(CNN)For the second time in two days, police have charged a pastor with defying public orders against large gatherings by holding church services with hundreds of members. And despite the charge, he says the church doors will still be open Sunday.
Second pastor charged with violating public orders says church doors will still be open on Sunday
On Tuesday police in suburban Baton Rouge, Louisiana, issued Pastor Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church a misdemeanor summons for six counts of violating the governor's executive order barring large gatherings.
"Instead of showing the strength and resilience of our community during this difficult time, Mr. Spell has chosen to embarrass us for his own self-promotion," said Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran Tuesday in a statement.
"Mr. Spell will have his day in court where he will be held responsible for his reckless and irresponsible decisions that endangered the health of his congregation and our community," Corcoran added.
Spell told CNN that opening the church is no more risk than the hundreds of people shopping at stores.
When asked why he will not follow the governor's mandate, he said, "We have a mandate from the word of the Lord to assemble together. The first amendment says that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the exercise of religion."
Spell said officers came to him Tuesday and read him his rights, but didn't arrest him. He said he he was asked to stop having services and he told them that he would not stop.
"We aren't breaking any laws," Spell insisted.
Earlier in the day, in a Facebook Live video, after being served the summons at his church by two police officers, he maintained his defiant stance.
"We will continue to have church," he said. "This is a government overreach. They are asking us as a government to stop practicing our freedom of religion. And we have a mandate from God to assemble and to gather together and to keep doing what we're doing."
As of Tuesday afternoon Louisiana had recorded more than 5,200 cases of coronavirus and 239 deaths, by CNN's count.
Since President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, most churches, mosques, synagogues and temples have temporarily shut down.
But there have been a few outliers.