Pentecostal Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne: arrested for large church services
Police authorities in the U.S. arrested Pentecostal Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne on Monday for holding large church services amid the coronavirus crisis.
Howard-Browne, whose church is based in Tampa Bay, Florida, dismissed the virus threat in his preachments and even encouraged followers to shake hands.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff announced on March 30 that he had obtained an arrest warrant for the pastor.
About an hour later, the Sheriff booked the pastor into the Hernando County Detention Centre.
Although the governor of Florida has not issued a statewide “stay at home” order, local communities have taken steps to curb the spread of the virus.
In Hillsborough County, gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people and residents are instructed to remain at their homes as much as possible.
Howard-Browne carried on without regard to the coronavirus realities around him.
During a sermon on March 16, he told the River at Tampa Bay congregation that the church would never close unless a rapture occurred.
He referred to those jittery about COVID-19 as ‘Pansies’
He also suggested that his congregation is not afraid of contracting the coronavirus and that anyone who does is weak.
“This Bible school is open because we’re raising up revivalists, not pansies,” he said.