Anger at Michigan pastor for sermon encouraging followers to catch COVID and ‘get it over with’ after he contracted virus and recovered
- Bart Spencer of the Lighthouse Baptist Church has recovered from Covid-19
- In a video of a sermon, he appeared to advise congregants to catch coronavirus
- He later said this wasn’t his intention but added that he does not enforce mask-wearing or social distancing during his in-person services in Michigan
- The video drew criticism from some local was called his comments ‘irresponsible’
Bart Spencer, a senior pastor of the Lighthouse Baptist Church gave the sermon on November 14, telling his congregation that Covid-19 was ‘all good’ after he coughed during his address.
‘COVID, it’s all good. Several people have had COVID, none have died yet. It’s OK. Get it, get it over with, press on.’
The sermon gained a wider audience after a former church member posted a portion of it to Facebook.
Michigan pastor Bart Spencer of the Lighthouse Baptist Church has been criticised for an ‘irresponsible’ sermon in which he appeared to encourage congregants to contract coronavirus
Comments on the video described the sermon as ‘irresponsible’, with some saying it was ‘typical’ behavior by the preacher.
One Facebook user urged others not to be misled by the pastor’s information, writing: ‘ Don’t be mislead [sic] by people like this! It is Real & It does Kill! Protect Yourselves!’
Another, however, argued that Spencer was saying no one had died among his own congregation, not claiming that coronavirus is not deadly in general.
The commenter then engaged in a heated exchange with others, appearing to suggest that recommendations to stay home to avoid the spread of the virus violated individual liberties and saying that people should be able to behave as they see fit.
Spencer made is comments after coughing during his sermon. The preacher told local newspaper The Holland Sentinel that he had contracted and recovered from coronavirus along with several members of his family, including elderly relatives
Fox News 59 reported that Spencer told a news station in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that he ‘would never’ tell people to deliberately infect themselves but argued that many were ‘destroying their lives’ over a ‘what if’ scenario that didn’t make logical sense to him.
He told local newspaper The Holland Sentinel that he had contracted and recovered from coronavirus, along with several members of his family, including elderly relatives.
‘It’s not fun, I lost my sense of taste and smell, but my bout with the flu was worse,’ he said, adding that he has been holding in-person services since congregants asked for them to resume in the spring.
Some in attendance wear masks and practice social distancing but others don’t, he told the paper.
‘We trust our people to make their own decisions,’ Spencer said. ‘We respect one another’s positions.’
Michigan recorded 348 new coronavirus infections, adding to the total of more than 426,000 cases. More than 10,300 people in the state have died from the virus since the pandemic began earlier this year.