Louisiana pastor charged with disobeying the powers of the governor

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Tony Spell, pastor of Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, had the police show up Tuesday night after defying a state order to hold public gatherings to less than 50. (Google Maps/Facebook)

Louisiana’s Democratic governor is cracking down on lawless churchgoers, charging the pastor of a church in Central, La. with six misdemeanor counts of disobeying the powers of the governor, prosecutors said on March 31.

According to FOX 8, Chief Roger Corcoran with the Central Police Department issued Mark Anthony Spell, pastor of Life Tabernacle Church in Central, a misdemeanor summons for six counts of violating the governor’s executive order (LA R.S. 29:724E) after he hosted multiple large gatherings.

“Over the last two weeks I have worked with the sheriff, state police, the state fire marshal, Reverend Tony Perkins, and others to address this matter outside of legal action. Mr. Spell made his intentions to continue to violate the law clear,” he said in a statement. “Instead of showing the strength and resilience of our community during this difficult time, Mr. Spell has chosen to embarrass us for his own self-promotion.

“Mr. Spell will have his day in court where he will be held responsible for his reckless and irresponsible decisions that endangered the health of his congregation and our community,” Corcoran said. “This is not an issue over religious liberty, and it’s not about politics. We are facing a public health crisis and expect our community’s leaders to set a positive example and follow the law.”

Spell has continually disobeyed orders by Governor John Bel Edwards that large groups should not gather during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. He has held multiple church services with hundreds in attendance.

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