A South African pastor Rodney Howard-Browne has been arrested in Florida, in the United States, for defying coronavirus regulations.
Rodney Howard-Browne was arrested for having two Sunday services with many congregants and defying a “safer-at-home” order in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Howard-Browne held the two services at his church, River, in Tampa Bay. He even offered transportation for the members who needed it.
The pastor is facing two charges, unlawful assembly and defying of health emergency regulations. Both are second-degree crimes.
A Florida official, Sheriff Chad Chronister, was stated in the publication as saying Howard-Browne’s “reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk, as well as put thousands of residents who may interact with them in danger”.
The lawyer that is handling Howard-Browne’s case, Liberty Counsel, supposedly said that the actions of law enforcement officers were “discriminatory against religion and church gatherings”.
“Not only did the church comply with the administrative order regarding six-foot distancing, but it also went above and beyond any other business to ensure the health and safety of the people,” said the firm.
Liberty Counsel added that the congregants were ordered to wear gloves and each and every person who entered the church was given hand sanitizer.
Last month, New York reported that Howard-Browne regarded the seriousness of the pandemic, as less significant while making fun of “pansies” who were terrified.
“If you cannot be saved in the church, you’re in serious trouble,” he was reported as saying.
“This Bible school is open because we’re raising up revivalists, not pansies.”