Louisiana pastor again holds services for 1,200 despite ban
Virtual services are “difficult,” pastors say A Louisiana pastor who was charged last week for violating the governor’s coronavirus ban again defied orders and held services at church for Palm Sunday, one of the most significant religious observations for Christians. Pastor Tony Spell, the leader at Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, told CBS News in an email that more than 1,200 congregants attended on Sunday. Since Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards put forth a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people last month to stop the spread of coronavirus, Spell has continued to have worshippers at the church. He was arrested and given misdemeanor charges for violating the ban. That didn’t stop him – or 1,220 people from attending on Sunday. “We derive our inalienable rights from God, not any government,” he told CBS News on Monday. Congregation members enter the Life Tabernacle Church for a Palm Sunday service in Baton Rouge, Louisiana despite statewide stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus. CLAIRE BANGSER Spell said attendees did observe six feet of distancing at the services, but did not wear face masks. The pastor said the church is cleaned daily and boasted it’s cleaner than open gas stations, Walmart and Sam’s Club.