America is facing unprecedented times. As the world grips with fear and concerns over the COVID-19 epidemic, several cities and states have imposed severe “emergency” restrictions in hopes of curbing the tremendous spread of the novel disease.
Safe hygiene practices to protect your family and fellow man are good and well, but many Americans have been forced to ask when enough is enough as the government forcibly restricts our daily movements and very livelihoods.
How many freedoms are Americans willing to give up in order to fight an epidemic?
One pastor in Tampa Florida made headlines for telling local authorities they have no right to stop his congregation from gathering. The pastor was subsequently arrested for unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency rules after he openly defied the coronavirus ban in Florida and held two large services over the weekend:
FOX 8 – A Tampa Bay area pastor has been arrested following two large services at his church over the weekend.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister says he has made the decision Sunday night to seek an arrest warrant against the pastor of River at Tampa Bay Church for violating social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The sheriff confirmed in a tweet Monday afternoon that Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne had been arrested.
Sheriff Chronister says Howard-Browne “repeatedly” violated social distancing orders from the president, CDC and local authorities.
“His reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk and thousands of residents who may interact with them this week in danger,” the sheriff said.
According to Sheriff Chronister, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has been in contact with leaders at the church since last Friday. The sheriff says his office received a tip that the church pastor was refusing to stop holding large services and was instead encouraging his congregation to meet in person at the church.
Chronister added that the church has the capability to stream the services online and on TV to people at home but instead encouraged people to attend the church services. He says the church even provided bus transportation to two large services on Sunday.
The pastor will be charged with unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency rules. Both charges are second-degree misdemeanors.
In the Sheriff’s point of view, the Pastor exhibited “reckless disregard for human life”, and maybe so. However, as President Trump mentioned in an earlier briefing, the cure cannot be allowed to be worse than the disease.
Where is the fine line between reasonable social action and infringement of Constitutional rights? Should the government be allowed to prevent Americans from gathering in worship due to a virus? What assurances do we have that this governmental power will only be restricted to combating the virus?
Agree with the pastor or not, Americans must think carefully about what our local and federal governments are doing and imposing on us. At some point, enough is enough and we must be ready and willing to take back what is ours or risk losing everything that makes America great.