The Florida pastor who got hauled in by police for hosting a megachurch service despite quarantine and stay-at-home orders has FINALLY done the right thing ... he's closing the congregation.
The Tampa-area minister, Rodney Howard-Browne, is shutting his church down and will not hold another packed Sunday service. He explained the decision on his own podcast/telecast and his reasoning is pretty interesting.
RHB says he's closing the church to protect his followers from what he says is a "tyrannical" government, NOT the rapidly spreading and dangerous coronavirus.
The pastor also says he and his congregation have been the target of death threats ... and he's blaming the media for blowing the story out of proportion, while throwing the sheriff under the bus.
COVID-19 is playing a role in RHB's decision though ... he says he doesn't want protesters showing up who might be infected with the virus.
The River at Tampa Bay Church
It's an interesting decision from RHB ... Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared churches an essential function, making them exempt from the stay-at-home mandate.
RHB's lawyer, Patrick Leduc, tells TMZ ... before the governor came out with the order, RHB had already made his decision not to hold the Sunday service out of respect for the authorities. The governor's order took them both by surprise.
RHB says he doesn't want anyone in his congregation to get arrested ... and he's telling them all to stay away from the church this Sunday.