Nashville Pastor Greg Locke told his congregation on Sunday that he would kick out anyone who shows up to church wearing a mask.
Slamming the Democratic party and the government’s effort to reach out to conservative and vaccine-hesitant communities, Mr Locke followed the path he started on during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, which he has called a hoax on repeated occasions.
The pastor, who has refused to follow emergency mandates and public health guidance, told his parishioners at Global Vision Bible Church, east of the Tennesee capital, that if they showed up wearing a mask, “I will ask you to leave” to cheers and applause from his audience.
He called Democrats “godless” and claimed that the federal government doesn’t want improved public health, only “compliance” among citizens.
He said the Democrats “didn’t hurt the economy bad enough” during the first lockdown and that they are now trying to secure a second.
“They will be serving Frostys in hell before we shut this place down, just because a buck wild, demon-possessed government tells us to,” he said.
“Don’t believe this Delta variant nonsense. Stop it! Stop it! If they go through round two and you start showing up with all these masks and nonsense, I will ask you to leave,” Mr Locke told the cheering crowd. “I will ask you to leave. I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church.”
“I don’t need to be a jerk for Jesus, but ... I’m not going to kowtow down to a wicked godless culture,” Mr Locke said. “Here’s what the left has told us: ‘If you comply, you compromise, if you comply, eventually you’ll get in our good graces.’ But no, you’ll never be able to comply enough!”
Mr Locke, a major supporter of former President Donald Trump, told his congregants that they may need to “stir the pot” and disagree and offend friends and family to stand up for their values.
“I ain’t playing their games, shut the nation down for a second time ... it didn’t hurt the economy bad enough. You know what happens when they shut down private businesses? They open government businesses. The government isn’t hurting one bit,” Mr Locke said, once again pushing his false narrative that the pandemic is a Democratic power grab.
Radical right-wing pastor Greg Locke declares that if anyone in his congregation shows up to church wearing a mask, he'll kick them out. pic.twitter.com/9TUktdr3av
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) July 25, 2021
“Yes, I’m narrow-minded ... doesn’t matter to me what ‘The View’ says, what Oprah [Winfrey] says, what Whoopi [Goldberg] says, what [Pastor] Joel Osteen says. If you want to social distance, go to First Baptist Church, but don’t come to this one! I’m done with it, I said I’m done with it,” Mr Locke said during his explosive Sunday sermon.
“They’re talking about shutting down this nation for round two, talking about masking everybody back up, shutting down churches, hey, my hind leg if they think they’re going to shut this church down,” he added.
Infection rates are rising in Tennessee and vaccination rates are slowing down. About 44 per cent of residents in the state have received at least one dose, according to The Washington Post. It’s one of the states with the lowest vaccination rates. The state recently reported that 98 per cent of those who died from Covid-19 and 97 per cent of those who have been hospitalised with the virus were unvaccinated.
“I’m going to be a problem moving forward,” Mr Locke said towards the end of his sermon. “I’m not giving in to this mess.”