On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who had faced blowback for his refusal to institute a coronavirus lockdown, finally issued a statewide stay-at-home order. But his order contained a major flaw: it designated church services as “essential,” allowing them to continued — even though these services can be a devastatingly effective vector for the virus.
Some prominent evangelicals are unhappy with the governor’s decision — including former George W. Bush adviser and Never Trump conservative Peter Wehner, who warned that DeSantis is leaving his state vulnerable.
This is deeply unwise; there will be a high human cost to the misguided decisions by DeSantis. As for Christians: One of the best things they can do to love their neighbor is to practice social distancing. It’s not the only thing for sure; but to flout it would be wrong/harmful. https://t.co/diCUsdUDXc
— Peter Wehner (@Peter_Wehner) April 2, 2020
Many churches are cognizant of the health threat to their congregants, and have looked to deliver their sermons through streaming services. Others, however, are flouting public health warnings — some with criminal consequences. On Monday, Tampa megachurch paster Rodney Howard-Browne, a supporter of President Donald Trump, was arrested by Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister after packing hundreds of people into his church in defiance of social distancing guidelines.