"Face Masks Used to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus" by Nurse Together / CC BY-SA 4.0
By Jaclyn Peiser
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Tony Spell, a pastor of a Pentecostal megachurch in Baton Rouge, has preached to hundreds of parishioners to not wear masks while holding indoor, in-person church services and defying an emergency order from the governor prohibiting large gatherings.
“We are God’s anointed,” Spell said in an Aug. 5 video on his YouTube channel. “We are standing up for our religious and civil liberties and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. We will never stop doing that.”
He falsely added that “there’s no science to say the mask works.”
So when Spell arrived at the 19th Judicial District Courthouse on Tuesday to answer for misdemeanor charges for repeatedly violating an emergency order from Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), Spell still refused to wear a mask, which is required for entry. Instead, his lawyer entered a not guilty plea on Spell’s behalf as the pastor waited outside the courthouse surrounded by unmasked supporters.
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