‘Death is a welcomed friend’: Pastor calls on Christians to defy coronavirus lockdown -- even if it kills them

Pastor Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge spoke to TMZ this Wednesday, saying that if his church members die from coronavirus, they've done so in the name of religious freedom.

Spell was charged with violating an executive order that bans churches from holding large gatherings, but showed his defiance last Tuesday by holding a service that was attended by over 1,000 people. Speaking to TMZ, Spell said that true Christians would be willing to die from coronavirus, adding that those who "prefer tyranny over freedom do not deserve freedom."

"The bible teaches us to be absent from our bodies so we can be present with the Lord," Spell said. "So like any revolutionary, or like any zealot, or like any pure religious person, death looks to them like a welcomed friend."