Yes, a now-infamous Louisiana pastor got all "Rocky IV" on us ... saying, if any of his church members die from the virus, they'll have done so in the name of God and freedom.
Tony Spell, leader of Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, tells TMZ ... he thinks true Christians do not mind dying from COVID-19. He insists that what they fear instead is living in fear. As he puts it, "People that can prefer tyranny over freedom do not deserve freedom."
He's also not flinching at medical experts suggesting most of the nation will eventually contract the virus, even if only mildly. Spell's reaction is, "Let's get on with life."
As you've probably heard ... Spell's been defiant of Louisiana's shelter-at-home order. He opened his church last week for Palm Sunday where over 1,000 members attended. He had previously been arrested and charged for violating the state mandate.
Watch the video, Spell is sticking to his guns for Easter Sunday too. He was totally unswayed by our producer suggesting a different approach.