A Pro-Trump pastor has been arrested for hosting churches services in Florida. This appears to be the first case of this kind under the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office obtained an arrest warrant for Rev. Rodney Howard-Browne the pastor of The River Church, a mega church in Tampa, Florida for hosting two worship services at his church this past Sunday.
State Attorney Andrew Warren remarked, “I think it’s unfortunate that the pastor here is hiding behind the First Amendment. One, it’s absolutely clear that emergency orders like this are constitutional and valid. Second of all, leaders from our faith-based community across this country have embraced the importance of social distancing.”
“Because of the reckless disregard of public safety and after repeated requests and warnings, I worked with our state attorney, Andrew Warren, to obtain a warrant for unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency rules, both of which are second degree misdemeanors,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “Our goal here is not to stop anyone from worshiping, but the safety and well-being of our community must always come first.”
Howard-Browne was charged with unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency order, was arrested in Hernando County, and booked in jail around 2:20 p.m. Records indicate he was released shortly thereafter.
Florida state law allows the order to be enforced as a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to sixty days in jail, a maximum fine of $500 or both. Hillsborough officials have said the penalties for non-compliance would likely begin with warnings and fines.
Rev. Howard-Browne is one of the earliest voices of support of President Trump from the faith community.
SCOTUS Hands Trump Administration Huge Pro-Life Win
The US Supreme Court on Wednesday endorsed a plan by President Donald Trump’s administration to give employers broad religious and moral exemptions from a federal mandate that health insurance they provide employees covers women’s birth control under the Affordable Care Act.
The court ruled 7-2 against the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which challenged the legality of the Trump administration’s 2018 rule that weakening the so-called “contraceptive mandate” of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, commonly called “Obamacare”.
The opinion was written by Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh. Elena Kagan filed a concurring opinion in the judgment, in which Stephen Breyer joined. Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion, in which Sonia Sotomayor joined.
“We hold today that the Departments had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption. We further hold that the rules promulgating these exemptions are free from procedural defects,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote. “We hold that the Departments had the authority to provide exemptions from the regulatory contraceptive requirements for employers with religious and conscientious objections. We accordingly reverse the Third Circuit’s judgment and remand with instructions to dissolve the nationwide preliminary injunction.”
The two consolidated cases that the SCOTUS heard were Little Sisters of the Poor v Pennsylvania and Donald J Trump v Pennsylvania.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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