Sheriff Arrests Tampa, FL, Pastor for Holding Church – Should this bother you? Is this tyranny?


At 12:45 pm today, we received a call stating that Florida Pastor Rodney Howard Browne of The River Church of Tampa was being arrested for holding church services yesterday. While a long list of commercial operations are exempted from the Tampa administrative order, this religious gathering was targeted. After reviewing the facts, we have agreed to represent the pastor.


Even before the arrest at the pastor’s home was complete, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister held a press conference lecturing about what the Bible says. He called the pastor “reckless,” and said he wants to make him an example.

The Tampa order has 42 paragraphs of exceptions, and another paragraph that further exempts any business that can comply with a six-foot separation. Yet, this church did comply. In fact, this church has done more to balance worship with protecting people, including:

– Enforced the six-foot distance between family groups in the auditorium as well as the overflow rooms
– All the staff wore gloves
– Every person who entered the church received hand sanitizer
– In the farmer’s market and coffee shop in the lobby, the six-foot distance was enforced with the floor specifically marked (farmer’s markets and produce stands are expressly exempted)
– The church spent $100,000 on a hospital-grade purification system set up throughout the church that provide continuous infectious microbial reduction that is rated to kill microbes, including those in the coronavirus family.
-The rights enumerated in the United States Constitution and Florida law STILL apply to people of faith.

No other secular business has done what this church has done to protect its people. Yet, Hillsborough County and Sheriff Chronister want to openly discriminate against church gatherings.

America is in the fight for her life right now – not against a virus that has so far caused fewer deaths worldwide than car accidents or tuberculosis – but against the anti-Christian, petty tyrants who, unable to steal YOUR freedom in the good times of broad daylight, now seek to use panic and fear to force you into compliance. And when you don’t comply, they will turn every governmental mechanism against you even as they raise public outcry to condemn you. THIS IS HOW LIBERTY IS LOST.

How Pastor Howard-Browne was treated and vilified by the Sheriff is unbelievable. This does not look like America. This church has done what no business has done to protect people, but these government tyrants want to crush religious gatherings no matter what.

The cost of losing freedom is worth the fight. That is why we provide all our services at no cost.

We WILL NOT stand by idly as anti-Christians and petty local tyrants try to suffocate and silence the church.

We WILL NOT stand by idly as Republicans and Democrats alike shred the United States Constitution.

My only question now is, will you stand with us?

Every Governor, every Congressman and every member of the administration needs to hear from you NOW – tell them WE WILL NOT ABANDON THE CONSTITUTION, FOR ANYTHING, least of all fear.

In Christ,

Mat Staver,
Liberty Counsel

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5 thoughts on “Sheriff Arrests Tampa, FL, Pastor for Holding Church – Should this bother you? Is this tyranny?

  1. It is time to educate the public on the seperation of powers nad word arts. I am in the process of divorcing the unjust government. No more DMV, unlawful taxes and all the other slave programs we have been pushed into without our concent. I will pray on this, yet another unlawful act by those in so called authority.

  2. The whole notion of local govts. suspending your civil and constitutional rights has been tried in the courts. Constitution as Rodney says is the supreme secular law of the land. State and local govts have to abide. There was and is not federal mandate to not meet at Churches and Synagogues. I have not seen one local decree that told mosques to not meet.

  3. It is high time the church stood up for herself. This is a violation of our First Amendment rights. I am totally against arresting Pastor Rodney. The rest of the church is just sitting there like dumb sheep.

  4. We totally in support of any criticisms against the Sheriff and Hillsborough County for this unconstitutional move against a Pastor. This is definitely a time for “warrior prayer” by the church to stop the exaggerated “scare” being pushed by the media and congressional people (Federal and State) that seem to be using the crisis to attack the president and slow the economy for political reasons. We are horrified by the number of Christians and non-Christians that are filled with fear–fed by the media. The well known prophetic words from Chuck Pierce, Dutch Sheets, Johnny Enlow, Tracy Cooke, Lance and others that THIS CRISIS SHOULD PEAK AFTER PASSOVER should motivate our prayers. We all need to pray for these prophecies to be on schedule, for the sake of the nation and the Kingdom purposes of America.