This is very deceptive what the Liberty Counsel is trying to do here. Rodney Howard-Browne was not arrested for violating an order not to feed people. He held a church service where he "preached" about the evil government, how the virus was a "phantom virus", and blamed it on Bill Gates. Now, let's be reasonable here. Is the Liberty Counsel and Browne honestly suggesting that the only way to feed people is to hold the church service? Please. I know plenty of churches that are not holding service yet still serving their community within the community guidelines. So save the martyr nonsense about starving children. No one is buying it.
"Many people are experiencing increased stress. Many have lost their jobs and do not know where they will get the next meal. Many people suffer from mental, emotional and physical pain. Those with intractable physical pain are not able to get relief from their chiropractor, physical therapist or pain management specialist. Experiencing pain 24/7 often leads to depression and even suicide. Battered women are locked in their homes with the abuser. Children are out of school and are restricted in some places from going to the parks or beaches. Without work, the extra stress can become overwhelming. Some churches provide counseling. Some provide food, clothes and money to those in need." -- Liberty Counsel
Yet all of those things can be provided safely, without breaking the law, and do not require the church to hold Sunday service. We see right through this sham. Browne is wrong, period. So the liberty Counsel is trying to rehabilitate his image by pretending this was really about helping battered women, feeding the poor and suicide prevention. Nonsense. This was about a mega church pastor wanting to feed his ego and spew political conspiracy theories from the pulpit.
"The River Church serves a large community that has no access to the internet. Even some people who have access to the internet lack the bandwidth to watch a service online. To answer the question of whether a church is essential and whether it should open or close its doors, people need to look beyond their own circumstances to see the mounting needs and hurting people who are less fortunate and who need the ministry of the local church." -- Liberty Counsel
C'mon. The River Church is in Tampa bay Florida, not the remote areas of Tajikistan. Last time I checked, Tampa Bay has internet access. Are there some who may not have access? I suppose but if Howard-Browne wanted to really be magnanimous he would get his congregants some Wi-Fi and stop using them to defend his indefensible behavior. Only God knows how many people Rodney Howard-Browne infected in this service and how many will die as a result.
"No shepherd of the flock wants to do anything that would endanger the community. But the question is, should we allow some discretion to follow health guidelines while determining what can and cannot be provided online? Or do we want to give this unfettered authority to a single government official?" -- Liberty Counsel
Hmmm, that sounds like a question you ask BEFORE you decide to break the law. Asking it after only makes you look like you are trying to excuse the fact that you broke the law. Let's examine the question though. Should we allow discretion on public health matters that could affect the lives permanently of untold numbers of people to someone who knows nothing about epidemiology, disease, viruses or public health? I am going to go with "no." This action was ordered by a single person but the Sherriff acted based on the medical advice of professionals in the health care arena. I cannot believe the sheer idiocy of this question. Do you want Rodney Howard-Browne deciding maters of public health? Dear Lord.
'Perhaps it is important to reconsider what is essential about the church. Some are far more essential than others. A blanket answer to the question is too simple and serves a grave injustice to many. Maybe there should be more discretion given to the shepherds of the church to determine whether the church should meet, and if so, how best may the church protect those who attend and serve the needs of the community. This is a much better approach than a one-size-fits-all template that labels churches as "non-essential."' -- Liberty Counsel