A South Florida megachurch pastor wants his congregation to know even though the coronavirus continues to spread, they should be coming to church to worship anyway, and any fear they might have of packed spaces is coming from a "demonic spirit."
“Do you believe God would bring his people to his house to be contagious with the virus? Of course not,” pastor Guillermo Maldonado said, according to the Miami Herald. But as the Herald points out, Maldonado's service wasn't as packed as it usually is.
“This service is usually packed. So now they’re home in a cave afraid of the virus, that you want to transmit the virus,” Maldonado lamented. “If we die, we die for Christ. If we live, we live for Christ, so what do you lose?”
Other places of worship in the area have followed the advice of health officials to avoid mass gatherings of "over 250" in an effort to stem the infection rates and have shuttered services. But Maldonado seems to have the opposite intent. In a now-deleted Facebook post, he warned his followers that they have two choices -- "Come in and receive your healing, or stay home and miss out."
Maldonado has visited the White House several times during Trump’s presidency and earlier this year hosted a “Evangelicals for Trump” rally.
During his service on Sunday, Maldonado told his followers that they have a greater chance of contracting the regular flu. But according to experts, that comparison is not legitimate. Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is deadlier than the flu. In China, early data showed that it was 10 times deadlier.
But Maldonado insists there's nothing to worry about.
“Do you mean you call me irresponsible for bringing the people of God to the House of God where the power and the presence of God is?”