A Michigan pastor infected with the coronavirus has encouraged its spread among members of his church, despite contradictory recommendations from health officials.
While preaching on November 14, Bart Spencer, senior pastor of the Lighthouse Baptist Church in the city of Holland, suggested that parishioners should be infected with the corona virus to “get it over with”.
” COVID, it’s all good. Several people have had COVID, none have died yet,” Spencer said at the personal service. “It’s all good. Get it over, get it over, keep pressing.”
The church resumed services in closed rooms in the spring at the request of its members. Some members wear masks during the service and practice social distancing, while others do not. Spencer told The Holland Sentinel that the Church trusts that people “make their own decisions.
A video of the sermon uploaded to the church’s website was shown in a Facebook group called Holland Happenings, where some residents, concerned about the spread of the virus in the Dutch church, criticized the pastor’s guidance.
One called Spencer’s comments “irresponsible”, while another wrote: “Don’t let such people [mislead you]”.
County Ottawa, where Holland is located, has reported nearly 14,000 confirmed cases of the virus since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Michigan’s Tracker.
But Spencer told The Sentinel that he and other older family members who were infected have all recovered.
“This is no joke. I lost my sense of taste and smell, but my flu attack was worse,” he said.
While most Ottawa County residents who contracted the virus were better off, 151 died of COVID-19, according to the state tracker. Of the confirmed coronavirus cases in Michigan, 2.5 percent have so far proved fatal.
According to the World Health Organization, the mortality rate from COVID-19 is 300 to 400 times that of seasonal flu. Preliminary data show that the virus has a mortality rate of between 3 and 4 percent, while the mortality rate for seasonal flu is “typically well below 0.1 percent.
Public health officials have strongly discouraged people from deliberately becoming infected with the virus, as complications can arise after the duration of infection and little is known about its long-term effects due to the novelty of the virus.
Some residents of Holland defended the pastor’s statements in the Facebook posting.
“He is not wrong! One of the Eldest women in HIS CONGREGATION (to whom he is talking) has fallen ill with Covid and is recovering…. She is still having a hard time, but she is recovering,” one user wrote.
“I think it’s sad to post something like this and not even know any facts or just overlook the fact that he’s talking to his congregation, whether they’re physically [there]or at home and watching it via live stream,” the user said.
Washington Newsday turned to Spencer with a request for another comment, but did not listen back in time for the release.