A Florida megachurch is refusing to close its doors and continues to hold services despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The River Church in Tampa was filled with worshippers on Sunday even as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urges the state’s residents to practice social distancing.
The church’s pastor, Rodney Howard-Browne, had previously vowed on March 17 that the building would “never close” unless “the Rapture is taking place.”
Howard-Browne on Sunday spent much of his sermon accusing the media of exaggerating the global pandemic and argued that he had no choice but to hold services due to the U.S. Constitution.
Addressing why services couldn’t be held online, the pastor alleged that Google and Facebook’s algorithms would block non-Christians from hearing his message.
Howard-Browne also falsely claimed at the megachurch that the CDC had advanced knowledge of the coronavirus last year, citing an online conspiracy theory as proof.
The pastor, according to TMZ, also alleged the church was white-glove clean thanks to “13 machines that basically kill every virus in the place.”
“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,” the pastor claimed. “It’ll neutralize it in split seconds.”
Howard-Browne went on to add that the church was “the most sterile building in… all of America.”
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