A pastor at a megachurch in southern Florida had a stern warning for parishioners Sunday: Those who are afraid of being exposed to the coronavirus have been affected by a “demonic spirit.” Then he urged people to show up for worship and ignore warnings from health officials who are warning people to avoid crowded areas.
“Do you believe God would bring his people to his house to be contagious to the virus?” Pastor and “apostle” Guillermo Maldonado asked congregants at his King Jesus International Ministry in Kendall, Florida.
“This service is usually packed,” he added. “So now they’re home in a cave afraid of the virus, that you want to transmit the virus.” And indeed, there were plenty of vacancies in the half-full church, with members leaving empty seats between each other. “If we die, we die for Christ. If we live, we live for Christ, so what do you lose?”
Federal and local officials have been advising that people should avoid large gatherings of over 250 people to slow the spread of COVID-19 and some churches have nixed large-scale gatherings, opting instead to live stream services.
Maldonado is a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, who recently designated last Sunday as a National Day of Prayer and has served as a religious adviser to the president. And right now, it seems like Maldonado is doing everything he can to fill those seats in his church — by doing things like downplaying fears in a since-deleted Facebook video and telling congregants who aren’t feeling well that:
“You have two choices. Come in and receive your healing, or stay home and miss out.”
“Fear is a demonic spirit,” he said Sunday. “That’s what the Bible says.”
Watch the video below, via Right Wing Watch:
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) March 16, 2020