Pastor Tony Spell, the head of Louisiana’s Life Tabernacle Church who spent the pandemic holding in-person church gatherings and putting countless people in harm’s way, recently lost a major court case (again).
That’s why it came as a shock when I saw Spell posted this video late last night:
… [I] just received a word from our attorneys that our United States Fifth Circuit Appeals Court — the second highest court in the land — has just ruled in our favor 100 percent across the board. This is a tremendous win…
… We just struck a blow for freedom. God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we are able to ask or think. So let’s shout the victory on this Friday evening because this is a pure case, and it’s a miraculous win. God bless America. God bless this case, because this is one of the greatest wins in American religious history…
My first reaction was: What the hell is he talking about? He lost two weeks ago. Which case did he win do decisively? He has to be lying because he’s a professional liar.
And when I looked it up, guess what? Turns out he’s lying.
This case — which is separate from the one mentioned above — involves Spell’s lawsuit against Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. Back in May of 2020, Spell sued the state for issuing an order that limited the size of gatherings, including church services. Spell claimed that violated his First Amendment rights.
But U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson tossed those claims aside, essentially saying that churches weren’t being treated unfairly. If anything, they were given more leeway than public institutions.
So what happened last night? A three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit basically said, in light of those Supreme Court rulings, the District Judge needed to reconsider the case. That’s all. In fact, they went out of their way to insist this was no victory for Spell.
We express no opinion on the merits of this case or the immunity defenses raised by the defendants, which the district court should review in the first instance.
It’s possible that Judge Jackson could still rule against Spell by saying his case is substantively different from the ones the Supreme Court decided. But whatever happens, it’s not a victory. Not yet. It sure as hell isn’t a ruling in Spell’s favor “100%.”
Spell is lying because that’s what he does for a living.
By the way, Spell was also in the news for another reason yesterday: He recently posted a video on Instagram in which he bragged about killing an alligator:
Within an hour of being tipped off about the June 5 Instagram video, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries officials say they found the Rev. Tony Spell behind Life Tabernacle Church in Central, where he pastors, with a freshly shot 6-foot alligator.
The wildlife authority cited Spell, 46, for harvesting an alligator during a closed season and without the proper license or tag, LDWF spokesman Adam Einck said. Agents took the alligator, according to a news release about the incident.
So even when he’s avoiding COVID responsibility under the law, Spell’s getting into trouble for breaking the law in other ways. He’s a horrible human being who gets away with it by acting like a preacher. It’s just too bad the people in his congregation are gullible enough to think he’s worth following.