“I’m not again negating that people are dying from the coronavirus,” said the pastor. “We’re not saying that, just saying that the thing is blown totally way out of proportion and if you shut the church down, the church is not a non-essential service. I don’t care what anybody says.”
According to Christianity Today, Pastor Howard-Browne is a somewhat controversial figure. Among other beliefs, he has supported a number of conspiracy theories, such as the idea that vaccines are a form of population control.
Since being released the pastor is claiming that shots were fired at the church, but the sheriff’s office says it has no record of any such incident.
Speaking at the press conference, State Attorney Andrew Warren emphasized the constitutionality of the safer-at-home order and said, “I would remind the good pastor of Mark 12:31, which says there is no more important commandment than to love thy neighbor as thyself. Loving your neighbors is protecting them and not jeopardizing their health by exposing them to this deadly virus.”