Churchgoers flock to hear Louisiana pastor despite virus ban


Timothy Spell, father of Pastor Tony Spell, talks to reporters after services at the Life Tabernacle Church in Central, La., Sunday, March 29, 2020. Tony Spell has defied a shelter-in-place order by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, due to the new coronavirus pandemic, and continues to hold church services with hundreds of congregants. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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CENTRAL, La. (AP) — Buses and cars filled a Louisiana church parking lot for another service as worshipers flocked to hear a pastor who is facing misdemeanor charges for holding services despite a ban intended to control the new coronavirus.  

Some protesters turned out, too, including one man shouting through a bullhorn against the gathering at the Life Tabernacle Church in the city of Central.

Pastor Tony Spell was issued a summons hours earlier on Tuesday for holding services previously at the church in violation of the governor’s order banning gatherings.

Authorities say more than 5,200 people in Louisiana have confirmed virus infections, and 239 state residents have died.


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