Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. -- Romans 13:1-2 (ESV)
The drama involving heretic Rodney Howard-Browne continues. I say heretic not only because that is what he is but as a reminder for those who have jumped to his defense or are using this to further the NAR aggrieved, persecuted narrative to be careful what you are lining up with. That said, Browne has hired the legal arm of the NAR, the Liberty Counsel, to fight the charges and to provide the public relations work needed to continue to paint himself as the victim, when he blatantly ignored the law and endangered the lives of all of his congregants. This is not hyperbole. Thousands of people have already died from this virus and that number is definitely higher because we have not tested at the rate we should have. The incubation period can surpass two weeks and many go asymptomatic, meaning countless people are infecting others while they think they are perfectly healthy. No matter how Browne, the Liberty Counsel or the NAR sycophants who worship this government over God try to spin this -- Rodney Howard-Browne acted recklessly, arrogantly and stupidly in holding service for over 500 people. The above link is from the Liberty Counsel as they continue to try and twist reality to keep those inclined to be on their side where they are. Those who think freely and understand scripture know Browne was in the wrong but the Liberty Counsel is not preaching to them. They just do not want to lose any of the NAR evangelical group that votes the way they want.
The thrust of the above article is whether churches are "essential." This is an emotional strawman argument based on the legal term used by the state to allow some business to stay open during this time. For example, grocery stores and pharmacies are considered essential. Hopefully, I do not need to explain why this is so. Church services, which are often close gatherings of hundreds of people, are not essential because that setting is a playground for the virus. A recent Illinois service with 80 in attendance is now reporting 43 of them sick and ten confirmed with COVID. Nonetheless, the NAR loves painting the apostate church as being persecuted by their fictional deep state that is working against their idol, King Cyrus Trump. So they are seizing on the notion that the world is declaring the church is non-essential and therein lies the primary distortion. What is non-essential is the gathering for corporate service, not the church as a concept. Before getting into the question of being essential, the Liberty Counsel spent some time litigating the case at hand. I will not re-litigate it here. They have three points. First is that they claim because the Sherriff gave them the green light for service on Thursday, the following order banning the service on Friday was ok to ignore. They will find out they are mistaken. Their second point is that because they tried to mitigate the possibility of catching the virus, through wearing gloves, practicing safe distancing, and some nebulous installation of a purification system, they should be allowed to break the law. Again, they will find out they are sadly mistaken. Thirdly, they point to the fact that the Governor issued an order deeming religious services as essential. This was of course the week after the arrest, so it is meaningless legally. As for the question of being essential, let us reason together once more.
"Whether churches are "essential" in the midst of this coronavirus crisis is a critical question that must take into consideration many factors. The related question, whether churches should open or close, must be considered in the context of each church and community. To answer the question whether churches are essential and whether the doors should be opened or closed requires a review of each case. There are an estimated 500,000 or more Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox churches in America. These range from small to large, and each church has a different community of service or people who attend. The people who attend and the community they serve runs the gamut from old to young, upper class, middle class, poor, urban, rural, inner city, country and include a wide variety of ethnic, racial and language diversity. Based on the demographics of the people who attend, and the capability to broadcast online, some churches are better off if they close through this time. However, some churches provide essential ministries, besides music and the pastor preaching from the pulpit, which cannot be carried out online." -- Liberty Counsel
The emerging defense the Liberty Counsel is floating here is that it is reasonable that SOME churches be closed down, just not Howard-Browne's because they provide OTHER services to the community besides a Sunday worship service. Except, we are expressly speaking about the Sunday worship service. This charade is quite transparent by the Liberty Counsel. The point was there could not be large gatherings of people -- period.
"The River Church feeds 900 people each week by providing free food from its farmer's market located inside the church lobby. The church grows its own food and farms tilapia fish to give to the community. When the doors of this church close, people starve, including children." -- Liberty Counsel