Another Pastor Charged With Defying Coronavirus Orders Against Large Gatherings - 2020-03-31
"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 in a statement to The Daily Beast. "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."
Authorities said Spell's last service was held on Sunday, when the pastor hosted about 500 worshippers at the church in Central, a city about 20 minutes from Baton Rouge. The pastor previously told WMTV he did not believe his congregation was at risk of getting the virus—which has infected more than 177,400 people and killed 3,600 nationwide—because he believed the virus was "politically motivated."
"It's not a concern," Spell said last Tuesday after another service. "The virus, we believe, is politically motivated. We hold our religious rights dear and we are going to assemble no matter what someone says."