Even as he faced public backlash for breaking the law and for wishing COVID-19 death on police officers, head of the El Shaddai Deliverance Ministries Lincoln Doughty says he has no regrets and no apologies.
Doughty came under fire from the head of the Inter-religious Organisation Dean Knolly Clarke who described his behaviour as ‘sickening and sad.”
Doughty had led his flock to pray for the nation at the Harris Promenade, in San Fernando, in contravention to public health regulations.
Speaking to Guardian Media, Doughty was asked whether he had any regrets for breaking the law.
“No regrets, no apology neither. I only fear God,” he said.
Asked whether he believed that COVID is real and could harm his flock, Doughty said, “ Man created COVID. It is real”
He added, “A lot more persons are going to die in this country under COVID.”
Asked why he put his flock in harm’s way, Doughty said nobody in his congregation could get COVID.
“ The Lord tell me to go there (Promenade). I even questioned God. I am no mad man. I know it is people lives we dealing with.”
Asked whether he would breach the Public Health Regulations again, Doughty said, “ I obey the voice of God and not the voice of man. If the Lord sends me, I will go because I fear God and not man. That is why I can stand and tell the police to lock me up.”
He said before they went to the Promenade, he wrote to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and President Paula Mae-Weekes asking for a curfew from 6 pm to 6 am.
“ I want the Prime Minister to take me into any one of the institutions where COVID is rampant. Send me by the worse patient and I will go without a mask. I will not get COVID,” he said.
Doughty said he formed his church four years ago and had a membership of about 75 to 100 people.
He also added that he does not have a criminal record but used to hang out with “bad boys.” Since he formed his church, Doughty said police have always been knocking on his door accusing him of selling drugs. Asked why he wished the police officers would get COVID and die, Doughty said he did not regret what he said he his Lord told him three times to say it.
Meanwhile, the president of the Inter-Religious Organisation, Dean Knolly Clarke, described Doughty’s behaviour as sickening.
“You could pray in your home. I haven’t had church since the time they asked us to lockdown. I don’t have to go on the Promenade or any place else to pray. Pray at home,” Clarke said.
Responding to Doughty’s behaviour, Clarke said, “That is very sickening. You cannot be a religious leader and tell people you will get COVID and die. That is very very sad. Most unkind.”
He said the restrictions were meant to protect the health of the nation.
General secretary of the Sanathan Dharma Maha Sabha Vijay Maharaj also said worship should be done at home. He said while prayers were important this could be done via Zoom. He declined to comment on Doughty’s behaviour except to say that if he did, it would be “unsavoury.”
Both Archbishop Jason Gordon and public relations officer of the ASJA Imam Raffaic Mohammed have called on their flock to abide by the Public Health Regulations.
Meanwhile the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Council of Evangelical Churches Rev Dr Desmond Austin disassociated his organisation from the El Shaddai Deliverance Ministries.
In a statement, Austin said the TTCEC “notes with alarm the attitudes of various individuals purporting to be Christians in videos posted on social media, which were not in alignment with the Word of God or reflective of the Christian Community.”
“These videos clearly show, amongst other contrary behavioural characteristics, a lack of adherence to the Covid-19 Public Health Regulations,” Austin said.
He added, “We have therefore disassociated ourselves from these events and any other that goes against the laws of the land.”
Though these times are challenging for the church, Austin appealed to all members to adhere to the regulations at this time.
“The Word of God reminds us in Romans 13:1-2 ‘Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.”
He said, “As members of the Body of Christ, we are to respect the authority of government which has been instituted by God. In everything let us use Godly wisdom and use our influence to draw people closer to God during this time. “