***NOTE TO READERS: I beg you not to post disrespectfully on the family’s social media. Not only are they grieving, that would alienate this community and damage the potential for learning from this important morality tale. Thanks, Bo.***
We’ve had a sad loss here in Virginia from the pandemic, a death that also comes as a cautionary tale.
Yesterday, one of the first deaths of a Virginia resident from COVID-19 was a Christian musical evangelist who, believing the pandemic response to be anti-Trump “mass hysteria,” took his family to New Orleans to “wash it from its Sin and debauchery.”
A Gretna man who had double pneumonia and tested positive for COVID-19 in Concord North Carolina died around 4 a.m. Wednesday, the family reports.
Landon Spradlin, 66, was an accomplished blues musician who pastored several different churches over the years.
Spradlin was in New Orleans with his wife, Jean Spradlin, when he started getting sick. On their way back to Gretna on March 17, his condition worsened to the point where he could hardly breathe…
The Roanoke Times described Spradlin as a “traveling musical minister” and “fine guitarist” with a “powerful soul-blues voice,” at one time “a significant part of the Roanoke-area blues scene.”
On his Facebook page, Spradlin had posted many photos and videos of his family, his band, and himself performing and sightseeing in New Orleans beginning on what seems February 21 through March 10. Much of his time appeared to be in crowded Jackson Square, where his band played in what he called his “Jackson Square Ministry.” Other locations included performing in intimate music clubs, dining in restaurants, and walking on Bourbon Street.
On Feb. 28, he posted “We had an awesome Mardi Gras outreach this year. Many were touched by the power and love of Jesus!!”
Spradlin was likely already infected when, on March 13, he posted a highly misleading meme comparing COVID-19 and swine flu deaths, suggesting that the current virus response was “mass hysteria” created by the media for no reason other than to hurt Donald Trump:
That image contains information spread by Tiffany Fray, a devoutly Christian Trump supporter. It’s complete misleading to the point that fact-checkers for Facebook marked it as “partly false.” PolitiFact, which said the statement is “mostly false,” explains more here.
That same day he shared a post telling a “true” story of a missionary who cared miraculously for bubonic plague victims without himself succumbing to the illness. That post explained that “As long as I walk in the light of that law [of the Spirit of life], no germ will attach itself to me.”
Spradlin was pastor of New Wave Ministries International, whose mission statement is “taking the Light of the gospel into the darkest regions of the earth.”
According to the ministry, his wife Jean Spradlin was, as of March 24, in quarantine with pneumonia in both lungs, awaiting test results. She told her local paper that they visit New Orleans every year and “seemingly always catch some sickness while they’re there,” explaining that “a plethora of organizations have been working with her to get her information, ensure that she is safely quarantined, and provide such necessities like food, extra clothes and internet.” She also stated that the family has set up a GoFundMe account.
Spradlin’s official music page says only that they will “see him again in the other side of glory.”
There’s no mention of how they could’ve prolonged his life through sensible precautionary measures.
(Featured image via Facebook. Updated to include more information about Tiffany Fray.)