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Flag carrying Nathan Thomas, left, chats with Pastor Tony Spell, as Spell and supporters bide their time waiting for a decision in 19th Judicial District Court, Jan. 25. Charges against Spell were not dismissed.

Once again, The Advocate proves that it is no friend of the First Amendment nor of the law but is invariably on the side of totalitarianism and government control.

Despite having no evidence or proof of such a claim, it slanders Life Tabernacle Church and Pastor Tony Spell as "super-spreaders." Sadly, The Advocate fails to inform its readers what their definition of a "super-spreader" is.

There is no report of any widespread infection being caused by Life Tabernacle or Spell. If there were, you may rest assured that event would be unfailingly and loudly, and continually reported in The Advocate, which cannot wait for any bad news about the pastor. While The Advocate consistently contacts Spell and his representatives for news to sell their papers, they also hypocritically condemn him as a publicity hog. In that manner, they can sell even more newspapers.

What is a "super-spreader" actually is the subject of much debate, but The Advocate doesn't give its readers or the pastor the benefit of that debate, but resorts to low name-calling. This kind of malicious and false gossip gives The Advocate less credibility than what we even expect from the worst rag on social media. It is a shame to see our local paper falling so low.

Although their false claims are protected by the First Amendment, as I am reminded by their attorney, apparently the free practice of religion is not one of the First Amendment rights they care to defend for either Spell or the members of the church. Clearly, the editorial writers have such limited experience and regard for the spiritual that the difference between an actual religious service and watching one on television eludes them.

While Gov. John Bel Edwards continues to defy the law as written by failing to terminate properly the coronavirus emergency and consult with the Louisiana Legislature, our newspaper defies logic and attacks heroes who are the only ones defending truth and liberty. Even when the actual reports from Sam Karlin and others can be commended for some semblance of balance, the editorial writers sadly continually come down on the side of the governor's baseless, anti-scientific and overreaching rules, and against the First Amendment that protects their free press.

JEFF WITTENBRINK

lawyer

Baton Rouge

Our Views: Lawless super-spreaders can't hide behind the First Amendment