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Florida Sheriff Arrests Trump-Loving Pastor Who Refused to Stop Holding Packed Services Amid Pandemic

Florida Sheriff Arrests Trump-Loving Pastor Who Refused to Stop Holding Packed Services Amid Pandemic
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images // Hernando County Sheriff

After weeks of dismissing the current pandemic as little more than a flu overblown by the media to undermine his presidency, President Donald Trump and his administration are finally beginning to acknowledge the severity of the threat posed by the virus that's upended daily life in the United States.

Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne apparently hadn't gotten that memo.

The pastor's deliberate dismissal of social distancing measures enacted by the state of Florida resulted in his arrest on Monday.

Watch Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister announce the arrest warrant below.

Chronister said:

"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."

Howard-Browne had been holding services for hundreds of members despite orders forbidding gatherings of more than ten people, and it wasn't because of ignorance of the virus.

In fact, the pastor often discussed it to his congregation—invoking false promises regarding it.

He jokingly told the congregation that God would multiply their toilet paper rolls, and said that the church had installed a ventilation system which killed the virus. He even encouraged the congregation to shake hands.

Watch below.

Howard-Browne turned himself in shortly after Chronister's announcement.

People were happy to see the pastor held accountable for his recklessness.

People began wondering what would happen if cases began getting traced back to his congregation.

Howard-Browne may be facing justice for his actions now, but the consequences of his recklessness for others may prove even worse.

For a deeper look into the white Evangelical community's support for politicians at odds with its core principles, check out The Immoral Majority, available here. You can also preorder Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump, available here.