Rodney Howard-Browne, pastor of the River megachurch in Tampa, Florida, was arrested Monday for holding a crowded service in defiance of a regional order that restricts events in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Hillsborough Constable Chad Chronister knocked Howard-Browne at a press conference on Monday, stating his “reckless disregard for human life” not just put his congregants at danger of COVID-19 however likewise those who enter contact with them in the coming days.
State Lawyer Andrew Warren provided a Bible passage that Howard-Browne appeared to have actually neglected.
“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,” he stated. “Loving your neighbors is protecting them, not jeopardizing their health by exposing them to this deadly virus.”
Howard-Browne had actually boasted that his church had unique equipment to eliminate infections.
“If somebody walks in the door, it’s like it kills everything on them. If they sneeze, it shoots it down at like 100 mph, it’ll neutralize it in split-seconds,” he stated recently in avideo posted online by Right Wing Watch “So we have the most sterile building in, I don’t know, all of America.”
There is no recognized or authorized equipment that can make a big event safe from coronavirus.
Jail records from the Hernando County Detention Center show Howard-Browne was charged with illegal assembly in addition to health and safety infractions throughout a public health emergency situation.
He was launched on a $500 bond.
Howard-Browne has actually spread out conspiracy theories about coronavirus, calling it a “phantom plague” produced by China and pressed by “communists” in the media, according to clips put online by Extreme Right Watch.
He is likewise a strong advocate of President Donald Trump and as soon as took part in an Oval Office meeting of evangelical leaders.
He grumbled in a Facebook video that he was “arrested for preaching the Gospel”
Chronister on Monday stated authorities met Howard-Browne to describe the county’s “safer at home” order and caution versus holding the service.
“Shame on this pastor, their legal staff, and the leaders of this church for forcing us to do our job,” he stated. “That’s not what we wanted to do during a declared state of emergency.”
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