Baton Rouge church hosts more than 1,800 people amid COVID-19 outbreak

LOUISIANA United States. (FOX 44)The Life Tabernacle Church hosted 1,825 people at their Sunday morning service.

26 buses were used to pick people up from around the Baton Rouge area and transport them to Sunday service.

Pastor Tony Spell says the way to handle a pandemic is through the healing hand of Jesus. “I’m going to address that by laying hands on them and praying for them and depending on God to heal their body.” Spell said.

Social distancing did not happen at the service, held outside. All 1,825 people were spread across the campuses seven buildings.

Throughout the service parishioners could be seen touching each other and closely gathering, very few wearing masks or gloves.

Spell explained that “If anyone in this congregation contracts covid-19 I  will heal them through God”.

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Governor Edwards when asked addressed the controversial service with his same message from the beginning. “I would urge that faith leaders and all faith leaders to heed this directive and not necessarily engage in mass gatherings where this coronavirus can spread,”

At the service, more than 1,000 lunches were served, 9 water baptisms took place and parishioners donated 30 pints of blood.

“Pastors must act as first responders” – Pastor Spell
“When the paramedics can’t get there, when the law enforcement can’t get there, the holy ghost can get there it will make a difference in someone’s life,” Spell said.

According to the Washington Post, Spell spoke with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a member of President Trump’s informal body of evangelical advisers.

In a statement, the White House said, “During this public health crisis, the Trump Administration has been extremely proactive in reaching out to leaders from the faith community, hosting several calls last week with more than 1,200 inter-faith leaders… The White House has strongly recommended that all Americans, including pastors, follow CDC guidelines by limiting groups to 10 people and practicing social distancing. President Trump encourages Americans of all religious backgrounds to do their part to stay healthy and stop the spread.”

While Tony Spell has told CNN and other media he believes the pandemic is “politically motivated” others have started an online petition  asking that Spell be arrested and charged with reckless endangerment.



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