An Alabama pastor invited people infected with COVID-19 into his church for healing prayer, according to RawStory.
Chris Bartlett, pastor of Boaz Church of God in Boaz, Alabama, shared the invitation on Facebook in a post that has since been deleted.
Bama Politics reports that the post said:
"So with boldness of faith if you have the coronavirus or feel threatened by such, you are most welcome at Boaz Church of God Sunday morning at 10 AM where we will anoint the sick with oil and pray the prayer of faith over you!"
Bartlett began his post by saying he wasn't trying to stir up controversy. He then expressed his frustration that churches were following governmental and CDC guidelines by cancelling in-person services.
"I am not making a statement of criticism against my fellow Pastors who do not agree with me," he reportedly wrote. "However I may be exercising a little foolishness. But I am somewhat moved over the fact that all it takes to disassemble God's church is the threat of sickness by germ spreading. It seems the early church wouldn't have made very far with this type of timidity.
"Our top priority is not primarily the safety and health of our members, but that they advance in faith and godliness even on occasions at the expense of their safety and well-being."
The federal government has discouraged any gatherings that include 10 or more people. They also recommend social distancing by staying six feet apart from others.
Bartlett is not alone among pastors who have refused to adhere to the CDC's health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. While many churches have closed, several pastors of large congregations have refused to cancel church services.
Pastor Tony Spell defied a Louisiana state order by preaching to hundreds of worshippers in person at Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge. The emergency state order banned gatherings over 50. Spell estimates 300 were in the service. Newsweek reports that he held services for over 1,000 people.
"I feel the COVID-10 scare is politically motivated," Spell told CNN. Police warned Spell on Tuesday about disobeying the ordered ban.
Evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne likewise declared his church would not cancel services.
"I've got news for you: This church will never close," he said, according to Religion News Service. "The only time the church will close is when the Rapture is taking place. ... This Bible school is open because we're raising up revivalists, not pansies."
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