Greg Locke Nashville pastor bans masks inside his Global Vision Bible Church. Calls Delta COVID variant Democrat games.
At what cost God? A Tennessee pastor has been filmed saying he would ban churchgoers who insist on wearing masks, as he denied the existence of the Delta COVID variant and called COVID mandates ‘Democrat games.’
Speaking from a red-and-white striped circus tent in Mt. Juliet, about 20 miles east of downtown Nashville, Pastor Greg Locke told his congregation: ‘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,’ he said in his sermon on Sunday, which was streamed live to YouTube.
‘I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church,’ Locke continued, criticizing other pastors who have followed COVID protocols, calling them: ‘A bunch of pastors talking about how much they want to see people heal, and they’re afraid to baptize people because of a Delta variant – I’m sick of it.
‘I don’t need to be a jerk for Jesus, but I’m not going to kowtow down to a wicked godless culture.’
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
‘I ain’t playing their games’
‘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.’
He then claimed the Democrats shut down the country during the pandemic for their own personal gain.
‘I ain’t playing their games, shut the nation down for a second time,’ Locke told the Global Vision Bible Church, ‘It didn’t hurt the economy bad enough.
‘You know what happens when they shut down private businesses?’ he asked. ‘They open government businesses. The government isn’t hurting one bit.
‘Yes, I’m narrow minded,’ he continued, ‘doesn’t matter to me what The View says, what Oprah says, what Whoopi says, what Joel Osteen says.
‘If you want to social distance, go to First Baptist Church, but don’t come to this one,’ Locke said. ‘I’m done with it, I said I’m done with it.
‘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.’
.@pastorlocke in the news again after calling the #DeltaVariant nonsense. Says he’s become the voice for the voiceless and won’t back down.
I asked him to respond to critics who say he’ll end up with blood on his hands….5:30 on @FOXNashville pic.twitter.com/2JLlYPvKXn
— HarrietWallaceFox17 (@HarrietvWallace) July 27, 2021
Controversial church figure
Locke added: ‘They will be serving Frostys in Hell before we shut this place down, just because a buck-wild, demon-possessed government tells us to.’
‘We are a place of faith, not a place of fear,’ Locke reiterated. ‘I’m digging my heels in and I’m not changing my mind.’
Locke has gained fame among the far-right for his controversial statements about COVID and his claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, traveling around the country to give sermons and speeches.
He has promoted the QAnon conspiracy, which states that high-ranking officials and Hollywood elites are engaged in a child sex trafficking ring that Trump was elected to stop.
In a sermon last month, he said: ‘I don’t care what you think about fraudulent Sleepy Joe, He’s a sex-trafficking, demon-possessed mongrel. He ain’t no better than the Pope and Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks and the rest of that wicked crowd.
‘God is going to bring the whole house down,’ he said. ‘He’s going to expose all these bunch of pedophiles.’
Rising case figures in Tennessee
He later asked himself: ‘Do you honestly believe, Pastor Locke, that the military uncovered tunnels beneath the Capitol building and beneath the White House. Do you really believe they found kids.
‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘Both live ones and dead ones.’
Locke has also repeatedly called the pandemic a hoax and has refused to comply with guidance from public health officials, according to the Washington Post.
In July 2020, he posted on Facebook that the church was remaining open and people didn’t have to wear face masks or social distance, claiming: ‘I don’t care if they sent the military, they roll up in there with tanks … ladies and gentleman, we are staying open.’
At the time, though, the Charlotte Observer reports, Tennessee health officials recommended faith groups hold their services remotely.
Meanwhile, COVID cases are rising in the state, with The Tennessee Department of Health reported 2,102 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 deaths in the state in the past 24 hours.
Of note, Tennessee state is facing a 12.6 percent COVID positivity rate, according to Tennessee Department of Health data, with just 43.7 percent of the total population receiving at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and 38.9 percent fully vaccinated.
About 98 percent of those who have died of COVID recently and 97 percent of the recent hospitalizations are among those who have not been vaccinated, state officials announced earlier this month.