"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." – Romans 13:1
Picking up where we left off last week, as the issue of wearing masks has not become law, the question is whether or not we need to even heed any mandate regarding the wearing of a mask. Whether or not one heeds the enforcement of the mask mandate at a local business may determine whether or not one can do business with that company. But our focus here is strictly on the question/issue of churches and the wearing of masks.
In Lancaster County it is not unusual to, on occasion, pass an Amish buggy. These buggies are not significantly different from what one would have seen 100 years or more ago…with two exceptions. The modern buggies have displayed on the back of their vehicles large triangular-shaped warning signs AND come equipped with battery operated flashing lights that can be seen from both the front and the rear of the buggy.
My guess is that when states first decided to require these two things (the warning sign and the lights) the Amish objected. Nevertheless laws went into effect in a number of states including Pennsylvania mandating their use. And WHY were these laws enacted? Clearly for the good of all: to protect the Amish in their buggies as well as to protect the non-Amish who might, otherwise, have trouble seeing the horses and buggies in the dark. Those governors and state authorities that have mandated the use of masks have given a similar line of reasoning behind their mask orders: they are meant to protect and even save lives. So what is the difference between the laws regarding the Amish buggies and these mandates regarding wearing masks? It seems to me that the only difference is that what is regulating the Amish buggies are LAWS whereas what is currently regulating the use of masks are arbitrary opinions. I say arbitrary because the mere crossing of a state line may mark the difference between two entirely different attitudes about mask wearing (the line between Tennessee and Kentucky being a great example of this). Democrat governors, in general, are far more restrictive than their Republican counterparts – or at least that is what we have been told.
So what is the big deal? Why not just comply? If our wearing of masks can help reduce the spread of the coronavirus why not just wear a mask? Here are two reasons why to question this line of reasoning…
1. From the get-go (March, 2020) we were told that 70-80% of the American public will get the COVID-19 coronavirus no matter what. If that is still the case, then masks, at best, can only SLOW the spread. They will be ineffective in STOPPING the spread or keeping you, or those around you, from coming down with the coronavirus. Even some of the most conscientious mask wearers have contracted COVID-19.
2. There is a much larger issue – recently alluded to by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito – of people giving up their personal rights so quickly and freely to those who would try and make demands upon them. The ASKING of us to wear masks is not asking us to sin. It is certainly not on the same level as some governors have made (thank God our Governor Wolf has not gone down this road) demanding that churches no longer meet, or no longer sing. But if people are so quick and willing to submit to the mandates of people who are not even in a position to enact laws, this does not bode well for our futures. So the concern is that our quickly giving in to mandates about masks is just the first step down a slippery slope that will end in far greater state control over our lives and the life of the church.
Next week we will bring this discussion to a close.