How much privilege do you have when you’re a Christian?
Consider this: Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne of The River church in Tampa Bay, Florida was arrested for continuing to hold in-person church services — to the point that even his church’s insurance company canceled his policy — and he won’t be punished for it.
Today, prosecutors dropped all charges against him.
The office of Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren filed notice Friday that it will not pursue the case against Pastor Tampa Rodney Howard-Browne of the River at Tampa Bay Church. Howard-Browne had been charged with unlawful assembly and violating quarantine orders during a public health emergency.
The reason, said Warren, was that Howard-Browne posed no “ongoing” threat given that he had shifted services online. He’s been broadcasting from home for weeks, which is why we saw his wife break out into a fit of “holy laughter.”
One of his attorneys, Christian Right activist Mat Staver, maintained that Howard-Browne never did anything wrong and all of this was “politically motivated.” Because when your career is built around the premise that Christians are always victims, you treat everything as persecution.
“Neither the pastor nor The River at Tampa Bay Church did anything wrong,” Staver said. “The arrest and the press conference were outrageous and caught the attention of the nation and the world.”
The arrest got attention because Howard-Browne was being an idiot by putting everyone in danger. He deserved to be arrested, and he deserves to be punished. Instead, he’s being treated like a Christian martyr, taking one for the team.
There’s a moral to this story: If you’re ever arrested in Florida, just tell people you’re a pastor and you might be able to get away with it.
(Thanks to Jeff for the link)