Pastor says his parishioners would rather DIE than not go to church as he refuses to stop services during lockdown – The Sun

A PASTOR said his parishioners would rather die than not go to church as he refuses to stop services during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had previously violated the governor's stay at home order, after hundreds of parishioners gathered amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In an exclusive video interview with TMZ, Spell said: "They say everybody's going to get it.

"Then if everybody's going to get it… Lets get on with life."

The defiant pastor held Palm Sunday church services despite the surge in confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths across the Unites States.

He has already been hit with six misdemeanors after repeatedly ignoring state orders against large groups assembling.

When asked about the possibility of one of his parishioners dying from coronavirus, he told TMZ: "The bible teaches us to be absent from our bodies and be present with the lord.

"So like any pure religious person… death looks to them like a welcome friend.

"True Christians do not mind dying, they fear living in fear.

"People that can prefer tyranny over freedom do not deserve freedom."

In Spell's mind, if Christians who attended church during the coronavirus outbreak were to die, they would die "like free people fighting for their convictions."

In regards to communication platforms like Zoom possibly supplementing the act of physically going into church, Spell told TMZ: "It does not work.

"If it worked then why would America spends billions and billions of dollars on churches."

His comments come as the total number of confirmed US coronavirus cases reached 400,549 on Wednesday.

At least 12,857 people have died from the deadly virus in America – and 21,711 have recovered.

Last week, when Spell was asked by CBS why he broke the Louisiana Governor's orders, he said: "Because the Lord told us to."

"Over the last two weeks I have worked with the Sheriff, State Police the State Fire Marshal, Reverend Tony Perkins and others to address this matter outside of legal action. Mr. Spell made his intentions to continue to violate the law clear," Corcoran said in a statement.

"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."

Spell, who according to local news, claims his services cure cancer and HIV, said no "dictator law" should keep people from worshipping God.

"We're defying the rules because the commandment of God is to spread the Gospel," said Spell in a recent interview with Reuters.

"The church is the last force resisting the Antichrist, let us assemble regardless of what anyone says," he added.

Credit: AP:Associated Press
Credit: AP:Associated Press

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