December 5, 2020

Why Wearing a Mask is a Sign of Faith not Fear

Why Wearing a Mask is a Sign of Faith not Fear

Matthew Pevarnik, a writer for BioLogos, has a June 10th article entitled “Walking by Faith and Wearing a Mask”.  Matt is an assistant professor of Physics at Regent University (PhD, University of California, Irvine).  He notes that Scriptures that exhort us to “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7) and that faith is being sure of something that we do not see (Hebrews 11:1), have special meaning to him because as a biophysicist he regularly deals with particles and structures that cannot be seen by the unaided human eye.

Why does the Bible tell us to believe in the unseen?  Because we can have confidence that the one telling us that he loves us and cares about us and is working all things for our good is the same God who created all things and rules over all that he created.  In other words, we can trust and know that God is working because of the assurance that we have in Scripture, even though we can’t see him.  Matt says:

This kind of faith in an unseen reality is similar to my approach to my biophysics research. I can have a lot of confidence in things that I can’t see with my unaided senses by collecting various pieces of evidence. I can test how large the nanometer-sized channel is by measuring the transport of chloride ions through the channel. I can measure the size of particles through the resistive pulse method. But at the end of the day, I still can’t see one of my nanopores nor any changes I try to make to its surface chemistry. All I can do is perform the various measurements that give me the confidence that I really am seeing the unseen.

He then relates how the other day he was at a church service of about 40 people and realized he was he only one wearing a mask.  Matt says:

One person came up to me and asked me if I was afraid, to which I promptly replied that I wasn’t. Upon further reflection, I realized that I don’t wear a face mask out of fear, but I wear it out of faith. Funny enough, a few days after attending that church service, I started having shortness of breath and upper respiratory pain (COVID-19 test ended up being negative). Still, I am glad that I wore a mask even when I had no symptoms for the sake of those around me.

One poll found that at least half of Americans are wearing masks in public and a Huffpost poll taken in May found:

There are still significant partisan and demographic divides, but they’re not so pronounced as to leave the two parties diametrically opposed. Rather, the gap is a matter of degrees, with a broad majority of Democrats and a more modest majority of Republicans offering support for masks and rejecting the idea that wearing them is a pointless practice or a sign of weakness.

Well, that seems to be mostly good news, except I am concerned that too many of the Republican contrarians are evangelicals who are like the church people Matt cited above who think wearing a mask is a lack of faith and is giving into fear.  Matt points out that with any new virus there is a lot of uncertainty and conflicting narratives.  He points out there is also a growing list of retracted COVID-19 papers.

Nevertheless, despite the uncertainty, there are certain things that scientists have learned about COVID-19, including:

  1. Infected people who never have symptoms (asymptomatic) and infected people who are not showing symptoms yet (presymptomatic) can spread the virus to others.
  2. Respiratory droplets containing the virus are exhaled from infected individuals when they cough, sneeze, sing, talk, and breathe, this is a major way the virus spreads to others.
  3. Face masks reduce the amount of respiratory droplets that circulate in the air and infect other people.

The fact that asymptomatic or presymptomatic individuals can “unseeingly” spread the virus to others is, in itself, an excellent reason to wear a face mask “by faith.”  Matt says that it is part of our Christian duty to “love our neighbors” to not unknowingly spread a disease to them.  Part of a Christian walk by faith includes times of “light momentary affliction” (1 Cor. 4:17-18) which would certainly include any inconvenience or discomfort we might have by wearing a mask. Matt cites “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. -Philippians 2:4” which I believe is a valid application of the Scripture passage as he goes on to note:

While I am not personally in an at-risk category, I don’t wear the face mask for me. I wear it for the 13 million Americans over 65 that live in multigenerational households who can’t just “cocoon away” while the rest of the population gets herd immunity, or for those that have or live with those asthma, chronic heart disease, diabetes, cancer diagnosed in the last year, hematological malignancies like leukemia and lymphoma, or had an organ transplant and more. What if my wearing a mask could have saved the life of a single mother of six who beat breast cancer? Scripture testifies to God’s special compassion for those that are the most vulnerable, for the poor or widows, or the foreigner in the land, and this is a small way that we look out for them, or metaphorically “leave our grain for the fatherless, the widow and the foreigner” (Deuteronomy 24:19).

Of course, I am in complete agreement with Matt here.  I think most of here at Imonk would also be in agreement.  I am posting this in the (vain) hope that any contrarian might take a second look at their position and reconsider, especially if they profess Christ, that it would be a loving act of faith to wear a mask in their public outings.  Please… please… I’ll let Matt have the last word:

For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control. -2 Timothy 1:7

This is not a time to be afraid, but a time to confidently put our trust in what science has learned about God’s creation. It is a time to be examples and blessings to our community, as one West Virginia church spent Easter making masks and other personal protective equipment for healthcare providers. And even when it is uncomfortable, I ask myself at the end of the day, would I be okay if I accidentally got a third of my church sick with several people dying due to my “comfort” and my “allergies?” Wearing a face mask is a great way to love your neighbor as yourself and to set an example for others to follow, even if you have to use a little faith.

Comments

  1. Robert F says

    Wearing a mask is an act of compassion and of Christian love for the vulnerable. It’s to protect others who are weaker and, as pointed out in the post, cannot cocoon themselves away from the world, either because they live in multi-generational households, or — like my wife and myself — don’t have the means to live without engaging in the economic world despite being in one or more of the high-risk groups. Sadly, as things are reopening in the states, and cases are on a dramatic upswing in many places, numerous churches have been traced to recent outbreaks, some of them large. Two-hundred plus recent cases in Oregon have been traced to a single church in a rural area of the state. Spending a prolonged amount of time in an enclosed, poorly ventilated area with a large group of people, even if they are physical distancing and wearing masks, is putting yourself and others at high risk; and if congregational/choral singing is involved, you now have a super-spreader scenario. Yet these are the things that many churches have started doing over the last weeks, and we’re starting to see the fruits of that irresponsibility. The church above all institutions should put high value on protecting the weak and vulnerable at any time; yet many churches are failing miserably to live up to the big words they have routinely used in the past about the value of every human life, including the weak and vulnerable, words churches have used to critique the values of what they’ve called the secular “culture of death.” Now it sounds like just so much hypocrisy.

    • Robert F says

      And it’s not just congregational/choral singing that is high risk. Group recitation — that is, many people talking out loud at normal or above normal volume — is also high risk. The church I mentioned in the comment above at the center of a huge outbreak in Oregon is Pentecostal — that often means many people speaking “in tongues” together in loud voices, glossolalia, and that would definitely be a super spreader practice.

  2. Robert F says

    Sadly, Mike, I think that love of neighbor is not foremost in the minds of many American Christians when it comes to the wearing of masks or any other practice meant to curb the spread of coronavirus. It’s about the very American attachment to rights, as in, “I’ve got my rights!” Mix that with the distrust of government among many American Christians, and the distrust of expert guidance and advice, and you end up with the wacky idea that a requirement or even expectation that people should wear masks in public to protect their neighbors is tyrannical or oppressive, a suppression of “My rights!”, particularly “My faith!” Love of neighbor is left in the lurch, “rights” come out on top. Very American, not very Christian.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Like I said below, the top County Health offical in my county had to resign because of a flurry of Death Threats when she issued a mandatory mask order. Her successor immediately rescinded the order, repeating the usual “strongly suggest”.

      “NO GUBMINT’S GONNA TELL ME WHAT TO DO! FREEDOM!!!

      Mask use in this county (from what I see when I go outside) is 50% at best.

      “I THOUGHT I GREW UP IN A FREE COUNTRY! FREEDOM!!!

      As well as raised eyebrows and smug “Hmmmmmmm…”s about every COVID-19 news, i.e. LIbrul Media Lies and Fake News.

      • It’s hitting rural Alabama right now just because of such irresponsible leadership, and irresponsible citizenship. My own Democratic governor in PA has taken a more careful approach — yet not careful enough as far as I’m concerned! — and is under threat of impeachment by the predominately Republican legislature for doing so.

        • “I have sometimes wondered if they cherished a vested interest in disorder – but that is unlikely; adults almost always act from conscious ‘highest motives’ no matter what their behavior.” Lt. Col. Dubois (ret.), MI, *Starship Troopers*

          • What is happening now makes plain that many conservative American Christians are fully okay with “The Culture of Death”, which they hitherto have criticized liberal secularists for. Terry Schiavo and others like her were just politically expedient tools for them.

            • It would appear that it all depends on who is getting thrown overboard, and who is doing the throwing.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                And it comes down to “better be the tribe running the camps than the tribe getting sent up the chimneys.” Zero-Sum Us or Them, with or without Bible-verse Justification.

            • Michael Z says

              The concept of fighting the “culture of death” has *always* been a liberal one (coined back in the days when most pro-life activists were either Catholic or far-left liberals, and there were far more pro-life Democrats than Republicans). Even after they embraced the anti-abortion part of the pro-life agenda, conservatives as a whole have *never* been on board with the rest of it. So it makes no sense to criticize conservatives for not being consistently pro-life, because they *never* deserved to claim that identity in the first place.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        At least most businesses and public venues here are posting “No Mask, No Go In”.

        So you only have to worry about the “I thought this was a Free Country! Don’t Tread On Me!” types on the street outside..

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          After I wrote that, the Governor issued a state-level mask order.

          So much for MAGA Karen from Ventura…

      • I say if they don’t put on a mask and end up getting COVID, then I suggest hospitals should not treat them.

        What is sad is that other forum you frequent with initials beginning in W is very chummy with another site of a so-called pastor who loves to spew conspiracy theories and play the I am defending against the bullies card. Most of that other site’s Kool-Aid drinking followers seem to buy into it. I think if any non-OK residents go to that rally of Trump’s, the other states should enforce a mandatory quarentine of all who attend. No sense bringing all that pestilence and death to their state.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          “So-called pastor” as in Wade Burleson?
          I’ve occasionally read his blog and get the same vibe I did from Calvary Chapel — nothing I could put my finger on, but a general aura of something wrong.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy,

            That’s the one. The sad thing is that I am actually quite conservative in my view of Scriptures and theology and a principled conservative (with a pretty wide Libertarian streak) in my politics. But I try to be consistent and will call BS regardless if TEAM RED or TEAM BLUE does it. Which is why I despise Trump and his band of Kool-Aid drinkers and why I am in the political wilderness

            That being said, my education, professional experience, and background is in engineering. So I have major problems when non-STEM people like WB push conspiracies and nonsense about Nikola Tesla and Einstein’s Laws of Relativity.

            Silly me. I thought God was a God of Truth and not a hypocrite (which is why Jesus went postal on the money-changers and the pharisees).

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              I was STEM long before anyone coined the term. Comes from being a Golden Age SF fan since I was 14. With a long-standing interest in various Fringe Subjects (ghost stories, cryptids, UFOlogy, other “Weird Sh*t”).

              • And you like Science Fiction to boot and do the various SF cons. Makes you okay in my book.

    • I think this is a result of preaching and teaching. In the evangelical churches of my 30+ years of experience, the emphasis was always on the epistles, mainly Paul, and always about personal salvation or personal piety. Very little emphasis on corporate Christianity, which is ironic because Paul is ALL ABOUT corporate Christianity – his ethics are all about living in community as the people of God.

      But there was very little emphasis on the gospels, except for John. The divine Jesus who directs all attention to heaven is always popular. By neglecting the synoptics, the ethics of Jesus are neglected (conveniently?). The Sermon on the Mount is almost entirely about interpersonal relations, and a key concept is ‘giving up your rights’. In the first-century culture of honor and shame, Jesus’ words about turning the other cheek would have been shocking to say the least (in that culture a response was MANDATORY to maintain one’s honor, and that of one’s family). And the idea of loving one’s enemies would be just as scandalous.

      When you combine American individualism and a ‘my rights’ mentality with a neglect of Jesus’ teachings (and through in some escapist Dispensationalism) it’s not surprising that you come up with something that looks and sounds very little like Jesus despite claiming his name. Lord help us!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        The divine Jesus who directs all attention to heaven is always popular.

        “This World is NOT My Home; I’m Just Passin’ Thru.”

        (and throw in some escapist Dispensationalism)

        “Christ Is Coming Soon (any minute now) and It’s All Gonna Burn!”
        “When the Rapture comes, I wanna be in a skyscraper so I don’t have as far to Ascend!”

        The Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation is as Selfish as anything Ayn Rand could dream up.

  3. On the face of it, the arguments for masks are pretty bloody obvious. The fact that they aren’t for so many people is a sad commentary on where we are, both as a country and in the church.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Yep.

      It is so sad one even needs to have this conversation.

      I thought so many Housing “debates” were deeply ignorant, and then came COVID19…. new depths.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Remember “JESUS IS MY VACCINE” on that truck in Harrisburg?

      And the “I AM PROTECTED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS/HOLY SPIRIT!”?

      The dick-swinging editorial in First Things?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        And notice that even Professor Pevarnik had to justify his point by Bible-Verse Proof Texts.

        I am waiting for going maskless and COVID-19 denial to become the next Litmus Test of Salvation.

      • All of which distressingly reminds me of the second temptation of Christ (“Throw Yourself off of the temple wall – will not God send His angels to catch You?”)

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Never underestimate the arrogant entitlement of God’s Special Pets.

          In 2016 Evangelicals showed everyone they were suckers for the Third Temptation (“all the kingdoms of the world I will deliver unto you”, i.e. Political POWER); why not the Second?

      • My wife contacted a musical colleague and friend via email a few days ago, a young woman with a host of chronic health conditions. My wife said the prospect of going back to church (our church has not reopened yet) was frightening; her friend (whose church reopened two weeks ago, the reopening of which the friend and her husband attended) said, well, yes, it is scary, but just have faith and God will protect you.

        • To which I would reply, “Where is that written?”

          • Her friend’s response didn’t surprise me. The woman — who is otherwise a very nice, and talented, person — is deeply invested in evangelical Deep Faith mentality. I just hope the risks she’s taking don’t turn out as badly as they easily could. She is definitely someone who should be continuing to quarantine as much as possible — attending religious services is an unnecessary high risk behavior for people like her.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          yes, it is scary, but just have faith and God will protect you.

          And if you come down with COVID, that’s ALL because you didn’t have enough FAITH FAITH FAITH.

          Cue the “More FAITHful Than Thou” One-Upmanship from those who “haven’t been caught”.

          • Sounds like all that Name-And-Claim-It BS right out the heretical Prosperity Gospel.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              What do you mean “like”?
              It IS the exact same pattern as the Prosperity Gospel.
              And it appeals to those who find the reality around them spiraling out of (their) control.
              A form of using Magick and Superstition in a Displacement Behavior to regain some semblance of control.

              “What are you doing?”
              “I’m making pudding. Because I’ve lost control of my life.”

  4. Burro (Mule) says

    Grumpy politics be damned. I haven’t found a mask yet that doesn’t fog up my glasses when I put it on, except the one my parish gave me at Divine Liturgy. I’m still looking for it.

    • It has less to do with politics than physics. Your mask isn’t tight enough. Try washing your lenses with soapy water and a damp cloth. Shake off the excess moisture and let them dry naturally. It creates a thin film on the lenses that will prevent the fogging. DON”T do that if you have glasses with some kind of special lenses of course.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        +1

        This is how one avoided fogging on a windshield back before defroster fans – think Model- T/ Model A

      • I’ve also heard spraying your lenses with shaving cream and wiping it off without rinsing will also do the trick.

    • Burro,

      You can also buy in stores or online anti-fog spray to apply to the glasses. It is similar to the ones for mirrors and windshields.

  5. Michael Z says

    It’s all part of the phenomenon of the “vanishing American adult.” The adult world places so many burdens and expectations on people – especially during a pandemic – that people intentionally flee to childish behavior in order to signal to the rest of the world, “I’m not ready for adulthood; don’t place those responsibilities on me.” When the “adults” in our society – the experts and leaders who know what they’re talking about – tell people to make small sacrifices to protect others, the childish response is, “Nuh-uh, you can’t make me.”

    It’s not a sign of fearlessness – if anything, it’s a shallow bravado cloaking a deep-seated fear, insecurity, and fragility.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Defiance Culture

      I ascribe it principally to the other pandemic: lack of Leadership, everywhere.

      • Leadership also implies that there are folks willing to follow. Moses was a great leader – but the people of Israel were lousy followers.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Defiance Culture

        Like the G.I.Joe cosplayers with the Tacticool-blinged AR15s on the steps of the Michigan capitol.
        The ones who got invited inside by the Republican assemblymen/senators.

        “We have millions of assault rifles and billions or rounds of ammunition. They can’t even decide what bathroom to use. BRING IT ON!”

        • But you know full well all those cosplaying posers will run away like scared little girls when The ***t Gets Real.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            The biggest braggers (Spiritual or Temporal) are usually the first to fold.

      • Defiance Culture. That’s an excellent description of the current phenomenon. It’s a shame that so many American Christians have embraced is as an element of faith.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Here’s something I just heard on morning drive-time radio:

        National No Mask Day (this coming Saturday), apparently going viral like another Eat Tide Pod Challenge:
        https://www.facebook.com/events/298818127919915/
        From the Facebook account of a real group called “CT Liberty Rally”:
        https://www.ctlibertyrally.org/
        “FREEDOM!!!!!”

    • In my county, only about half of people contacted by phone are responding to contact tracing for COVID-19 exposure.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      It’s all part of the phenomenon of the “vanishing American adult.” The adult world places so many burdens and expectations on people – especially during a pandemic – that people intentionally flee to childish behavior…

      I am so F’in sick of Always Having to be The Grown-Up.

      Always “It’s YOUR Responsibility!” while everyone else skips around carefree Tra La La La La La La La.

      It’s like when I was fast-tracked in Middle & High School, stuck inside every afternoon/evening with four-plus hours of homework while all the other kids were out playing.

      • Well we do have a 70 year old toddler in the White House and I can prove it:

        ‘if we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases’ of the coronavirus” Trump said recently. IOW, if we don’t see the cases in the tests, then the disease is not there. This indicates a problem with the concept of object permanence, something that children over the age of two comprehend.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          ‘if we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases’ of the coronavirus” Trump said recently.

          Which immediately went viral as Infallible Inerrant SCRIPTURE(TM)!

          Somebody really needs to compile a “The Book of Trump” Tweets and sound bites as proof texts, bound in black leather and organized by Chapter and Verse. (Chronological order would be OK; shows how disorganized said Book really is.) Don’t know who it would sell better to — those who appreciate the joke or those who WILL quote verses from it for serious.

  6. I work part time in a public library that encourages masks for patrons but does not require it. All staff are required to wear one. Our governor (Indiana) is forging ahead on reopening with minimal restrictions. A patron came in a few days ago and stated that he did not need to wear a mask because since the governor opened things up, COVID is obviously gone!
    My son lives in AZ where the governor did not follow his own guidelines for reopening things, reopened early so people could celebrate Memorial Day, and now the numbers are skyrocketing up, up, up. The governor has basically said, “Oh well! COVID’s not going away so we need to learn to live with it. Commerce!”
    I haven’t returned to services at my own church because even though they are limiting the number of people in the building and sanitizing between services, they are only suggesting masks, not requiring. Until masks are required, I stay home.
    I am fully aware that this pandemic has caused a huge economic hit and has impacted churches in ways they never imagined, but until politicians & Christian leaders demand people wear masks because the point is to PROTECT OTHERS, most of people won’t wear them. I need only visit my local grocery store on any given afternoon to know that for a great many people, protecting the lives of their fellow man is not a high priority.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      My son lives in AZ where the governor did not follow his own guidelines for reopening things, reopened early so people could celebrate Memorial Day, and now the numbers are skyrocketing up, up, up.

      And when you try to tell people that, I get the “All Fake News!. Librul Media Lies! Librul Media HOAX! Just because they hate Trump! Because Trump Is RIGHT and They are WRONG!” reaction.

      I’m about ready to go into a COVID-19 ward and have them cough coronavirus in my face just to get it over with.

    • Rick Ro. says

      I know some folks who fled the “draconian” lockdown of Washington state to the “open” Arizona. I wonder what they think of being down there now that cases have spiked? Heck, maybe they’re still fine with it, as some folks are okay with the virus playing out under less stringent precautions.

      Crazy world we’re living in right now.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Up until COVID, I was planning to retire to Northern Arizona (NOT Phoenix or Tucson). Can’t afford the cost, taxes, or craziness of the Left Coast.

  7. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    News from Professor Pevarnik’s own county:
    Masks are NOT mandatory, only “strongly suggested” (and “strongly strongly suggested”).
    The County Healrth Director who tried to issus a mandatory mask order had to resign because of a flurry of death threats:
    “NO GUBMINT GONNA TELL ME WHAT TO DO! FREEDOM!

    And as I’m listening to morning drive-time radio (in the same county), there’s a commercial that starts with “Coronavirus tells you how fast They can take your freedoms away!” before launching into an Armageddon sales pitch for “GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD!”

    And this has been making the rounds on viral videos.
    From a Ventura County city council or county supervisors’ meeting, two counties up the coast:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1nDeFsp3rU

    • Christiane says

      “NO GUBMINT GONNA TELL ME WHAT TO DO! FREEDOM!”

      Headless, it is even worse when you know peoples’ ministers are preaching this to their flocks, but I guess it is some kind of ‘loyalty test’ to the ‘anointed one’ who sits in his re-enforced bunker, formerly known as the nation’s White House.

      goodness, the LOOKS people give each other for wearing masks or not wearing masks in the grocery store . . . what a visual of a divided society is that strange sight

      • Robert F says

        When I see someone who’s not wearing a mask in a store, I stick my tongue out at them. Oddly, they never seem to get upset — or even notice!

  8. Norma Cenva says

    I’m wondering if it (mask wearing) even has to have a ‘faith’ component.
    How about just plain old ordinary common sense?

    • And how about just plain old ordinary nonsectarian compassion?

    • In times like these, exercising common sense IS an act of faith. :-/

      • Christiane says

        it’s an act of love. . . . of ‘loving-kindness’, the kind of love that wants to prevent harm to others, the kind of love that is lived intentionally, unselfishly for the sake of ‘the other’

        it is a ‘kindness’ in a time of suffering

    • Or how about just plain old ordinary respect for other human beings?

      I tell people who say that I don’t need to wear a mask that I’m doing it out of respect for them, to lower the odds that I might make them sick.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Follow it up with “can’t you show me the same respect and do the same for me?”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      How about just plain old ordinary common sense?

      Already anticipated you, Norma:

      “The Wisdom of God is Foolishness to man.”
      “‘Science’ Falsely so-called or THE WORD OF GOD!”

      “Holy Nincompoop Syndrome” an inversion of the above two Verses where the more stupid and ignorant you are, the more Godly you are.

  9. I live in a deep red county of California, and mask wearers are in a small minority most places here. It’s also an overwhelmingly conservative Christian region, with a church on almost every corner.

    For me, this is yet another reminder that current conservative evangelicalism often has little to do with actually following the guidance God gives us in Scripture about how to live and love our neighbors. It’s been co-opted by conservative America and an opportunistic, selfish agenda.

    We have a second home in a different California county. Blue politically and probably a place most evangelicals would consider liberal and pagan. There, almost everyone wears a mask, and the localities have mandated doing so in all business establishments. Also, people are generally more respectful and careful about distancing etc.

    My employer in this red county mandated that employees return to our large office building to work on site in early June. Even those who could continue doing their jobs remotely. Less than two weeks after they did that, three employees tested positive, but they have not changed anything as a result. That employer is full of “good christian” people in management. It’s clear to me that they are more interested in control than in actually keeping employees as safe as possible. I am a high risk individual and was able to continue working from home after my good doctor sent a strongly worded letter, but I worry greatly for my colleagues, especially several who care for and/or live with elderly parents. And I find the actions of my employer not only unchristian, but really unconscionable.
    I still may have to quit my job and retire much earlier than I wanted if they try to me back on site when it’s not safe.

    I left evangelicalism almost 10 years ago now and this whole thing is yet another confirmation that I did the right thing to preserve my sanity and some kind of actual faith.

    • If the Christians in this country keep it up, they will be widely accused by modern day “pagans”/secularists of hating life and loving death, as the ancient Romans said of Christians —- and they will be right.

      • At least the Roman Christians showed care and compassion for plague victims in their time.

        • The Romans were wrong, but the modern “pagans” will be right.

        • Christiane says

          they did show compassion for the sick . . . almost 90 percent of the Church’s clergy and monks and nuns perished from the plague because they cared for the sick and the dying

    • “I left evangelicalism almost 10 years ago now and this whole thing is yet another confirmation that I did the right thing to preserve my sanity and some kind of actual faith.”

      I’m afraid that has been my experience as well. During the winter we attend a progressive church (mostly made up of evangelicals who also through in the towel). But the difference in that church is that I actually hear the voice of Jesus! It’s amazing. 30+ years in evangelical churches and I never heard the voice of Jesus from the pulpit or in teaching. I did hear and see a lot of triumphalism and flag waving, with a good dose of ‘we are better than them’.

      When we don’t go to church (in the summer) we spend a lot of time at the lake hanging out with ‘heathens’. Those are the people we were warned about all those years – baby-killers, drunkards, adulterers, and worst of all – Democrats! (though most around here aren’t). But we have found that we have made friends far easier than we ever did in church, and by-and-large these folks are more generous, gracious, open-minded, helpful, and kind than most of the people we knew in churches for all those years. What’s wrong with this picture?

      • I’ve had the same experience here as well. From this vantage point, God’s judgment on the American church seems obvious, but those still within seem blind.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        What’s wrong with this picture?

        Too many Christians are “Over-Saved”.

  10. Robert F says

    One person came up to me and asked me if I was afraid, to which I promptly replied that I wasn’t.

    Because something as human as fear is not acceptable to those who have Deep Faith, and it shouldn’t be to you either, not if you’re Saved. But maybe you don’t really know Jesus as your Savior….

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      And thus Righteous Coup is counted.
      “I’M SAVED! YOU’RE NOT!! HAVE FUN IN ETERNAL HELL!!! HAW!!! HAW!!! HAW!!!”

      (I know you did that as a joke comment, Robert F, but it echoes too many True Believers out there who are dead serious. And into Salvation as a Zero-Sum Game.)

      • Robert F says

        Apparently in many American Christian churches, weakness is not allowed, and fear exists only to shame other Christians for having. The reflexive way Pevarnik reacts to the accusation of being afraid is very sad, and speaks to the amount of shaming that must be going on in Christian subculture.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Accuse your Accusers in advance.
          Virtue Signal your Loyalty and Correctness.
          A reflex familiar to anyone who came out from under a Totalitarian Dictatorship.

  11. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Well, that seems to be mostly good news, except I am concerned that too many of the Republican contrarians are evangelicals who are like the church people Matt cited above who think wearing a mask is a lack of faith and is giving into fear.

    Since evangelical “church people” are now as thoroughly Political(TM) as anything in the old USSR…
    To where Jesus Christ is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the GOP (itself now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Trump Inc)…
    Do you expect anything other than the likes of Ventura’s Anti-Mask Uber-Karen?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1nDeFsp3rU

  12. Why is wearing a mask a sign of a lack of faith, but washing one’s hands after using the WC, or covering one’s mouth when one sneezes, or brushing one’s teeth to prevent dental problems are not?

    It’s the sheer arbitrariness of such attitudes that strikes me most.

    • “…problems _is_ not”

      I hereby throw a grammar flag on myself.

      • Christiane says

        when I taught ‘writing’ to young teens, It wasn’t told to them to look for their grammar mistakes first, no;

        instead, I told them to look at what they had written and find ‘their golden lines’ . . .

    • Rick Ro. says

      Love your comment. It’s a problem Bible literalists have in general, actually. “The Bible is the truth and I follow it to a T (except when it doesn’t really suit me.)”

  13. Robert F says

    The more I learn, the more I see that a “mild” case of COVID-19 is not a mild case of flu. The aftereffects linger in many of the “mild” cases for months, and cause chronic health issues that never existed before in others. A healthy dose of fear and avoidance of novel coronavirus is not a sign of weakness of faith or anything else, but a God-given, life preserving instinct.

  14. https://www.politico.com/states/california/story/2020/06/18/california-requires-masks-statewide-in-bid-to-slow-coronavirus-spread-1293691

    In Wa,Or. and Ca. where basic laws are not enforced every day how will this law be enforced and by who? So will this lead to wide spread non compliance by many or will they be wide spread observance of the law? If there is a protest and some of the protesters are not wearing mask will they be fined or what. I do not think this is a faith based issue but one of personal conviction on role of gov. I would guess many libertarians in Ca. will be in a tough spot . Again , can this be enforced without the cooperation of a majority of the businesses who could refuse service to those without a mask.

    • Rick Ro. says

      I think you missed the point of the article, which concludes with:

      “I am posting this in the (vain) hope that any contrarian might take a second look at their position and reconsider, especially if they profess Christ, that it would be a loving act of faith to wear a mask in their public outings.”

      This isn’t really about what’s required or even enforceable, it’s about doing what is right for the sake of others, or at least not claiming those who wear masks are “fearful.”

      I wear my mask out of respect for others, not out of fear.

      And clearly no one thinks anything is enforceable from a “law” standpoint; at least, I haven’t read any of that here at IMonk nor in WA state.

      • Robert F says

        When I see someone without a mask in public, I try not to automatically assume that they don’t care about my life or that of other vulnerable people around them. It’s possible that they have a health condition that prevents them from wearing one. When I see someone or hear of someone who is aggressively anti-mask, I know that they don’t care.

      • “no one thinks anything is enforceable from a “law” standpoint”

        Not unless we want to go the Wuhan route (doors to apartment buildings welded shut, streets patrolled by camera drones harassing unmasked people, ad inf.).

        • Robert F says

          I didn’t know until I checked out the link that dan included how bad things were getting in CA. I thought they had succeeded in dodging the bullet, unlike NYC, but things are going bad quickly now. In truth it doesn’t seem like they got past the first wave. Bad bad stuff.

      • Eeyore, Of course the main thrust of the article was about those who do not wear mask with a emphasis on Christians. If California is having a problem with a large number of people not wearing mask I assume that it is not a faith based or religious issue based on the demographics of California, As the overwhelming comments here are showing most people are wearing masks for medical and social concern reasons. If the Governor feels he must give some legal enforcement force to California society, it would seem to me, a lot of secular people are not wearing a mask. I do not see where many people are making this a faith based issue. That is why I found the decision by the Governor to be note worthy. Personally, I think it was the right call, even though in reality it as others have noted just gives legal cover to businesses and local gov to enforce mask wearing.

        • Rick Ro. says

          Again, you’re missing the point. This is not about why secular people are or are not wearing masks, this is about why evangelicals do or do not wear masks, and the verbiage some evangelicals use in declaring their right NOT to wear them.

          • Rick Ro. Ok, Ok, I will stick with the very narrow focus of the article and most comments and agree, the crazy evangelicals are using their faith and deciding not to wear a mask. That is wrong or stupid or whatever. Ok, I get the point. So to carry the point a little further why are secular people in California for example deciding not to wear a mask? I thought it was a relevant question that may be allowed as it was not strictly on point but close to the very sacred point that must be adhered to. I guess Mike G. comments about having hope that any contrarian might take a second look at their position especially those professing Christ threw me off the fabled point. So throwing Mike the G under the bus and I am blaming Mike the G Man for making me miss the point as my feeble mind wanders easily from the point. I guess I am at the point of no return. The crazy evangelicals are using these in place of their customary snake handling. Got the point

            • Robert F says

              The crazy evangelicals are using these in place of their customary snake handling.

              Or in place of Kool-Aid…

            • Rick Ro. says

              There are many scriptures and articles written specifically to the Christian believer. This is one of those.

              What is your opinion of wearing masks, Dan? Are you in favor of them? Opposed? What are your reasons for yes or no?

              • He does seem eager to shift the conversation away from the Christian reasons to wear masks, doesn’t he?

              • You Guys, my comments at 6.11 , I support Newsom actions on mask requirement. I wear a mask in public, I think it is a good idea so others feel safe from me. Evangelicals are 16 million out of 320 million. If the evangelicals are not wearing masks and doing so because of their faith that is on them , if they are willing to face the consequences personally , legally and morally. . My point which was off the point of course, is why the people in California , of all places, have a problem with wearing a mask. They are in the same place as the crazy evangelicals but for a different reason which is ?. Sorry, again I missed the point but my mask is weakening my oxygen intake..

                • Rick Ro. says

                  An early comment akin to, “I see the issue Mike the Geo is raising regarding Christians, I wonder why liberal folks like those in CA aren’t wearing masks either” might have avoided a lot of awkward back and forth…. lol.

                  • Rick Ro. Sometimes the back and forth is good for all of us. Wish some anti mask people were here to explain their decision. There may a valid reason for not wearing a mask but I cannot think of one that holds water, which I guess is a bad description.

                • ” Evangelicals are 16 million out of 320 million.”

                  Evangelicals are a lot more than 16 million. The SBC alone claims 14 million. Pew Research says 25% of Americans claim to be evangelicals, which would be about 80 million people.

                  Just think of the impact if those 80 million people started acting like Jesus and loving their neighbor (not to mention their enemies), caring for the poor, refugees, strangers, and what not.

    • Robert F says

      The requirement allows stores with force of law to refuse entry and service to those without masks.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Which has been going on with a LOT of reopened businesses in my “only strongly suggest” county.

        NO MASK, NO COME IN.

  15. Robert F says

    Here’s a new wrinkle! Trump tells the Wall Street Journal that some Americans wear masks, not to deter virus spread, but to “signal disapproval of him.” If you wear masks, you’re either a coward, or a traitor! LOL!!

    • Rick Ro. says

      Well, since some people do NOT wear masks because they think the whole thing is a liberal conspiracy to oust him, this is not too surprising.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Trump tells the Wall Street Journal that some Americans wear masks, not to deter virus spread, but to “signal disapproval of him.”

      Sounds like that one ManaGAWD who bragged that Satan personally targeted him.

      In the words of the prophet Trent Reznor:
      “There is no You!
      There is only ME!
      There is no You!
      There is only ME!
      There is NO F’in YOU!
      THERE IS ONLY MEEEEEE!”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Or:

        “You’re so Vain,
        You prob’ly think my mask is about You…”

        • Though I appreciate the effort, but unfortunately Carly Simon wins hands down as the better signer.

          But you do get added points for the creative lyrical mash-up. 😀

  16. Michael Z says

    Here’s another way to think about the mask issue: so far, the virus has disproportionately affected people of color. You can’t bring back the dead, so the only way to even out the racial disparities would be if a whole bunch of white people volunteered to let the virus kill them and their families. From that perspective, the death-cult worshipers of the orange-skinned one are doing much more for the cause of equity and justice than any liberal mask-wearer…

    • Christiane says

      there is some very sad truth in what you write,

      but it is always in such cases, the ones who are most vulnerable who suffer most, and we cannot rejoice in that suffering, as they, in their vulnerability, trusted and relied on the ones who led them into peril

      • Robert F says

        As coronavirus starts spiking in rural areas, “orange-skinned one” supporter country, it will spread rapidly among poor migrant workers, almost all of them people of color, who are among the “most vulnerable.” The poorest and most disadvantaged will always be the ones who suffer the most from contagious diseases like this one.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “Think of it as Evolution in Action.”
      — Darwin Awards (remember them?)

  17. When this rally is covered live we will see the Pale Horse of Pestilence as part of the halftime show.

    Then afterwards, it will segway over to Monty Python:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcbR1J_4ICg

  18. Mike the Geologist,

    Being a bit of a technical sort of fellow, I thought you might find this interesting.

    https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-drifts-through-the-air-in-microscopic-droplets-heres-the-science-of-infectious-aerosols-136663