Pastor tells congregation to get COVID-19 and ‘get it over with’


HOLLAN, Mich. — A pastor in Michigan is facing scrutiny after sharing comments last week on Facebook that were called “irresponsible,” the Holland Sentinel reports.

Bart Spencer, the senior pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church, encouraged his congregation to contract COVID to “get it over with” during a sermon on Nov. 14.

“COVID. It’s all good. Several people have had COVID. None have died yet,” Spencer said after he started coughing while delivering his sermon.

The sermon was recorded and posted on the church’s website.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the estimated fatality rate for COVID-19 for those ages 0-19 is 0.003%. For ages, 20-49 it is 0.042%. For ages, 50-69 it is 0.5%. And for ages 70 and up, it is 5.4 percent%.

Spencer told the Holland Sentinel he and several members of his family, including elderly family members, have gotten over the virus.

“It’s not fun. I lost my sense of taste and smell, but my bout with the flu was worse,” he said.

He said his church has been holding in-person services after congregants asked for services to resume in the spring. Some wear masks and practice social distancing, and some do not.

“We trust our people to make their own decisions,” Spencer said. “We respect one another’s positions.”

Trying to contract COVID-19 deliberately to “get it over with” has been strongly discouraged by public health officials.

They note that even for young, healthy people who’s chances of survival are high, there are complications from the disease that can come up and linger after the infection period is over.

People who contract COVID can still spread the disease to others, contributing to the surge in cases that has overwhelmed county health departments’ contact-tracing efforts and is straining hospital staff.

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