Parishioner of Louisiana Church That Defied Virus Lockdown Dies From COVID-19, But Pastor Claims It's a Lie - 2020-04-17
A parishioner who regularly attended services at a Louisiana mega-church that has made national headlines for defying social-distancing orders has died from coronavirus complications—but the church's pastor claims it's all a lie.
Tony Spell, the pastor of Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, was issued a misdemeanor summons last month for repeatedly violating a state ban on large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the charges, he has continued to hold services including an Easter Sunday gathering that he claimed 1,345 people attended.
He previously claimed that his church was not at risk of being infected because coronavirus was "politically motivated." Ahead of his Easter service, he told Reuters: "Satan and a virus will not stop us... God will shield us from all harm and sickness. We are not afraid."