’The state has no business interfering’: Roy Moore hired to defend La. church still holding service

Roy Moore hired to defend La. church still holding service

CENTRAL, La. (WAFF) - Judge Roy Moore, former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, found himself in Louisiana to lend a helping hand to a pastor facing several misdemeanor charges.

Tony Spell is the pastor of Life Tabernacle Church in Central, Louisiana. He faces six counts of disobeying a state ban on large gatherings in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The state has no business interfering with the church," stated Moore to an impassioned crowd of supporters. “There is no more clear violation of the First Amendment than this prohibition to assemble in a church."

Moore spoke at the church Thursday.

In mid-March, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced an order against gatherings of more than 50 people. Spell said he hosted about 500 worshippers at a service Sunday at the church in Central, a city of nearly 29,000 near Baton Rouge.

“Livestreaming? If that’s what a church wants to do that’s there business,” stated Moore.

Live streaming is how at least two Tennessee Valley churches are connecting.

“We are going to follow the law of the land to be sure that you’re safe and it’s better to be safe than sorry," stated Pastor Adrian Davis of All Nations Worship Assembly.

Davis pre-records services that go live online every Sunday.

“It’s been an adjustment, but I think people are making the adjustment well," said Pastor Darryl Craft of Whitesburg Baptist. He streams an abbreviate service online weekly.

The focus for both leaders is safety and they say they understand why they can't meet.

Though, this new reality does come with concern.

“If churches were not doing online giving and had an online presence, they may be hurting right now because they’re trying to create it on the back end. Then, trying to catch up with what’s going on right now," said Davis.

His church is working with smaller churches to help them navigate tough times.

WAFF 48 News reached out to dozens of churches across north Alabama. All of them said services are either cancelled or streaming online.

“Even though they may be quarantined to their home, they still have a community that cares about them," said Davis.

Moore praised the governors of Texas and Florida for exempting religious institutions from their orders; classifying them as essential services.

“The Texas governor has opened churches for worship, no social distancing, nothing, assembly in the church. And just today Florida did the same thing,” Moore said to shouts of “hallelujah” in the room. “Maybe Louisiana aught to wake up!"

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