There probably is a limit to what Pastor Tony Spell can get away with, but for now … he’s still collecting stimulus dough from parishioners while dodging jail.
The infamous leader of the Life Tabernacle Church in Louisiana tells TMZ … since April 19 when his “stimulus challenge” began, 205 people have given at least a portion of their stimulus checks to his church.
We’re told this includes parishioners as well as outsiders who don’t belong to Life Tabernacle. Spell would not reveal how much cash he’s hauled in from these folks.
We did the math, out of curiosity, though, and if each donor gave the typical tithe of 10% of the max stimulus amount of $1,200 — that’s $24,600 for Tony. Granted, it could be less or a lot more. He seemed to be encouraging donors to give their full checks … as he claims he did.
As we reported … Spell’s been urging folks to give their stimulus dough away to all evangelists who can’t pass the offering plate during the pandemic shutdowns.
Of course, that doesn’t really apply to Spell because he’s not been abiding by the Governor’s stay-at-home order. Not only is he still holding services where he can take offerings, but he’s also disobeying a judge’s order to home confinement due to his recent arrest.
Tony tells us that’s not going to change this Sunday either … he’s planning on leading another church service. He says he had 800 people attend last week (though it looks like he added a zero based on video) and expects a bigger turnout this time.
Spell says he knows he’s in direct contempt of the court when he leaves his house to go to his church, but adds … “The Bible commands us to go.”
However, Spell tells us he will not be participating in his church’s protest of stay-at-home orders Saturday outside the Governor’s mansion. He says, “I do not want federal agents to pick me up when I am off the premises of my property.” For the record, it would be local cops, not feds … but ya get his drift.
Spell’s willing to risk it to go to church though, and for now, he’s suffered very few consequences.