- Tennessee pastor Greg Locke has threatened to kick mask-wearers from his church.
- He told his congregation on Sunday that they would be asked to leave if they showed up with masks.
- Locke is known for preaching that COVID is a fake pandemic and that vaccines are a scam.
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One Tennessee preacher is imposing a mask mandate of his own – he’s requiring his entire congregation to go maskless or be kicked out of service.
According to the local news outlet Lexington Herald, pastor Greg Locke told churchgoers at his Nashville-based Global Vision Bible Church that they would not be allowed to attend service if they turn up wearing face coverings.
“You start showing up (with) all these masks and all this nonsense, I will ask you to leave,” Locke told his congregation during his Sunday sermon on July 25. “I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church.”
He also hit out at pastors who he accused of holding off on baptizing people because of COVID and vowed to keep his church open regardless of government mandates.
“They will be serving Frosty’s in hell before we shut this place down, just because a buck wild, demon-possessed government tells us to,” Locke said. “Don’t believe this Delta variant nonsense.”
Locke was referring to additional measures being considered by local lawmakers to safeguard communities amid surging COVID numbers. Mask mandates in Tennessee, where the church is located, were lifted in May.
However, Tennessee lawmakers on July 14 called for Gov. Bill Lee to revise the state’s COVID strategy. These proposals include renewed mask regulations and intensified contact tracing efforts, particularly after the state reported a sudden spike of 771 COVID cases within 24 hours.
But this is not the first time that Locke has made controversial statements about COVID. Last July, The Charlotte Observer reported that Locke claimed he would be willing to “go to jail” before closing his church temporarily to comply with pandemic guidelines.
Locke is also known for preaching that COVID is a fake pandemic and that vaccines are a scam, per CNN.
The preacher is no stranger to controversy. He made the news back in April 2020, when he flouted social distancing measures to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ with his 16-year-old son acting in the role of Jesus and his 17-year-old daughter posing as Mary.
-Pastor Greg Locke (@pastorlocke) April 10, 2020
“People just say, just stay in your church, stay in your pulpit and talk about Jesus,” Locke told the NBC Nashville affiliate. “I think the church has been turned over to cowards long enough, and I want them to hear people that have a strong voice. And have done the work and are willing to go to jail for that work.”
Insider reported on July 24 that new COVID infections in the US neared 50,000 a day, the highest case numbers the country has seen since May. This prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to consider new measures to curb the spread.