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Coronavirus Australia: Penrith, Sydney pastor accused of breaking Covid lockdown rules

An anti-mask church minister is under police investigation after his live-streamed Sunday service apparently flouted Sydney’s rigid lockdown laws, even boasting that he recently performed an illegal wedding.

Pastor Martin Beckett raged against Covid rules from the pulpit during a sermon broadcast on Facebook from The Rock Community Centre in the city’s virus-riddled west, saying ‘losing your life is not the worst thing’. 

In footage from the fiery sermon, he rallied against Covid restrictions, comparing the deadly virus to a ‘seasonal flu’ and claiming people were being forced to live in fear. 

He also made the potentially tongue-in-cheek comment that the prayer meeting was being held in a room with his musicians and ‘just the 100 or so people we’ve snuck in.’ 

Mr Beckett is seen on stage with a band, with none of the four wearing masks, as well as an unmasked sound technician moving around the room. 

Rogue church minister Martin Beckett (pictured) is under police investigation after his Sunday service apparently flouted Sydney’s rigid lockdown laws.

Singing and masks in NSW under lockdown

Under the current NSW public health orders, services can be live-streamed.

Face masks must be worn in all indoor non-residential areas in NSW, other than in a rare few circumstances.

Two people may sing or chant during the live-streaming of the service, if:-

  • there are no more than two other people in the room or designated area while they are singing
  • people in the room, other than the singers, wear a face mask.

While singing, the singers

  • must be 3 metres away from anyone else at the place of public worship
  • are not required to wear a face mask.       

In the video, Mr Beckett claims to have conducted a wedding for a couple who got married on Saturday in breach of lockdown rules.

‘I’m not going to say their names because some gooses out there, they’re like calling the police because they’re just retarded,’ he said.

‘We got to do this wedding. And we celebrated together. We had a meal together. We got to share the beginning of a new relationship, a new beginning.

‘They’re waiting to start their life. And we just go “just suck it up. There’s a deadly virus going around!” This is what I’m talking about. 

‘This is a seasonal flu we’re going through. Come on.’

Under the current lockdown restrictions, weddings cannot be held in New South Wales.   

He branded coronavirus a ‘pitiful excuse for a killer virus’ and made several controversial comments about the pandemic, before saying ‘we live, we die’. 

And The pastor, previously known for his outstanding community work in Sydney’s west, said the virus was being used to spread fear. 

He also refused to acknowledge the untimely deaths which result from the virus, numbering more than four million worldwide, saying if people get sick ‘well, then they get sick’.  

‘Coronavirus has dominated everything. And it’s taken our attention away from what’s really important,’ he said.

Pastor Martin Beckett (pictured here with his wife Georgie) raged against Covid from the pulpit during a sermon broadcast on Facebook

Pastor Martin Beckett (pictured here with his wife Georgie) raged against Covid from the pulpit during a sermon broadcast on Facebook

Beckett said the service a The Rock Community Centre (pictured) in Kingswood in Sydney's west, was in front of a congregation of 'just the 100 or so people we've snuck in'

Beckett said the service a The Rock Community Centre (pictured) in Kingswood in Sydney’s west, was in front of a congregation of ‘just the 100 or so people we’ve snuck in’

In the video, pastor Martin Beckett (pictured) claims to have conducted a wedding for a couple getting married on Saturday in breach of lockdown rules

In the video, pastor Martin Beckett (pictured) claims to have conducted a wedding for a couple getting married on Saturday in breach of lockdown rules

‘You can call it being responsible, but it’s still spelled F-E-A-R. You can say. “but I’m being a good part of the community”, it’s still spelt fear.

‘Some people have tried to put fear on me – they say, “Marty, when you get together, what if someone gets sick because you’ve met together? Well, then they get sick. 

‘It’s called being human. We’ve done it for 100 years where we live with the flu. How many of you used to go to work and sneeze all over your colleagues?’

‘It will keep you locked in your house. It will keep you masked, it will keep you fearful for your life and for the lives of those you love.

‘This is the greatest injustice I’ve seen in my time. I’m not living in fear. Have people died? Yes, they have. 

‘Guess what? Losing your life is not the worst thing that can happen to you. We live, we die.’

Footage from the sermon shows pastor Martin Beckett on stage with a band (seen here) with none of the four wearing masks, as well as an unmasked sound technician

Footage from the sermon shows pastor Martin Beckett on stage with a band (seen here) with none of the four wearing masks, as well as an unmasked sound technician

During the sermon he said he had ‘disowned’ his daughter for wearing a mask to a cafe where he was talking to other customers without masks.

‘I didn’t want to admit I knew her,’ he said. ‘I disown my daughter.’

On Tuesday, Mr Beckett was confronted by Nine’s A Current Affair over the sermon but he defended himself insisting: ‘That’s my personal belief.

‘I don’t have to abide by the rules,’ he claimed.

‘I didn’t have a mask on. Not because I’m a rebel. I just don’t care.

‘I’ve made naughty comments about coronavirus. 

On Tuesday. Martin Beckett was confronted by Nine's A Current Affair (seen here) over the sermon but he defended himself insisting: 'That's my personal belief.'

On Tuesday. Martin Beckett was confronted by Nine’s A Current Affair (seen here) over the sermon but he defended himself insisting: ‘That’s my personal belief.’

‘I may have made fun of someone wearing a mask. I’m honest. That’s just who I am. I think they’re stupid.’ 

NSW Police confirmed they were probing the service after a tip off from the public.

A spokesman told Daily Mail Australia:  ‘Police received a report of a live-streamed religious service. 

‘Officers from Nepean Police Area Command commenced an investigation to look into potential breaches of the Public Health Order.’

They added: ‘Police continue to remind members of the public to report any alleged breaches of the Public Health Order to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

‘Every report is being further investigated by NSW Police.’ 


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