Homophobic hate preacher claims ‘true Christians don’t mind dying of coronavirus’. Yes, really
Anti-gay pastor Tony Spell says “true Christians don’t mind dying of the coronavirus” if they are infected at church.
Spell is facing charges for twice flouting lockdown rules to bus in thousands to his megachurch.
The Louisiana-based pastor was charged by police with six misdemeanours on March 31 for holding a church service for 1,800 people during Lousiana’s ban on large public gatherings.
Less than a week later, on April 5, Spell held another church service with a congregation of hundreds.
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.
Now, the evangelical pastor of Life Tabernacle Church has said his parishioners won’t mind dying for their faith.
‘True Christians do not mind dying.’
“The Bible teaches us to be absent from our bodies as to be present with the Lord,” said Spell, in a video interview with TMZ.
Responding to criticism that he is putting his congregation at risk of contracting COVID-19 by continuing to hold services despite the ban on public gatherings, Spell said: “Like any zealot or like any pure religious person, death looks to them like a welcome friend.”
“True Christians do not mind dying. They fear living in fear,” he continued.
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“What would you say if, in the future, one of your parishioners did die of coronavirus, having come to one of your services? Would you feel like you had blood on your hands or not?” Spell is asked.
“No,” Spell replied. “Yea, that we walk through the valley of the shadow of death will fear no evil because God is with us… Death looks to them like a welcome friend.”
“People have been locked in their homes now for 23 days like prisoners. The only vent for their emotion they have is coming to the house of God and worshipping, like free people.”
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 TV sitcoms are homosexual oriented” and that “motion pictures, that promote sex, violence, profanity, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, will destroy your family and your church”.