Louisiana church defies coronavirus guidelines and holds Palm Sunday service as pastor tells worshipers there’s ‘nothing to fear’
A rebellious Louisiana church continued to defy the coronavirus guidelines against mass gatherings by holding services on Palm Sunday.
The services Sunday at the Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge garnered hundreds of attendees, with Pastor Tony Spell telling worshipers there was “nothing to fear," according to Reuters.
Spell had vowed to keep the church open even after he was arrested last week. Gov. John Bel Edwards has prohibited gatherings of 10 or more people amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They would rather come to church and worship like free people than live like prisoners in their homes,” Spell said to the media Sunday.
During an appearance on CNN early Sunday morning, Spell said more than two dozen buses would continue to pick up people throughout the area and bring them to the church.
He said last week's service drew 1,800 people.
Meanwhile, many other churches across the United States turned to virtual services to prevent people from gathering in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
More than 470 people have died from COVID-19 in Louisiana, while more than 13,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the state as of Sunday.
An attorney for Spell said that the attendees at the church stayed six feet apart from each other.
During his CNN appearance Sunday, Spell said he believes the science shared by experts who say group gatherings put people at greater risk of catching coronavirus. However, the pastor pointed to the statistic that more than 99% of people survive after being infected.