Pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in Tennessee and popular internet personality Greg Locke said he is willing to go to jail to defend his right not to wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic and says he has been telling his church members to do the same too.
“I’m so sick of this mask brigade nonsense. Bunch of Nazis,” Locke said in a video rant on Facebook Tuesday.
“We don’t require masks at our church,” he said. “We probably had 450 people crammed into a tent this weekend. Two people in the whole place had a mask. If they want to wear a mask, that is great, I’m not going to mandate it. As a matter of fact, I discourage it because I think it’s utter nonsense.”
Locke has nearly two million followers on Facebook and produces viral videos on the social media platform that reaches tens of millions. His video on Tuesday, which he says was triggered after a confrontation with a male staffer at an unidentified Dunkin’ store over his refusal to wear a mask, has already been watched by more than six million people.
“I’m pretty spittin’ mad about a bunch of nonsense. Did you know that there’s nothing in the American culture and nothing in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ that has separated the body more than these stupid things right here? We call them safety precautions. No, what these are, these are gags, ladies and gentlemen,” Locke railed, calling masks “idols” that have been used to divide the Church.
“These have become idols. These don’t do anything whatsoever. They are the dumbest thing to have ever been created by humanity. They are scientifically proven to do Jack sprat! But I’ll tell you, religiously what they’ve done, they’ve divided the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. These things are so dumb,” he said.
Locke’s declarations come as more than 4.4 million people have been infected with the virus across the United States. More than 150,000 people have also died from COVID-19 related illnesses, according to the CDC, including former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who also publicly eschewed the wearing of masks.
The outspoken pastor's advice on mask-wearing challenges a recent call from President Donald Trump to wear them and evidence from the CDC that affirms that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 and could reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when used universally within communities.
“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said in a press statement earlier this month. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”
Locke said while some chain stores like Walmart have required customers to wear masks, he has gone into Walmart stores and removed his mask without incident with hundreds of other mask-wearing customers.
He said he was really upset with the way he was recently treated by a Dunkin' staffer, who insisted that he wear a mask to come into the store when he decided to flout their rule.
He explained that he ordered his coffee and paid for it and was chatting with the staff when he was accosted by the male staffer who asked him quietly to wear a mask next time he came into the store.
After a heated disagreement over the issue, Locke said he left the store with his coffee and used his foot to open the door but was wrongfully accused by the unidentified male worker of trying to smash the glass.
He said he confronted the Dunkin' worker and threatened to kick in his teeth if he called him a liar.
“I said 'if you call me a liar one more time, I’m going to take these work boots and I’m going to kick your teeth down your throat.’ Yes, I said it,” Locke fumed. “And in the moment, I meant it. I said 'sir, listen to me very closely, I will be back at 5 o’clock tonight to get my two medium coffees, seven creams, and five sugars and I will be back tonight and I will not be wearing a mask.'”
He said the Dunkin' worker promised to meet him at the store to ensure he didn’t get in but said he knew his wife would not have allowed him to return and wished he had a bullhorn at the time to just start preaching about Jesus in the parking lot.
“I’ll go to jail over this. It is the golden calf. I’m sick of Christians saying things like this: ‘Well, it’s just a mask.’ You know what they used to say? ‘Oh, it’s just a baby, it’s just a zygote, it’s just a growth in the mother’s womb so let’s kill it. No, it’s not just a mask, it’s a compliance device. This is not about safety, this is about surrendering of our rights. Can I remind you? This is still the United States of America. This is not communism. This is not China, this ain’t North Korea, I don’t live in Haiti,” he said. “Trump 2020. I’m a pastor and I approve this message.”
He also claimed that the world had jumped 50 years prophetically in the last six months.
“This ain’t about safety, this is about the rules of compliance. ‘It’s just a mask.’ Next, it’s just a chip, it’s just a vaccine, it’s just a one world government. ‘It’s just a mark, Pastor Locke.’ You say that’s a big stretch, are you kidding me? We’ve jumped 50 years prophetically in the last six months in 2020 in the United States and around the world and Christians want to say it’s just a mask. It’s not a mask. It’s a censorship device. It’s a tool to get all the sheep to walk around and look the same and talk the same and act the same,” he said.