April 5, 2020

Welcome to our 3rd Coronavirus Edition of the Huckabee Show, where we practice safe social distancing by keeping our theater empty and our minimal crew and team safely separated. I’m operating from my remote studio 460 miles from our theater. Like you, we are all ready to be back to normal, if there will ever be such a thing, but we also take the virus seriously and you should too. I’ve had friends and acquaintances who have been infected, and know personally a few people who have died from it. Those who scoff at the seriousness need to think about this-do you really think the NBA, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the NCAA, the Masters and all other sports would shut down and lose billions of dollars if not for a real pandemic threat? Would entire nations impose absolute quarantines? Would major corporations close their doors? And would the President urge a virtual shutdown of our nation’s economy during an election year if this weren’t deadly serious?

I know there are some conspiracy theorists who say the scope of the danger is overblown, but few who say such things are public health experts. Perhaps we will find that there was an over-abundance of caution and some things could have been tempered, but in major cities, like NY, Chicago, LA, Detroit, New Orleans, Miami, and yes, Nashville, the cases have multiplied from both a densely populated area with lots of tourists coming in/out, but also because many people just didn’t take it seriously. Most churches in the nation have closed their on-campus services to conduct services online. A few kept open, but took extraordinary measures to try and protect the attenders.

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One such church is The River at Tampa Bay Church. It required attendees to separate 6-10 feet from others, supplied hand sanitizer at every door for every attendee, spent $100,000 for a hospital quality air-flow system, and had every staff member wearing gloves. This week, Sheriff Chad Chronister of Hillsborough County, FL actually arrested Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne for having conducted church services. Think about that. A pastor was arrested for having a church service. He didn’t sneeze or cough on people. He didn’t deny the virus was real and in fact, took great precautions to maintain social distancing. But he was arrested and taken to jail for opening his church. No one was forced to attend. The attendees arrived on their own and one wonders why those who attended weren’t arrested? This case will set up a colossal legal battle as to whether the government at any level can tell a church, synagogue or mosque it cannot provide religious services to its members.

My own church is doing services online and not on any of its 5 campuses. Personally, I think that’s the prudent choice. If my church did have services at any of the locations, I’d opt to still be involved online just to protect myself and more importantly my family who is quarantined with me. But should the government actually arrest a pastor for having church? And if government can shut down a church now, when will some government decide that a church is dangerous because it believes what the government deems wrong. If a church who believes the Biblical pattern of marriage of one man/one woman is considered discriminatory, will the pastor be arrested? If a church believes that men and women should have separate restrooms and dressing rooms and gender-separate dorms and showers at youth camp, will the pastor be arrested and jailed for not following what the government deems right?

Mat Staver and our friends at Liberty Counsel are representing Pastor Browne and we will follow the case closely. But while I believe the risks to public safety and life are real from the coronavirus, I also believe that we cannot and must not sacrifice our 1st amendment guarantees of freedom of religion, free speech, and freedom to assemble. I urge you to protect your family during these times, but be equally vigilant that government doesn’t become a deadly virus to kill our liberties and turn us into a police state.

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Comments 1-25 of 351

  • Vicki Larson

    04/29/2020 12:26 AM

    That is strange. Aren't they helping Muslims celebrate their Rumadoun Holiday in NYC with free meals and things? We can not let this happen with our Christian faith. I feel free for the first Time now to be free to worship and talk about our Lord since TRUMP became president. When OBAMA WAS IN OFFICE, I WAS SCARED AND HAD MY CCW LICENSE AND CARRIED ANYTIME I LEFT THE HOUSE. WE CANT GO BACK TO THAT. GOD BLESS ALL THOSE STANDING UP FOR GOD, FLAG AND FREEDOM.

  • Joan Ginnetti

    04/28/2020 10:34 AM

    Afraid we coming very close to experiencing over the top policing of our basic rights. If the time comes Coronavirus 19 is no longer a threat will we be able to experience previous freedoms?

  • Linda King

    04/26/2020 07:33 PM

    Mpls Mn services to be open for Muslins during Ramadan
    Can’t have a drive up for Christians or Jews
    Also they can have loud speakers and call to prayer
    Where are our rights

  • dar kyl

    04/26/2020 05:45 PM

    How about the mother that was arrested in front of her children for going to the park?

  • Hoss Boyd

    04/19/2020 12:26 AM

    Where can I get a personal copy/download of the Ted Nugent/Mike Huckabee and band instrumental you performed on the 18 April show? How about selling it to benefit the med workers? Thanks!!!

  • Diane Sharpes

    04/15/2020 12:38 PM

    I think this is and has been a concern for some of us 'ole dogs. Has the government overstepped; I don't know. I pray Pastor Browne will be released to return to his home/family and I pray God will intervene in this matter. We have seen in scripture where nations have fallen; I pray for America and am so proud of a "family of faith" that I know and love. I pray as Christians we will boldly stand for the gospel and stand in faith of His promise of salvation no matter what we face.

  • Adele Palmer

    04/14/2020 01:40 AM

    I love Pastor Brown! I don’t know how I feel on this. My feeling would go along with Gov HUCKABEE and how he views it. The problem with that is we all know the government is just looking for stuff to penalize and demonize evangelicals!! So ... this is trickey! We CANT LOOSE OUR FREEDOMS! But for them to ARREST the pastor is EXTREME! The people who came has a choice to come!!!! I mean honestly look at all the businesses that are open and people way more exposed at the grocery store, hardware store, drug store..... are they going to arrest all of them who are not wearing masks etc?!?! You can’t control human behavior... you can ASK them to do the right thing but I’m not willing to put THE CHURCH in a different catagory as NON ESSENTIAL !!! The church is more essential than anything else that is open! We can look at this and see the writing on the wall! The “CHRISTIANS” know what’s coming! This would play right into the lefts hand!! We CANT SACRIFICE OUR RIGHTS!

  • Jason Easterman

    04/10/2020 10:57 AM

    That’s exactly what this is. But the Full Gospel Church and every church does not follow 1 Timothy and Paul’s admonition to pray for those in authority ‘so you can live with n peace’. Real simple problem, real simple solution. Stop the stubborn martyr jackass nonsense and OBEY THE LORD. How hard is it? Now I have to pray. You preachers are all the same: stubborn and Word of God for little people, not great apostles who do perform miracle healings and raise the dead. Sure as heck no one was praying for Brown!

  • Randy Whitehead

    04/08/2020 11:17 PM

    Why is shelter in place constitutional. I agree it is prudent to do so but I would love to hear a constitutional expert comment on this.

  • Carol Brisentine

    04/08/2020 12:25 PM

    Yes, the smartest thing is to have on line .. zoom, FB what ever it might be. But, it’s free well...
    No different than Walmart or target .. may have crossed Aline here.

  • Solomon Yoder

    04/07/2020 12:15 PM

    Sounds like trial run on taking away our personal freedom!
    Definitely an attack on the freedom of religion!

  • Raymond Reed

    04/07/2020 12:12 PM

    Old Testament:

    Old Testament: How many times did God separated the "sick" from his people ? List this number. __________

    New Testament: Render unto Caesar those things that belong to Caesar.

    Life will always supersede liberties, the Government is accountable for lives. Otherwise churches will be sued for billions of dollars.

    Ray Reed, Acts 2:38, Romans 6: 3-6. Member Church of Christ since 1965.

  • dolores varricchio

    04/07/2020 10:47 AM

    Though this virus is serious I live in New York and have seen our Govenor and Mayor take unheard of measures to insure our "safety." I believe that 6 ft apart and the use of masks are enough. I went to Panera Bread the Sunday before the Govenor shut everything down and it was pretty obvious that they had used every precaution the tables were further than 6 feet apart - my family and I felt we were alone in the restaurant even though we weren't. The movie theatre we attended later was empty - I had no fear of contamination because we weren't sitting beside anyone. There seems to be a crisis that is being used to take away our liberties of free assembly and freedom of reglion.

    I understand that this is contagious but I do not want to see further incroachments into our freedoms. Which I fear is happening now - the Govenor is being overly causious and picking winners and losers I feel. I also do not feel it is in his jurisdiction to "close everything" I would really like to see someone look into this because I really feel that he doesn't have the right to do the things that he did.

    Whose attention can we bring this up to - I would like it to be looked into but am at a loss as to who I can write to. I would appreciate your guidance in this.

  • Norman Ray Pardue

    04/07/2020 05:47 AM

    Amen, I agree 100 percent.

  • Nancy A. North-Gates

    04/07/2020 04:52 AM

    I am reading the Federalist 51 which is related to people attending churches in person despite the danger of the pandemic. I think in this case prudence probably trumps total freedom. But I am going to do some more study. (I am in 4 high risk categories and have been home for 6 weeks!)

  • Judy Radley

    04/06/2020 10:51 PM

    Referring to your last sentence above, noting not to let govt. use this to do police state on us, I was just thinking while watching Laura Ingram tonight and her segment about Gov. Cuomo saying that the curve may be flattening in NYC, what my common sense was saying was, will Cuomo then say in the next few days or by end of April when President Trump said he'd like to start opening up businesses again, and Cuomo agreed, will Cuomo THEN SAY, 'there seems to be a second round of viruses starting up again', and then again require continuous shut down of businesses and do this ad-nausea repetitiveness all the way until November, and not allowing going to actual physical voting polling places? I would not be surprised if Nancy Pelosi and all those horrid House Dems., rig up some other 'emergency' to delay elections still or try the illegal vote-by-mail only so they can manipulate the election results that will no doubt say re-election of President Trump? I hope not, and I continue to pray for President Trump, our country and the American way to continue and actually become stronger than it is even now. I am also hoping that there will be some limits put on the negative news reporting against President Trump, not censorship, but decency in reporting and that those who don't follow the decency rules and ethics, won't be able to broadcast on TV or in print, etc. As it does more harm than good. To stop negative propaganda and only uplifting reporting with decent language. If not, then not allowable to viewers.

  • Marilyn Biesenthal

    04/06/2020 09:43 PM

    Great article. Thanks

  • James Hinckley

    04/06/2020 06:27 PM

    Thanks for telling about what this church and Pastor did to insure compliance. The News media didn’t really report what they did do. Just said defiance for law in dangered people and arrested the pastor. Or at least on the west coast. I want to know about the pastor in Louisiana now what we are not being told by the news.


    04/06/2020 05:28 PM

    People are at fault not him,they are to stay home,but China [WAS AT THE START OF THIS ] DISTORTING CHURCHES AND CHRISTIANS,DEMOCRATS ARE NOT FAR BEHIND.

  • Dan

    04/06/2020 05:11 PM

    Thanks for your commentary. I wholeheartedly agree with you it’s a very disturbing time when they’ll arrest a pastor and shutdown churches. It’s disturbing because I live in Louisiana and we have abortion clinics open but churches closed.

  • Robert Driskell

    04/06/2020 04:56 PM

    I love you brother and agree with you on most everything. But I disagree with your take on this situation. The government was NOT intervening to take away our rights to believe what we want to believe, it wasn't attempting to take away our religious freedom, either. Our nation, our world, is in the middle of an extremely serious pandemic. This disease is spread by close personal interaction and the best way to control it (or kill it) is to stay away from each other for a limited time period. The government isn't dictating what I can believe, but it is enforcing rules that can keep people alive. I think you confused the two issues. But I still love ya, brother.

  • Ronda Wells MD

    04/06/2020 04:28 PM

    I know they were really trying to avoid an issue with spreading the virus, but they weren't heeding Paul in Romans 13! "All of you must obey those who rule over you. There are no authorities except the ones God as chosen." When Christians defy a common sense law like this, (remember the cult in Korea?) then we bring disrepute onto the Church and other Christians. Nothing wrong with online services! Jesus said, "Where two or three are gathered, I am there in the midst of them!" If there's a legal quarantine, then Christians need to obey it. There's evidence the virus can travel up to 26 feet with a sneeze, so let's be safe, and honor both God and the authorities.

  • Jim Hardy

    04/06/2020 03:24 PM

    Tyranny creeps in by subterfuge and deception. Little by little we may lose our freedoms as a nation, but freedom in Christ can never be legislated or governed because it is given by the one true judge, protector, and savior.

  • Olivia Taylor

    04/06/2020 02:35 PM

    Well said, Mr. H. Thank you for a common sense approach to this stunning situation!

  • Valerie Green

    04/06/2020 02:23 PM

    One of the Denver local news stations, (Fox 31) has been repeatedly showing a story about a local Baptist church that held in-person services yesterday (Sunday.) They show the outside of the church with small groups of people exiting. Nobody was interviewed, but the newscaster makes comment that based on the number of people filmed coming out of the church, they must have been violating the 10-person gathering rule. One has to wonder, are news stations "staking" out churches for "violations"? How did someone just happened to be filming?

    Perhaps the congregants sat in various areas of the sanctuary, thus separated. The small groups filmed leaving the church looked like families who are probably quarantined at home in the same grouping anyway. Of course since nobody was interviewed, we do not know. The story seems to encourage us to believe that the "Church" is a danger that needs to be dealt with for the "safety" of decent people.

    While Colorado's liquor stores, pot shops, and Planned Parenthood facilities remain open, there was no such mention made in the story. Additionally, our Governor, while "strongly urging" all to wear masks "if they care about their fellow citizens," as of last week continues to allow flights to arrive from New York, California, and Louisiana. But after all, to give the impression that someone on those flights might pose a danger would be hate speech, wouldn't it?