virus, we believe, is politically motivated. We hold our religious rights dear and we are going to assemble no matter what someone says.”
While I understand what the police are doing in terms of gathering more evidence against Spell, it’s at the cost of the public. This man is putting so many people’s lives at risk.
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