The pastor who has continued to buck the system and preach to his congregation in Baton Rouge, LA, did so again today despite being on house arrest with an ankle bracelet for monitoring his whereabouts. Pastor Tony Spell from the Life Tabernacle Church was arrested this week for allegedly threatening to run over a protester in front of his church. A contingency of his bail was that he acknowledged that he wouldn’t hold a church service on Sunday, but Spell refused to do so. The judge placed him on house arrest as a result.
Mainstream media outlets covering his service were quick to through out their “unbiased” reporting and condemn the pastor for putting lives in danger over the coronavirus. TMZ went so far as to say that he may be causing a “cataclysmic outbreak” as a result.
“Reverend Tony Spell is flirting with death yet again … because he’s defied authorities again and jammed people into his church … despite being on house arrest.”
A discussion about whether churches SHOULD be gathering together under the coronavirus crisis is a different conversation than whether the government has the authority to shut down church. https://t.co/My9Ehtwej1
— Jeff Dornik (@JeffTheGK) April 26, 2020
We support the pastor’s right to preach in his own church. This is not an endorsement of Spell’s theology or decisions about social distancing for his congregation. Both are personal choices. But the boldness necessary to preach to his congregation against the court’s decision is admirably and represents the type of civil disobedience necessary to wake Americans up. Too many of our freedoms are being suppressed due to he coronavirus. In most states, practicing our faith is not considered to be an “essential” activity.
Considering our faith is the most essential activity any true Bible believer must defend, it’s tough for the authoritarians in government to be compelling in their arguments otherwise. This isn’t about taking the coronavirus seriously or not. But what good is our health if we disconnect from our Creator? The Gospel never rests, nor does the need for it to guide the lives of Christians today.
Evangelist Joshua Feuerstein has organized a rally in front of the Central Police Station in Baton Rouge on Monday. The goal is to draw attention to freedom of religion and the draconian nature of the shutdown that is preventing people from congregating at their churches, as well as to protest the arrest and confinement of Pastor Spell.
Times like these are when we need faith and fellowship the most. You don’t have to agree with how people practice (or don’t practice) social distancing, but you must acknowledge that our freedoms are being stripped away through fear.
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