The lawyer for a Louisiana megachurch that is defying state social distancing orders has been hospitalized with COVID-19.
Jeff Wittenbrink, 59, who represents the Life Tabernacle Church, is now on oxygen at Baton Rogue General, struggling to breathe after coming down with the virus.
Speaking from his hospital bed Thursday, Wittenbrink told The Advocate he was baffled as to how he contracted the disease.
‘I went to Albertson’s twice a day. I went to Sam’s. I went to Walmart. I went to Lowe’s. I used the gas pumps. I mean I just wasn’t careful. God knows where I got it. The bad thing is I might have spread to somebody. I feel bad about that,’ he stated.
Wittenbrink made no mention of the fact that he could possibly have picked up the virus – or passed it on to others – at Life Tabernacle, where he attended two services earlier this month.
The Advocate reports that he was at the megachurch on April 2, and again on Palm Sunday (April 5).
Wittenbrink is helping to represent Life Tabernacle’s pastor Rev. Tony Spell, who is preparing to mount a legal challenge against Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards who has placed restrictions on religious gatherings.
Spell has been charged with six counts of violating Edwards’ orders to close his church to the public amid the pandemic.
Life Tabernacle boasts thousands of members. Around 1,300 congregants showed up to Spell’s Easter Sunday Service, despite the fact that Louisiana has become one of the country’s coronavirus hot spots.
More than 21,000 people across the state have tested positive to the virus, and 1,100 have died.
In leaked video from the event, worshipers could be heard clapping and singing, before Spell told the crowd: ‘My hope is not in a vaccine for a virus, but all my hope is in Jesus.
Earlier this month, Spell hit headlines after refusing to close his doors to his flock.
‘We’re defying the rules because the commandment of God is to spread the Gospel,’ Louisiana pastor Tony Spell told Reuters.
‘The church is the last force resisting the Antichrist, let us assemble regardless of what anyone says’.
Meanwhile, Spell made news again on Wednesday after sharing a video to social media asking his followers to donate the federal stimulus checks they started receiving this week to evangelists, missionaries or music ministers who haven’t received any money from churchgoers in a month.
Government relief checks began arriving in the bank accounts of tens of millions Americans on Wednesday as the economic damage to the US from the coronavirus piled up.
Adults receive up to $1,200 each and $500 for each child to help people pay the rent or cover other bills.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Andrew Court