A Florida megachurch pastor refuses to close church doors. Instead, he continues to allow worshippers to squeeze inside while insisting the church is “not a non-essential service.”
TMZ reports that Rodney Howard-Browne, the pastor of The River Church in Tampa, said he would cure coronavirus the “way he did with Zika.” The pastor previously claimed that he “cursed Zika in the name of Jesus.”
The Zika virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is spread primarily by mosquito bites and through sex. It hit the U.S. in 2016 but there were no reported cases in 2019. There is no specific medication to treat the virus, aside from rest and hydration.
Howard-Browne also reportedly said that he now has machines set up at church, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, that will kill germs on people as soon as they walk through the door.
“We brought in 13 machines that basically kill every virus in the place, and uh, if somebody walks through the door it’s like, it kills everything on them. If they sneeze, it shoots it down at like 100 mph. It’ll neutralize it in split seconds. We have the most sterile building in, I don’t know, all of America.”
During Sunday services on March 29, Howard-Browne bashed the media for objecting to the church gatherings. He added he was being “demonized because we believe that God heals.”
The pastor also shut down scientific findings on coronavirus, claiming that it should be less concerning than someone getting the flu. Medical experts have consistently said that COVID-19 is more deadly than the flu and spreads much faster. Experts have also said that social distancing is the best way to stop the virus from spreading.
“This disease seems to respond to social distancing, and so we can help reduce the number of people dying of COVID-19,” Dr. Pritish Tosh, medical director for Emergency Management at the Mayo Clinic, told ABC News. “This is not overhyping. These rather unprecedented social maneuvers are likely to help to keep otherwise vulnerable people from getting sick and dying.”
Press Statement From Revival Ministries International and The River at Tampa Bay In a time of national crisis, we…
Rodney Howard-Browne, however, isn’t budging. He has vowed to keep the church doors open until the “Rapture.”
“And we believe in laying our hands on the sick and they shall recover, and we believe in casting out the devil and we believe Jesus heals. We’ve put all the legalities on our website, so go ahead knock yourself out.”
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[Feature Photo: Google Maps/March 2019]