Tampa pastor shuts down church, but not to protect congregation from COVID-19

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

TAMPA (WFLA) – A Florida pastor who held packed services last Sunday and then was arrested said he is shutting down the church.

“I have to do this to protect the congregation, not from the virus, but from a tyrannical government, because all the charges against me are totally bogus,” Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne said.

Howard-Browne made the announcement Wednesday evening during a livestream, saying he’s afraid if he held services at The River at Tampa Bay Church, they would be raided and deputies would arrest his congregation.

Howard-Browne was arrested after large services were held at his church last weekend despite social distancing guidelines that have been put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister says Howard-Browne “repeatedly” violated social distancing orders from the president, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities.

The pastor was charged with unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency rules. Both charges are second-degree misdemeanors.

“His reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk and thousands of residents who may interact with them this week in danger,” Chronister said.

Business News

More Business News

Political News

More Political News

Technology News

More Technology News

Science News

More Science News

Entertainment News

More Entertainment News

Odd News

More Odd News
COVID-19 risk as determined by nonprofit Covid Act Now.

Coronavirus Resources from the CDC

Coronavirus by State

COVID-19 Testing Vs. Confirmed Cases by State

Interactive: Coronavirus Timeline

More Home Page Top Stories