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Pastor who thinks homosexuality is evil and Jesus will save him from coronavirus could face jail for holding church services

Nick Duffy April 1, 2020
Pastor Tony Spell has refused to close down Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Pastor Tony Spell has refused to close down Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

An anti-gay Louisiana pastor who flouted a public lockdown to bus in thousands to his megachurch is facing misdemeanour charges.

Pastor Tony Spell has refused to close down Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana despite the lockdown, instead bussing in more than 1,800 people to attend his Sunday morning service.

Even Trump faith adviser Tony Perkins, himself an anti-LGBT evangelist, had joined efforts calling on Spell to cease his services – but the pastor has continued to keep his church open, insisting that God will protect his parishioners from coronavirus.

As a result, police announced on Tuesday that Spell has been charged with six misdemeanour counts of disobeying the powers of the governor.

Police slam ‘reckless and irresponsible’ pastor

Baton Rouge police chief Roger Corcoran said: “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.

“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.

“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.”

Pastor Tony Spell has refused to close down Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Pastor Tony Spell has refused to close down Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

He was not taken into custody, however.

The maximum sentence for violating an executive order in Louisiana is six months in jail and a fine of $500, though it is unclear what punishment Spell is likely to face.

Pastor Tony Spell is not a fan of gay people

In news that will surprise no-one, the pastor holds anti-LGBT beliefs and aligns himself with the Louisiana Family Forum, which LGBT+ campaigners in the state have branded a homophobic hate group.

A blog in Spell’s name, updated from 2015 to 2016, linked an embrace of homosexuality to the sins of humanity prior to the Genesis flood in the Bible, insisting that it’s “unnatural for boys to be attracted to boys, and girls to girls.”

It also compared gay weddings to polygamy, adding: “Same sex marriage gives the benefit of sexual pleasure and marital rights, while separating themselves from the responsibility of reproduction.”

Other posts on the blog, which contain multiple grammar and spelling errors, complain that “the spirit of the majority of t.v. Sitcoms are homosexual oriented” and that “motion pictures, that promote sex, violence, profanity, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, will destroy your family and your church.”

Posts also call for Hillary Clinton to be “in prison for crimes against humanity.”

More: Anti-gay, louisiana

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