Foundation for Moral Law

Foundation for Moral Law

Latest News and Updates

blog image

Standing With Pastor Tony Spell

October 05, 20222 min read

On October 3rd, our founder, Judge Moore, argued at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in what may be the most important case for religious freedom in our Nation’s history, Spell v. Edwards, No. 22-30075.

Tony Spell is the Pastor of Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; a Pentecostal Church with nearly 2,000 members. Its weekly activities involve singing and preaching the Word, baptisms, laying hands on the sick to pray for them, and providing food for the hungry in the community.

In early 2020, Louisiana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards capped gatherings, including churches, at 10 people! Pastor Spell concluded that complying with the Governor’s orders would violate God’s command to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:24-25) and decided to keep holding services. As a result, he was served with six criminal summonses. Shortly afterward, he was arrested for allegedly trying to run over a protestor outside his church, although video evidence showed that he neither hit him nor even confronted him. At his arraignment, the judge told Pastor Spell that he could no longer preach to his congregation. When Pastor Spell could not agree, the judge ordered him to be equipped with an ankle bracelet. He was confined to his house and told that he would be arrested if he left. One would expect something like this to happen in North Korea, China, or Iran... but never in the United States! Never before, to our knowledge, has a pastor in America been criminally charged and confined to house arrest for doing what Christians have done for two thousand years: going to church! The trial judge eventually backed down and had the ankle bracelet taken off of him, but the criminal charges against him were still pending.

We have been fighting this egregious infringement of religious liberty in court for over 2 years now. In May 2022, the Louisiana Supreme Court quashed the criminal charges against Pastor Spell because the Governor's executive orders violated his fundamental right to exercise his religion. This was a great victory, but the fight is not over. Pastor Spell’s case for damages against the Governor is still live in federal court where we await their decision after oral argument was held on October 3rd. The fight in the courts to vindicate Pastor Spell and his church’s religious liberty has been a long and difficult road.

As of today, no other case has fully vindicated the Church’s right to assemble for worship. Winning this case would guarantee that churches can remain open and decide for themselves how best to care for the health of their congregants in a public health crisis.

religious libertycovidchurchfree exercise
Back to Blog
blog image

Standing With Pastor Tony Spell

October 05, 20222 min read

On October 3rd, our founder, Judge Moore, argued at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in what may be the most important case for religious freedom in our Nation’s history, Spell v. Edwards, No. 22-30075.

Tony Spell is the Pastor of Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; a Pentecostal Church with nearly 2,000 members. Its weekly activities involve singing and preaching the Word, baptisms, laying hands on the sick to pray for them, and providing food for the hungry in the community.

In early 2020, Louisiana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards capped gatherings, including churches, at 10 people! Pastor Spell concluded that complying with the Governor’s orders would violate God’s command to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:24-25) and decided to keep holding services. As a result, he was served with six criminal summonses. Shortly afterward, he was arrested for allegedly trying to run over a protestor outside his church, although video evidence showed that he neither hit him nor even confronted him. At his arraignment, the judge told Pastor Spell that he could no longer preach to his congregation. When Pastor Spell could not agree, the judge ordered him to be equipped with an ankle bracelet. He was confined to his house and told that he would be arrested if he left. One would expect something like this to happen in North Korea, China, or Iran... but never in the United States! Never before, to our knowledge, has a pastor in America been criminally charged and confined to house arrest for doing what Christians have done for two thousand years: going to church! The trial judge eventually backed down and had the ankle bracelet taken off of him, but the criminal charges against him were still pending.

We have been fighting this egregious infringement of religious liberty in court for over 2 years now. In May 2022, the Louisiana Supreme Court quashed the criminal charges against Pastor Spell because the Governor's executive orders violated his fundamental right to exercise his religion. This was a great victory, but the fight is not over. Pastor Spell’s case for damages against the Governor is still live in federal court where we await their decision after oral argument was held on October 3rd. The fight in the courts to vindicate Pastor Spell and his church’s religious liberty has been a long and difficult road.

As of today, no other case has fully vindicated the Church’s right to assemble for worship. Winning this case would guarantee that churches can remain open and decide for themselves how best to care for the health of their congregants in a public health crisis.

religious libertycovidchurchfree exercise
Back to Blog

Join our emailing list to stay up-to-date on the cases we are working and those we are watching

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

We depend on your support to fight for freedom.

Join the cause!

Join our emailing list to stay up-to-date on the cases we are working and those we are watching

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

We depend on your support to fight for freedom.

All donations are tax deductible.

P.O. Box 148

Gallant, AL 35972

P.O. Box 4086

Montgomery, AL 36103