As the highly-contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to cause swelling numbers of infections across the U.S. and communities weigh reinstating many of the masking regulations they jettisoned months ago, one pastor in Tennessee is going in the opposite direction.
Greg Locke of Nashville’s Global Vision Bible Church has threatened to kick any congregants out of his church if they’re wearing a protective facemask.
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“If they go through round two and you start showing up (with) all these masks and all this nonsense, I will ask you to leave,” Locke said during a service on Sunday. “I will ask you to leave. I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church.”
Locke doubled down during a video he posted on Facebook.
“I ain’t playing these stupid games,” Locke said in the clip. “A bunch of pastors talking about how much they want to see people heal and they’re afraid to baptize people because of a delta variant — I’m sick of it.”
In addition, Locke also promised to defy any orders to halt in-person services should those come down again.
“They will be serving Frosty’s in hell before we shut this place down,” Locke said.
This isn’t the first time Locke has proved defiant during the pandemic. In July of 2020, with Tennessee health officials advising remote services for religious groups in the state, a video showed maskless people in Locke’s church, and the pastor vowed he’d go to jail before he closed it.
In a Facebook video at the time, Locke declared, “We are staying open. You ain’t gotta wear a mask. We’re not social distancing.”
More and more areas across the nation are seeing mask mandates return, and the CDC has urged unvaccinated people to wear masks in indoor public spaces.