Tampa Bay Pastor Arrested For Violating Social Distancing Orders Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

(Gateway Pundit) – A Tampa Bay pastor was arrested for “repeatedly” violating socials distancing orders following two church services at his church this past weekend.

The Sheriff said his office received a tip that this pastor was packing in crowds at his church despite the social distancing orders.

“The sheriff’s office has advised church leaders of the danger they are putting themselves and their congregation in by not maintaining appropriate social distancing at a time when COVID-19 cases are unfortunately still on the rise in Hillsborough County,” deputies said.

WFLA reported:

A Tampa Bay area pastor has been arrested following two large services at his church over the weekend.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister says he has made the decision Sunday night to seek an arrest warrant against the pastor of River at Tampa Bay Church for violating social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The sheriff confirmed in a tweet Monday afternoon that Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne had been arrested.

According to Sheriff Chronister, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has been in contact with leaders at the church since last Friday. The sheriff says his office received a tip that the church pastor was refusing to stop holding large services and was instead encouraging his congregation to meet in person at the church.

Chronister added that the church has the capability to stream the services online and on TV to people at home but instead encouraged people to attend the church services. He says the church even provided bus transportation to two large services on Sunday.

The media was all over this church and reported seeing a full parking lot amid social distancing orders.

“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,” the sheriff said.

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

Churches across the country are streaming services online in response to the social distancing orders, however prolonged orders to shut down places of worship are raising questions about 1st Amendment rights.



  1. Separation of State and religion is guaranteed by the Constitution, However when our forefathers wrote this article
    I’m sure they were not thinking about a crisis like we are facing now, Its difficult to understand why some folks just don’t seem to have forethought or common sense, Why would a Pastor place his congregation in this position? This
    should not be about defying the Government or those in authority, IN fact the Bible admonishes us to obey authority and our leaders, It doesn’t say we cant speak out about injustice or unlawful acts, But as Chriastians we are TO OBEY authority, And one would think this pastors responsibility would be to protect his congregation, Ill say up front I am a Christian that attends church on a regular basis, and the Church i attend has not held services in
    weeks because of the safety concerns for the congergation We are doing live stream which is what many churches across the country are doing. Maybe this pastor should consider doing the same

  2. GOD gave people intelligence but NOT COMMON SENSE?!

    WHY would he NOT Want to PROTECT his congregation?!

    And WHY Doesn’t his Congregation use their Common Sense. They Need to Listen to the CDC, not a pastor with NO MEDICAL TRAINING!


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