“This is the proudest day of my life to be persecuted for the faith”

Tuesday’s court date was the latest instance of the controversial pastor facing charges and drawing national attention. In April, he was charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly drove a church bus backward toward a protester outside the church.

“I approached a man who verbally assaulted my wife and little girls. He’s a crotch-grabbing, middle-finger using against my church ladies,” he wrote in a text message to The Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey. He added, “This is the proudest day of my life to be persecuted for the faith.”

The pastor said that he broke the Democratic governor’s emergency orders 33 times, according to a video message to his supporters on Sept. 3, the day after he was served with the six notices of arraignment. On Palm Sunday, the church hosted more than 1,200 parishioners, Spell told CNN.

Spell has been outspoken about his disdain for masks. In the Aug. 5 video, the pastor claimed that masks are the “precursor” to the Antichrist and said that a vaccine would “have the ability to track all of humankind.”