MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Mt. Juliet pastor threatened to kick out members of his congregation if they showed up in masks. The warning came during Sunday service at Global Vision Bible Church amid a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the delta variant.
Pastor Greg Locke says he is sticking to his sermon and will be putting up signs stating that the campus is a mask free zone.
“We are not going to back down, we are sticking to our guns. We aren’t going to buy into all the fear mongering,” Locke told News 2.
The pastor says lockdown number two is coming and he wants his message to be clear.
“We are just a mask free zone. We believe in freedom, we believe in personal choice and we are just not going to give in so I’m going to stand by what I said.”
At Sunday’s service, Locke told members they would be asked to leave if they wear a mask.
“Don’t believe this Delta variant nonsense. Stop it! Stop it! I know right wing watching, I don’t care. If they go through round two and you start showing up all these masks and all this nonsense, I’ll ask you to leave. I will ask you to leave. I am not playing these democrat games up in this church. If you want to social distance go to First Baptist Church, but don’t come to this one. I’m done with it. I said I’m done with it,” Pastor Locke yelled from the stage during Sunday’s sermon.
The pastor who is known for his controversial sermons, says there may be a few mask exceptions.
“I know at the end of the day we have people with chemotherapy, under doctors orders, we get that. We might get two of those people out of a thousand or 1,200 people that come on the weekend, but at the end of the day we aren’t just going to allow a bunch of people to show up in mask,” he explained.
Pastor Locke has been outspoken on his stance of the pandemic calling it a hoax and his congregation has only grown.
“It’s grown substantially,” Locke stated.
He started with about 350 people on Sunday, that expanded to around 550 with a drive-in service and now Pastor Locke says they are at around 1,100 in an outside tent.
“People keep coming, so we are just going to keep making the tent bigger and bigger and bigger,” he said.
Currently Locke says they are making way for an additional tent that seats around 3,000 people, he says church-goers are looking for bold leadership.