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Pastor Expecting Crowds Of 2,000 Or More This Easter Saying Coronavirus 'Will Not Stop Us'

Pastor Expecting Crowds Of 2,000 Or More This Easter Saying Coronavirus 'Will Not Stop Us'

A pastor in Louisiana has said he's expecting a congregation of 2,000 or more on Easter Sunday, saying the virus will not stop them.

Reverend Tony Spell said his church near Baton Rouge will be welcoming thousands this weekend, despite federal guidance urging people to social distance to help stop the spread of coronavirus - which has killed more than 100,000 people globally.

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The United States has recorded 19,833 deaths so far. The country also has more than 500,000 confirmed cases at the time of writing, according to the John Hopkins University online dashboard.

But Spell is still insisting on holding in-person services, telling Reuters: "Satan and a virus will not stop us."

He added: "God will shield us from all harm and sickness. We are not afraid. We are called by God to stand against the Antichrist creeping into America's borders. We will spread the Gospel."

Pastor Tony Spell, center background, talks to congregants after an evening service at Life Tabernacle Church in Central, Louisiana, on 31 March. Credit: PA
Pastor Tony Spell, center background, talks to congregants after an evening service at Life Tabernacle Church in Central, Louisiana, on 31 March. Credit: PA

Spell also told TMZ: "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."

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The pastor has been receiving a great deal of attention recently for his controversial stance.

He was arrested on 31 March and charged with six misdemeanours for violating an executive order by Governor John Bel Edwards, banning gatherings of more than 50 people.

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Pastor Claims More Than 1,300 People Attended His Easter Service Amid Lockdown

The arrest came just one day after Florida megachurch pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was also arrested, having been holding services at his church, the River at Rampa Bay.

Meanwhile, another pastor recently claimed he summoned the 'wind of God' to destroy Covid-19.

Pastor Kenneth Copeland was leading a televised service, preaching a sermon to a virtual congregation (and a few kind-of-socially-distanced folk joining him in the near-empty room) via the Kenneth Copeland's Ministries YouTube feed.

In the stream, the televangelist blew into the camera's direction and, seemingly addressing Covid-19, said: "I blow the wind of God on you. You are destroyed forever, and you'll never be back. Thank you, God. Let it happen. Cause it to happen."

He also led a chant with other members of his megachurch, calling out: "Wind, almighty, strong, south wind, heat: burn this thing, in the name of Jesus. I say, you bow your knees. You fall on your face."

Copeland, a Trump supporter, also explained it didn't have to be a 'fast' wind, just 'hot'.

Copeland said on stage: "This thing is gonna hit New Orleans. I tell you, it gets hot down there... Because it's right down there on the coast. It gets muggy.

"And that's what it takes to kill this thing. It hates heat, it hates humidity, it hates water - it just dies."

Let's all bring some positivity, support and fun to anyone who might find themselves in isolation as a result of the coronavirus spread. Need some entertainment? Join Isolation Nation: https://www.facebook.com/groups/coronasupport/

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, Coronavirus, US News

Jess Hardiman

Jess is a journalist at LADbible who graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Film Studies, English Language and Linguistics - indecisiveness at its finest, right there. She also works for FOODbible and its sister page Seitanists, which are both a safe haven for her to channel a love for homemade pasta, fennel and everything else in between. You can contact Jess at [email protected]