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Pastor Says It’s In ‘Persecution Of The Faith’ For Him To Be Asked To Close Church Doors During C…


This is clearly a difficult situation for everybody and I can imagine for you wanting to minister to your flock and bring comfort to them and deliver the message to them, this creates a real problem because a lot of these people rely on this every week and maybe sometimes more than once a week to come and get the message and get the comfort that you provide. That is accurate, Dr. Phil. We feel that we are as essential part of our community as the retail stores, as the Mall of Louisiana, that remains open to this moment. So it is in persecution of the faith for us to be asked to close our doors whenever more people are being contacted in those Targets and Walmarts than are in my service. And for them to say those are essential to the community operating, I say that the church is as and more important that we assemble together, we reach out, we minister to people, we feed people. We’re the last stable institution in this community today. I guarantee you that. Well Pastor Tony, let me tell you straight up, I very much am a Christian. I’ve had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ since I was 13 years old. I take this very seriously. So I have a great respect for what you’re trying to do but also I’ve read everything that you were kind enough to share with us about your thinking and I know that you also have a healthy respect for the science involved here and I know that you don’t want to put anybody at risk at the same time. You say that the stores are open, so you’re holding your doors open, and two wrongs don’t make a right. And what I’m concerned about is the science of this that I’ve looked very hard at, and trust me, I’m not an immunologist, I’m not an infectious disease expert and I don’t pretend to be, but I have had the privilege of talking to the world’s leading experts on this and the fact of the matter is this is not a typical virus. This is much more infectious than influenza, it’s much more deadly than influenza. And particularly for those that are elderly with underlying respiratory disorders, like COPD or asthma, something of that nature. If they get that, particularly in a part of the country where there are not a lot to respirators or ventilators or resources to help them, this could be very, very deadly. And I’m curious how you feel about that in putting these people in such juxtaposition to one another? My answer to that is even if the stores were to close, we want to have the ability to exercise our first amendment rights, which are your rights as well, but these are our freedoms that we hold dear that congress can pass now laws prohibiting or forbidding us to gather and assemble. That is a conviction of ours and even if the stores were to close, we don’t force anybody to come to our services. I’ll tell you this, with the instability in my community today, I’ve ministered to two teenage girls, African American girls who have attempted suicide this week because their parents have lost their jobs, their schools are closed, they don’t get their meals during the day. And these are a troublesome time for them. We’re ministering to them. We’re not a part of the problem.

Jean Kelley

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100 COMMENTS

  1. earth angel Posted on March 26, 2020 at 9:24 am

    He's a lower level child of God, ignorant, and uneducated.. you don't need the four walls of a church.. it's within as well, I can feel gods presence while on the toilet or in my car..

    Reply
  2. Melanin Queen Posted on March 26, 2020 at 9:27 am

    Oh shocking! "Religious" humans have always cared abt others. This is bloody new!

    Reply
  3. Jo Byrne Posted on March 26, 2020 at 9:35 am

    If he cares about his constituents he would do online broadcasts . The only difference is he can't pass around the collection plate. Disgusting imo

    Reply
  4. Renee Citizen Posted on March 26, 2020 at 9:43 am

    Do it online…duh

    Reply
  5. Akotski1338 Posted on March 26, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Wow I never thought it could get that serious

    Reply
  6. Barbara Rowley Posted on March 26, 2020 at 9:59 am

    See this is what organized religion has come to. Can't pass the collection basket around to empty pews. Shame on this GODLESS person.

    Reply
  7. SEV Posted on March 26, 2020 at 9:59 am

    How about online services and one on one counselling?

    Reply
  8. Johnny Flannigan Posted on March 26, 2020 at 10:34 am

    Let's put people's lives at risk so we can get together and talk to our imaginary friend

    Reply
  9. Jose Gomez Posted on March 26, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Phil ain’t looking too good

    Reply
  10. Erica Breaux Posted on March 26, 2020 at 10:40 am

    This guy keeps saying "we are not part of the problem" like people and/or Dr Phil have already told him that he is part of the problem for letting his flock gather. With everything he believes he's got to know that if he becomes responsible for putting so many people at risk, and them getting sick or worse, that he will need to answer for them in the afterlife right?! Isn't that what Christians believe? I'm guessing he's not thinking at all about that.

    Reply
  11. Rezur Posted on March 26, 2020 at 10:50 am

    Money won’t protect you from the corona virus 🤦🏻‍♂️

    Reply
  12. Vera SkovStoltze Posted on March 26, 2020 at 10:54 am

    I will say to him He is dump and just thinking of himself You have to close your Church Do ot online and FaceTime No one have to go to a Church to PRAY TO Jesus God You can Pray everywhere outside and in your home The Church takes your freedom and your money And the priest want to power over you and say what you must do and not do Stay away from this People Its only you and God that sould be together So just Pray to you God he will hear you and it is a heaven and a afterlife I know That priest risk your lives don’t be many People together because this virus is infect very easely and this virus is 2-3 times more deadly then the flu It infect your lower lungs so you can breath and then all your organs set off and you die Dont’ listen to that priest he is not good for you he is dangerous He got to be arrest of the police

    Reply
  13. Darryl Campbell Posted on March 26, 2020 at 11:05 am

    This is what you get when you let your country empower religious nutjobs.

    Reply
  14. Tyler Robinson Posted on March 26, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Go ahead , open your doors. You guys will be meeting…but not on earth….in heaven bc you will spread the Virus!!!!!

    Reply
  15. Andi Leigh Posted on March 26, 2020 at 11:20 am

    He is so ignorant.
    Piling people on top of each other during a deadly virus, where people are dying in LA, is SO irresponsible!

    Reply
  16. Dilly Dalie Posted on March 26, 2020 at 11:23 am

    does he open the church to house the homeless, to shelter and feed, help them get back up on their feet??? him saying words does nothing

    Reply
  17. Blue Steel Posted on March 26, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Disgraceful, irresponsible, selfish, ignorant and defiant attitude and behavior…..send him to prison

    Reply
  18. Krystal Medlin Posted on March 26, 2020 at 11:45 am

    He just needs to have a drive in service like my church just stay in your cars and lesson. But also were 2 or more gather you can service at home.

    Reply
  19. Dotdotscott Schott Posted on March 26, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Sounds like somebody's missing those big church donations

    Reply
  20. justin Bluecollarcaviar Posted on March 26, 2020 at 11:55 am

    This man should not be a leader. How ignorant can you be?

    Reply
  21. Jessica Jennifer Posted on March 26, 2020 at 11:57 am

    His imaginary friend cant stop this one 😅🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    Reply
  22. kart warra Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    He is so selfless for god😭 he could die & he is preaching he thinks it’s a good decision nope it ain’t, it’s cultish

    Reply
  23. Kevin DeVilling Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    More religious inanity. A church, temple, or mosque are NOT essential to people. If you haven't had enough of these superstitious, irrational fools go on to church. We can use the elbow room.

    Reply
  24. Christina Wagner Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    The churches in our town have decided to stream online for services.

    Reply
  25. Kari Rutushin Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    Long story short: hes concerned how he can get his "essential" tithe…

    Reply
  26. Jc K Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    “We won’t close because we need those donations every Sunday.”

    Reply
  27. Chantal Seguin Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    close the mall, then close his church. ( ps food before faith)

    Reply
  28. Nancy Jay Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    I have seen news stories where priests and pastors have communicated with their sick and isolated church members by phone and computer. That's compassion and care, rather than being the centre of attention as you pontificate or hand out bags of groceries as cameras roll.

    Reply
  29. Milka Mejias Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    Isaac 26:20 Read it

    Reply
  30. Milka Mejias Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    No common sense

    Reply
  31. poochy2003 Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    How does ministering to two teenagers girls who attempted to commit suicide eat? Your job as a pastor is to provide food to those in need not to risk their life to come to church. You should be jail

    Reply
  32. bardess5 Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    You think you are ministering to people, but you will kill people….

    Reply
  33. Julie Curran Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    Sounds like that pastor only cares about money coming in, not about the welfare of others. Skype mass, video or youtube mass, it's for the health and well being of the people, not the pockets of the church…

    Reply
  34. Susie L Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Since Tony doesn't listen legal action must be taken. He is putting the whole country at risk.

    Reply
  35. Brandon Piperjack Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Hes right. Keep the churches OPEN!!! Then Bring the all sickly COVID-19 virus victims to the church and let GOD sort them out!!!! Im sure he will be happy to heal them all!! PRAISE JESUS!!!

    🤐

    Reply
  36. Angela Tester Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Well minister, you SHOULD be taking money and food to the homes of those girls and their families. Shame on you

    Reply
  37. Marieh Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    You shouldnt be going after the churches. Go after the auto dealerships that feel that they are essential to stay open to the public even after the state governor issues a stay home order they are the ones wanting money

    Reply
  38. Elaine Morgan Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    This man is unintelligent and reckless ….why is he being allowed to do this? He should be arrested for public endangerment immediately!

    Reply
  39. Randi Keene Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    Why not do a video with all your ppl like your doing right now god would want you to keep your people safe!! ❤

    Reply
  40. Jen Walld Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    Side note…why does it matter the skin colour of the two girls you were trying to minister to? Weirdly specific for something supposed to be confidential…

    Reply
  41. Creator Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    Money-grabbing grifter!

    Reply
  42. Square Hammer Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    Wonder if hes friends with trump

    Reply
  43. Elza Altmann Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    I hate to say it, but alot of Americans suffer from me – itis. Its all about what "they" want, not what they "need".

    Reply
  44. NoTToN01 Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    How about voluntarily close your doors, offer online ministry and support to show your love of others and love of Christ because you're putting all their needs at a priority? The church is not buildings, it is spirit and the people who house that spirit. Make the church a safe haven by supporting the protection from a deadly virus.

    Reply
  45. Don Johnson Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    There are only two ways to stop this virus one is threw social distancing but the problem with this is it will plateau & when we go out it will still be there & spike again & case more & faster the deaths cause of mutations, the death toll will increase until a vaccine is made which can take up to 3 years to make. I'm not sure if our society can take 3 year of on & off quarantine. Second is group amunity which needs at least 60% of the population to contract & survive the virus to become noncontagious but this down side is the speed of group amunity which depends on length & compliance of social distancing in which more people exposed to said virus the faster amunity can occur. In either case there Will be casualties & the severity will depend upon our short term or long term decisions

    Reply
  46. Mickey Dill Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    Our church is offering online services and Bible studies. If tithing is an issue, we also have online donations set up.

    Reply
  47. Stardust Dark Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    Fun fact: it’s highly speculated that the bubonic plague got worse because churches continued to congregate, causing the disease to spread.

    Be grateful we have the technology today that you can preach online.

    Reply
  48. Natasha Woit Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    I'm Anglican n my Church has been closed b/c of the virus

    Reply
  49. TheaterPup Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    No, it's persecution of the stupid.

    Reply
  50. Kara Badasski Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    This pastor is an idiot.

    Reply
  51. Isaias Morales Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    Everyone knows these types of pastors want to be in the green

    Reply
  52. Alyssa Cogswell Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    My church went online more than 2 weeks ago. They have put so many resources online for not just the adults, but kids of all ages, even preschool. We are also helping our community by partnering with non-profits who know how to best put the resources we have been given to work safely. The Church is not a building; the Church is the body of believers in the world. This pastor seems a bit slow and a bit misunderstanding of what the church is. I get what he's saying, but he also doesn't seem to understand the reality of the situation or to be able to see it from a different point of view.

    Reply
  53. Linda C Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    He is not addressing the contagion issue. His church members can acquire the virus during church service, and spread it in their homes and groceries stores, or anywhere they go. It isn't just them being put at risk. But truthfully, I don't think this guy cares. Nor is his church being persecuted if other places of assembly are also closed. People can go to Walmart because it's a "come and go" situation and not where people congregate in groups. This pastor doesn't seem to understand some very basic concepts.

    Reply
  54. Tanya Horula Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    I feel so bad for America. Good luck friends.

    Reply
  55. peachesandpoets Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    Anyone stupid enough to go to that service is a Trump supporter so… That's fine. Corpses can't vote. All of yall, go to church. Ignore the many churches that are holding services in Zoom and stuff. 😂

    Reply
  56. Island Girl Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    Your first amendment right is not above the right of the safety of individuals, you can minister over the phone or through other technology. I believe you are more concerned with the money you are losing by the doors of the church being closed

    Reply
  57. A. Lugo Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    He just wants to keep making money. Nothing pays like religion.

    Reply
  58. SmallVille Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Locking ourselves away in our houses isn’t going to make the slightest bit of difference if I’m being honest. Just look at Italy. The death rate is increasing rapidly. Back in Ireland everyone is just chilling like nothing’s happened and there’s been about 7 deaths all in all so what does that tell you!!!

    Reply
  59. Mrs K Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    There's a conference number you can set up for your church that anyone with a phone and the number can listen to, they don't need to have the internet. That's the way some of the more conservative churches are doing. Some churches did that regularly (before coronavirus) so people who can't be there can listen.

    Reply
  60. Haley Williams Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    It’s stupid people like this that’ll be the reason the virus spreads in our country

    Reply
  61. Tarra Birdsell Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    Praying in public is for vanity. Not faith.
    Matthew 6:6
    But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    Reply
  62. brianna reeder Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    doctor: “you have 4 minutes and 38 seconds left to live”

    me:

    Reply
  63. Daniel Selk Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    He should read his Bible. We're to obey the governing authorities as well. This is NOT persecution, otherwise we're "persecuting" all the workforce that has closed and such. We're going through a pandemic. We all need to be understanding.

    Reply
  64. smarts Posted on March 26, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    I'm an atheist, but isn't God supposed to be omniscient and omnipresent? God is supposed to know everything and he's supposed to be everywhere.

    Surely he already knows what you're going through, and he can still hear you if you pray at home.

    This virus has nothing to do with God, it was only ever a matter of time before a novel virus spread throughout the world and killed thousands of people.

    Reply
  65. Kat Haha Posted on March 26, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    My church is doing online services…it’s not persecution it’s a safety measure, especially considering many older and immuno-compromised people are often the majority of congregations.

    Reply
  66. I'm right you're wrong Posted on March 26, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    1st amendment is between you and the government, your rights can violate others rights.

    Reply
  67. Puppy Love Posted on March 26, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    If he had to stop collecting tithings, he would stop having the gatherings.

    Reply
  68. Pocket Watch Posted on March 26, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    If it doesn't matter whether stores close then why use that as an excuse to stay open? Greed.

    Reply
  69. Melissa Randazzo Posted on March 26, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    What a clown

    Reply
  70. Jevon Burke Posted on March 26, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    You mean he can't collect from the offering baskets lol…sorry but a human can live without church and pray at home…a human can't live without food,hence that's why the stores are open

    Reply
  71. CynCyn 9 Posted on March 26, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    He's the reason many people are going to die. What an idiot!

    Reply
  72. Helen Mellott Posted on March 26, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    I am a woman of faith. But people should not be gathering right now – a lot of people will become ill and even pass away. I can't believe God wants that. There are many things churches can do to support the people besides allowing them to gather and spread the virus. God bless everyone! Stay home and stay safe!

    Reply
  73. kampnairobi2 Posted on March 26, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    Pastors have a responsibility to protect their flock. Faith and wisdom go hand in hand. You are risking the lives of many people.

    Reply
  74. Taylor Asher Posted on March 26, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    He doesn’t have the right jeopardize the community! It has nothing to do with faith!!!

    Reply
  75. DATJ Dave Along The Journey Posted on March 26, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    Tony Spell is lying to people, I went to his church for years, he’s all about a spectacle, he doesn’t even care about people’s early, so he’s disgusting.

    Reply
  76. Night Al Posted on March 26, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    The church is not the building it's the congregation. You should be able to teach the gospel over any form rather it be public or livestream over Facebook

    Reply
  77. Ivan Ramirez Posted on March 26, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    If you have faith you should open the shurch. If you don't have faith don't open the church. The church is us. Just pray alone that all. Jesus doesn't look at the pastor minister etc. It us personally we are the church.

    Reply
  78. mariemorgan Posted on March 26, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    All for they money. They have an ATM in their Lobby. What church do you know has an ATM in their lobby? Also claims to have healed cancer/HIV due his services. Why waste your time on this crazy cult person.

    Reply
  79. Randall Grip Posted on March 26, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    I'm so proud that the world looks at this buffoon and likely thinks all the people around him are as stupid and irresponsible as he is. Gooooo Central!

    Reply
  80. cmonster6 Posted on March 26, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    I just remembered why I don’t like organized religion or belong to a church ⛪️I do however belong to a 12 step program and no way am I going to sit with a group of people at this point in time. I just go online for meetings for now

    Reply
  81. Caryn kronshage Posted on March 26, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    Romans 13:1

    Reply
  82. TheConceptDude Posted on March 26, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    He thinks his church is as essential as retail… Delusional.

    Reply
  83. Boop Snoot Posted on March 26, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Yeah it’s not a persecution of faith. You’ll make more people sick and cause more death. Don’t be stupid, stupid. As much as I want people to go and enjoy their faith, places of worship are not essential to stay open.

    Reply
  84. Maryse Flore Posted on March 26, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    May he catch the coronavirus. That might make him close his church and learn a thing or two about common sense. What a dumbass.

    Reply
  85. Léa Delbois Posted on March 26, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    Just a number : 67 priests died in italy at the moment.

    Reply
  86. Hannah B-J Posted on March 26, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    My parish closed, we have about 50 people at the most. Most are elderly. Selfish bastard this so called man of God is

    Reply
  87. Sagittarius Sam Posted on March 26, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    I’m sorry but it isn’t just about you and your church. Your church members could so easily spread this around to your community and elsewhere. Look at the bigger picture please pastor.

    Reply
  88. GINA Kenyon Posted on March 26, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    Isaiah 26:20 If he was really a man of God he would know.

    Reply
  89. libbycatherine Posted on March 26, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    I'd like to hear his take on Romans 13:1-2 Obey the government, for God is the One who has put it there. There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power. So those who refuse to obey the law of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow.

    Reply
  90. Becca Posted on March 26, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    It seems to me that the church he is over is doing fairly well. There are not broken walls or rickety chairs and low lighting. Since he is doing so well, can't he be obedient to the request of the government to stay indoors for a few weeks? I could understand if this was an old storefront church and the pastor was concerned about having to shut down and losing his membership. It just seems like this guy has a problem with following orders.

    I feel like I can say this because as a Christian and an avid churchgoer, our own pastor has told us to stay at home and worship from home. If this pastor needs to talk to his flock, then get your phone out and stream on YouTube for your services. Our pastor does. You can too.

    Reply
  91. Paula Ricard Posted on March 26, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Is he serious? Two black teens tried to kill themselves, because they could not go to school and their parents are not working! He can GTFOH with that bull!

    Reply
  92. Ms.MonicaPyle Posted on March 26, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    He wants to keep that collection plate circulating

    Reply
  93. Kirauni Africa Posted on March 26, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    Dude is greedy just like every other head of a church. It's not about the message is about the money.

    Reply
  94. Kirauni Africa Posted on March 26, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    Why did he feel it necessary to disclose the race of the 2 girls that attempted suicide???

    Reply
  95. Joseph Hermanowski Posted on March 26, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Actions that violate social order are not covered by the first amendment

    Reply
  96. Cheryl Hall Posted on March 26, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    I don't want to be near him or anyone who goes to his church right now!!! He is putting us all at risk!!

    Reply
  97. Marina Nikolov Posted on March 26, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    This is so stupid! Do you see Italy??? Do you see the pope in Italy doing live streams instead of standing on a terrace….. suck it up, pray at home, have skype talks with your followers if they are loosing faith….. there is so many ways to talk to somebody in these times and you are still whining , instead of finding a way…

    Reply
  98. Lily Qresmaidapa Sungkono Posted on March 26, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    A true Church of God opens 24/7 😇

    Reply
  99. Bonnie Forman Posted on March 26, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Persecution of faith – how are they going to Church at all if they die? He sounds like he's doing more than a church service, helping the poor with food, but he seems like he doesn't respect science and the health experts.

    Reply
  100. ZIPPER Posted on March 26, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    The church needs to be taxed

    Reply
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