March 2021 Church & State Magazine | AU Bulletin

A Louisiana pastor who faces six criminal charges for ignoring restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic has failed in his efforts to have the case against him dismissed.

Tony Spell, pastor of Life Tabernacle Church in the town of Central near Baton Rouge, refused to stop holding large in-person services despite an order from Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) limiting all sorts of big gatherings.

In late January, Judge Eboni Johnson-Rose of the 19th Judicial District Court refused to dismiss the charges against Spell. Johnson-Rose ruled that Edwards’ order had already been upheld by other courts and noted that it applies equally to religious and secular entities, reported WJTV-TV of Baton Rouge.

Spell was not in the courtroom because he refuses to wear a mask. Outside the building he told reporters, “You just ruled against God. Get ready for the judgment of God. We will never comply, and we will always resist. We will always stand up for the word of God and the First Amendment of the United States.”