As Trump watches amid coronavirus, Riverside megachurch pastor tells worshipers to stay home

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Pastor Greg Laurie is known for the annual Harvest Crusade event at Angel Stadium, shown in this undated file photo. (Daily Pilot via Los Angeles Times)

Pastor Greg Laurie is known for the annual Harvest Crusade event at Angel Stadium, shown in this undated file photo. (Daily Pilot via Los Angeles Times)

Amid stories that several megachurch pastors in recent weeks have defied calls to cancel gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump tweeted this weekend that he would be “tuning in” Sunday to listen to Greg Laurie, a Southern California megachurch pastor, online.

And so, from his empty Riverside campus at Harvest Christian Fellowship, a church of 15,000 people that would normally be bustling Sunday morning, Laurie filmed a greeting for “a very special guest to our service today.”

“Thank you for talking about the importance of the church in your press conferences,” Laurie said to Trump. “I know you had mentioned earlier that it was your hope that maybe we would be meeting in person on Easter, and unfortunately that has not worked out. But the amazing thing is we’re able to reach a lot of people now online.”

Across the country, pastors have revolted against stay-at-home orders, pitting public health concerns against claims of religious freedom.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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