Louisiana Supreme Court Rules State’s Coronavirus Restrictions on In-Person Meetings Violated Pastor Tony Spell’s First Amendment Rights

FILE – Tony Spell, pastor of the Life Tabernacle Church of Central City, La., greets supporters outside the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Monday, June 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)(Gerald Herbert | AP)

Pastor Tony Spell says he’s already planning a triumphant Sunday sermon, following a Louisiana Supreme Court decision that declared the state’s COVID restrictions violated his first amendment rights.

The ruling came down Fri., May 13.

Spell was arrested in April of 2020 after being accused of violating executive orders from Governor John Bel Edwards that laid out restrictions on businesses and in-person gatherings during the peak of the pandemic. Despite those orders, Spell continued to hold massive in-person services at Life Tabernacle Church in Central.

In a 19-page ruling, State Justice William J Crain overturned lower court rulings, arguing the state could not prove that large church gatherings posed a greater risk of exposure to the virus than shopping at a secular business or attending work as an essential employee.

“The virus does not have a brain. It does not stop at the store of Walmart and come into the church,” said Spell in an interview just hours after the ruling was made public Friday, May 13.

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SOURCE: KSLA, Elizabeth Vowell and Kevin Foster

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