Charges Dismissed Against Preacher Who Preached During Covid
Do you remember the controversy surrounding Pastor Tony Spell and his services during Covid at Life Tabernacle Church in Central, Louisiana?
People were just as divided about his crowd sizes during his services and whether or not people should take the Covid-19 vaccine. Spell defied Governor John Bel Edwards' shutdown during Covid, and he held services anyway.
Attorney General Jeff Landry says this week's ruling by the Louisiana Supreme Court is a victory for Tony Spell and for all who wish to assemble to worship.
If you will remember, back in the height of closures and mandates closing churches to avoid the spread of the virus, Pastor Spell defied the edict of Governor John Bel Edwards on gathering large crowds for worship.
People were heavily divided on this issue. Many people said it was unconstitutional to tell people they couldn't go to church to worship while the opposite side claimed the Governor's mandates were put in place were about safety and preventing people from contracting Covid-19 in cramped spaces. There was even a warrant for Spell's arrest for almost hitting a protester.
Attorney General Jeff Landry says the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of Spell's right to hold services. Landry says this is what the High Court said,
In this criminal proceeding, we find certain provisions of two executive orders, as applied to the defendant, violate his fundamental right to exercise religion, do not survive strict scrutiny, and are thus unconstitutional.
Landry says he has contended all along that the Governor's mandates were not the basis for prosecution of Spell for too many people gathering for services.
Landry says this was an overreach by Governor John Bel Edwards. Landry says,
Once again, this Governor's overreach has been defeated in court. While it is unfortunate that it took almost two years, I am appreciative that John Bel's unconstitutional actions have been halted by the court.
Now, there is a Gofundme campaign online started by one of Spell's congregants to send the pastor and his wife on a vacation.
Commenting further about the Louisiana Supreme Court's ruling in favor of Pastor Spell, Landry had more to say,
What's more: it is a great highlight of John Bels' hypocrisy - punishing prayer service but not food service at a mall.
You'll remember that essential businesses, like restaurants, were allowed to stay open during the pandemic.