To pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, the head of Revival Ministries International, telling people not to infect each other with a potentially deadly virus is a "First Amendment threat" to Christian ministries. "Because the climate change narrative for global governance failed, they are using the World Health Organization to then come in and take over the control of nations and then they are going to bring in vaccines," he previously said about COVID-19.
Unsurprisingly, Howard-Browne continued to hold religious services at his Megachurch in Tampa Bay — despite the warnings of police, or the overwhelming encouragement by the global public to cut down on large social gatherings in order to slow the spread of the virus. Howard-Boone did also livestream the services, which is how video got around of congregants packed shoulder-to-shoulder during this past Sunday's Mass. Which is how the police found out about it.
From the Tampa Bay Times:
Howard-Browne was arrested Monday on misdemeanor charges of unlawful assembly and violating quarantine orders during a public health emergency, said Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister.
"Because of the reckless disregard of public safety and after repeated requests and warnings, I worked with our state attorney, Andrew Warren, to obtain a warrant for unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency rules, both of which are second degree misdemeanors," Chronister said. "Our goal here is not to stop anyone from worshiping, but the safety and well-being of our community must always come first."
State Attorney Andrew Warren added:
I'd remind the good pastor of Mark 12:31, which said there's no more important commandment than to love thy neighbor as thyself. Loving your neighbors is protecting them, not jeopardizing their health by exposing them to this deadly virus.
Jerry Falwell's evangelical Liberty University also encouraged students to return to campus and continue classes this past weekend, a decision which has already resulted in positive coronavirus tests.
Pastor of Tampa church that held two large Sunday services arrested, jailed [Tony Marrero / Tampa Bay Times]
Liberty University Brings Back Its Students, and Coronavirus Fears, Too [Elizabeth Williamson / The New York Times]
Image via YouTube