"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
So, to wrap up this discussion, to date we have stated that
1. The enactment of "mandates" on the part of governmental officials does not rise to the level of laws made by legislators
2. None of this rises to the level of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which prohibits Congress from enacting laws that would harm the "free exercise" of religion.
3. The use of masks as a means of stopping the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has been questioned by many within the medical community. It may SLOW the spread, but it remains likely that most Americans will, mask or no mask, sooner or later come down with the coronavirus.
4. The enacting of mandates regarding masks has been issued out of a desire to protect the overall U.S. population. Such mandates are not on the level of asking any of us to sin. So why not just comply?
5. We may comply but there is an inherent warning to us in such compliance and that is that we may be stepping onto to a slippery slope of lost rights, of handing over to the state more than it should have.
Best, it seems to me, is to leave the issue of mask wearing to the discretion of the individual. If one believes that by wearing a mask they become safer to themselves and to those around them, then fine, wear a mask. This is, in my mind, similar to saying to a person with co-morbidities, "Come to church if you feel safe, but if you have any concerns at all, please stay home." This is akin to my offering a bowl of ice cream to those that attend the Wednesday night prayer meeting (something I have done numerous times). But if you have a weight problem, are lactose intolerant, or diabetic, then maybe you should simply say, "No thanks" to the offer of ice cream when it is made. It is not up to the person offering the ice cream to know who should or should not take up the offer. That is up to the person to decide. So too, that seems like the best answer to me regarding the wearing of masks.
But then, I am just one person with one opinion. And that is all this is: my personal opinion.
Many people that attend Burning Hearts have now tested positive for the coronavirus. Only one was deemed to be in "critical condition" as a result (and that one is now doing much better). If that one, and those around that one, had all been wearing masks, would it have mattered? Very possibly not as it is believed that person acquired the coronavirus as the result of an outside person doing house cleaning as their home. And as for the others from Burning Hearts who have now had the coronavirus, would the wearing of a mask have prevented them from getting ill? It is impossible to say. Some rarely were wearing a mask while others were very conscientious about it.
Someday this will all be in our past. Don't we wish for that day to arrive?