Greg Locke
Pastor Greg Locke, of Global Vision Bible Church in Tennessee, during a video interview. (Video screengrab)

Twitter Permanently Bans Greg Locke, Pro-Trump, Anti-Vax Pastor

By Bob Smietana

A Tennessee pastor known for controversial stands on COVID-19 and the 2020 election has been banned from the social media giant Twitter.

“Twitter just permanently suspended my account. Welcome to America,” Greg Locke said in a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon.

Pastor of the independent Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, just east of Nashville, Locke was a relatively unknown figure until he discovered the power of social media in the wake of the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationally. 

His Facebook videos criticizing that decision and follow-up videos about plans by Target to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice went viral, turning Locke into a social media force. 

“It’s been a whirlwind,” he said in an interview earlier this year at America’s Revival, a God-and-country conference held in Dallas, where Locke was a featured speaker. “I’ve just been hanging on for the ride.”

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Locke has repeatedly mocked those who wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and has told worshipers that anyone who shows up at his church in a mask will be asked to leave. 

The pastor went so far as to post an anti-mask sign outside the 3,000-seat tent where his church holds outdoor services, stating that the church campus is mask-free. 

“We celebrate FAITH over FEAR,” the sign reads.

“Don’t believe this delta variant nonsense,” he told worshipers at a July service. “If they go through round two and you start showing up all these masks and all this nonsense, I’ll ask you to leave. I will ask you to leave. I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church. If you want to social distance, go to First Baptist Church, but don’t come to this one.”

While the governor of Tennessee has issued past guidelines limiting the size of large group meetings during the pandemic, churches have been exempt from those statewide restrictions.

Locke has also warned churchgoers not to be vaccinated, referring to the COVID-19 vaccine as an “experimental potion.”   

“Do not get vaccinated,” he told his congregation in August. “Do not get vaccinated.”

Locke, whose sermons are also filled with conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election — he has called people who believe that Joe Biden won the election “crack-smoking, demon-controlled leftists” — declined to be interviewed about the Twitter ban. In a Facebook Live video, he claimed to be the first pastor to be banned on Twitter and said his banning was an attack on Christians.

“If you don’t think persecution is here, you are not paying attention,” he said in the Facebook Live video.  

In the video, Locke claimed he would sue Twitter and called for his fellow Christians to fight what he sees as liberal forces destroying the nation. 

“We are not going to stop,” he said. 

Despite its lack of masks, Global Vision has drawn large crowds, often drawing out-of-state fans of Locke’s videos. Locke said that the church has baptized more than 1,000 people during the pandemic and he has no plans to stop in-person services. 

Earlier this year, Locke told attendees at America’s Revival that his church would resist any attempts to shut down those services, saying the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms would protect their right to worship.

A natural showman on stage, Locke has backpacked for hundreds of miles to raise money to buy Bibles, spent the night in a boom lift and bicycled for hours in the cold to raise money for the homeless. One all-night session on his stationary bike ended after more than 170 turkeys were donated to the church, in time to give away during the holidays.

In his Facebook Live, Locke said that he had been banned from Twitter for short periods in the past and he encouraged viewers to follow him on Facebook and other social media channels. Locke’s Twitter page notes the suspension and says: “Twitter suspends accounts which violate the Twitter Rules.”

In an interview earlier this year, Locke compared himself to John the Baptist and said he was “a voice crying in the wilderness.”

“I think people are hungry for the truth,” he said. “I say things that people think but they’re afraid of the repercussions.”  

Bob SmietanaBob Smietana is a national reporter for Religion News Service.

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12 thoughts on “Twitter Permanently Bans Greg Locke, Pro-Trump, Anti-Vax Pastor”

  1. Twitter’s terms and conditions are clear – and Locke violated them – so it’s Twitter’s right (and in this case, responsibility) to ban him. It’s simple cause and effect, but this time the perpetrator claims to be a victim of the mere consequences of his actions.
    Consequences are not censorship or a violation of First Amendment rights. Government persecution, imprisonment, harrassment, and seizing of assets is.
    Also, Locke’s answer to a mask mandate is a “no mask” mandate? Make it make sense.

    In the meantime, Locke’s posts are the very antithesis of the gospel message. May God call him to repentance and bless his soul.

  2. The benefit of an open forum is that errors can be refuted. I believe it’s better to encourage debate, rather than silence “those in error.”
    If Twitter would rebut rather than block they would potentially strengthen their position as well as gain respect. As it is they are losing respect and increasing suspicion.

  3. The problem I have with Twitter or other social media bans is that the media decides what is true and what is false. This preacher obviously says some things that most of us would agree are not true. But how many social media bans have been placed on people that promote Transgenderism, and transitioning, when most of us (and even many secular folks) believe it to be a patently false and anti-science belief?

    It’s an impossible task, so you have to ask on what basis do they pick and choose.

  4. “Pastor” Locke is… a lot of things I won’t say because I want this comment to be approved, besides an utter and textbook tare, but with all of these blatantly one-sided bans, Dictator Dorsey proves that Trump, as much as I detested him, really was right that in that we have a deep state and shadow order in our society.

    1. You fail to see that Twitter is a private company, and has every right to ban whoever it wants the same way you can kick people off your property, or clubs eject rowdy patrons. If you don’t like, you can bl**dy go to another club or use a different social media platform.

      You have bought into this fake populist BS that is certainly not conservative or constitutionalist by any stretch of the imagination. Also, Trump blames EVERYONE else for his failures and problems (and screws over useful tools when they are no longer useful).

      This article from Reason.com (hardly a leftist website) illustrates the problem (BOTH TEAM RED and TEAM BLUE Hate Big Tech):

      https://reason.com/2021/06/05/the-bipartisan-antitrust-crusade-against-big-tech/

      I suggest you read it before making such pronouncements.

  5. Had another thought. If we set Locke and Twitter side by side, in order to adduce their respective shortcomings relative to the common good; how can our reasoning on that matter go.

    I’ve never Twitted. The effective limits on exchange with Twitter, don’t at all work for me. Exchange on Twitter, as the name Twitter suggests, is small simple packets of view, tossed between one another.
    How does that effect our reasoning and expression. My sense is that such exchanging tends to need simplified stereotypes; they shorn of any complexity, or detail, or depth.
    In the title of our email on this Roy reporting of this ban, we have several of the language-ideational entities that Twitter needs and creates. So, Pro-Tump, Anti-Vax. Even Permanently Ban, and Pastor might so qualify. And across prevailing prejudices, even Greg Locke is arguably a simplifying stereotype.
    These language-expressed simplifying stereotypes, are then suited to Twitter exchanges, where you are never likely to speak to the detail and complexity of views. Myriad views and opinions can swirl around the same term. Tsunamis of opinion can be created, where millions of people sign up to a briefly expressed view, in the blink of an eye.

    So it has to do with the possibility of stealth immorality involved in the condemning of someone and something. What is less moral because more harming our collective world. Twitter, in its erosion of complex and careful understanding. Or Greg Locke with his OTT political raving.
    There is possibility of debate about such a matter.

  6. The number of conservative Christians who have recently started advocating for the government to force businesses to change their practices is interesting.
    As another commenter said, as a private company they can have terms of service with their customers and ban, for example, white supremacists or Holocaust deniers, so spreading lies about Covid seems like a valid part of such a policy.

    Locke still has his freedom of speech, but he has no right to force a platform to spread his speech any more than he could force Julie here to post a blog entry that he wrote.

  7. God gave us humans the intellect to rise above the challenges. As long as the vaccine saves lives. Thanks to my Pastor, Keion Henderson, https://www.keionhenderson.com/ a Houston Pastor, who made me realize that it was never just about me, it’s about loving my neighbor and fellowmen.

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