KEY POINTS

  • The pastor also slammed officials for proposing COVID-19 restrictions
  • The CDC is considering revising its mask recommendations
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is the first federal agency to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations

A pastor in Tennessee has threatened to ask people wearing masks to leave his church even as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads rapidly in the United States. 

Pastor Greg Locke on Sunday told his Nashville congregation that he would boot any mask-wearers from the Global Vision Bible Church and criticized officials for proposing potential COVID-19 restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. 

“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. I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church,” Locke said, as reported by The Charlotte Observer. “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.”

During the Sunday sermon, Locke also vowed to keep the church open, echoing remarks he made in July 2020 where he said he was willing to go to jail before closing the Global Vision Bible Church. 

“They will be serving Frosty’s in hell before we shut this place down,” he added. 

Locke’s remarks come as more cities across the nation are considering reinstating mask mandates as vaccination rates remain low, with some places now requiring even the fully-vaccinated population to wear masks in public settings. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also considering revising their mask guidelines to recommend that even people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should start wearing masks in public again, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said Sunday.

New York City and the state of California on Monday announced plans to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for many of their employees. However, if any worker refuses to get vaccinated, they are required to wear a mask and face frequent testing. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs also became the first federal agency to mandate vaccinations among its 115,000 frontline health care workers. Unlike employees in New York City and California, VA workers will not be given other options, as reported by USA Today.

The United States has recorded 34,531,694 COVID-19 cases and 610,947 coronavirus-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.  

church-498525_1920 Representation. Dennis Perry, 59, was exonerated of murder charges after being wrongfully convicted of killing Harold and Thelma Swain in a church in 1985. Photo: Pixabay