Thursday, July 9, 2020

Masks Might Be Stupid...But You Are Bound as Christians to Wear Them (If Your Authorities Say So)

I think masks might be stupid. As an American, it seems absolutely contrary to the idea of a free nation that I should be forced to live as some sort of modern-day leper, moving about as though I might infect anyone I come within the magical six-foot radius of contact. There are "experts" that say wearing a mask reduces the transmission of COVID-19. But what we've been told by "experts" seems to contradict what the same "experts" told us previously. As a freedom-loving patriot, I want to reject the tyranny that tells me how I must live my life in such a restrictive fashion.

But before I'm an American, I am a Christian. I'm a person claimed by God in the waters of Holy Baptism, joined to Jesus Christ and redeemed by His holy, precious blood. As a Christian, I am bound to heed the Word of God and live according to the standards It sets forth. That means I have to, at times, set aside what seems good and decent to me as an American. In far too many cases, many of us who consider ourselves to be conservative-minded and liberty-loving have conflated being American with being a Christian. We have equated American democracy with Biblical Christianity, thinking that as Christians we are promised by God that we should have religious liberty and access to all the rights that our Declaration of Independence and Constitution guarantee.

By all means, fight for those things. Speak your mind, go to the ballot box, and strive to elect those who will allow you to pursue "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." I promise you that's how I will go to the polls this year...yes, even if it means voting for the current occupant of the White House.

I'll be the first in line. Being forced by tyrannical politicians to wear a mask seems asinine.  Rather than ordering the distancing and mask-wearing of the healthy, why aren't we ordering the sheltering-at-home of the elderly and immunocompromised? Why are we even considering not letting kids back into schools when the 67,000 members of the American Association of Pediatricians are urging us to resume classroom instruction?

Still, you would have to do some serious interpretive gymnastics to convince me that an order to wear a mask somehow forces you to violate the command we've been given in Acts 5:29, that "we must obey God rather than men." For the past four months, I've been trying to figure out how to strike the balance between those words from Acts and what St. Paul says in Romans 13:

"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. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment." (Romans 13:1-2, ESV)

Gathering together for worship? Can't not do that. We're commanded by God to do so. (Hebrews 10:25)

Singing praises to the Lord? Sorry, Gavin Newsom. (Psalm 96:1-2, Ephesians 5:19)

The only qualification that Holy Scripture gives us regarding the command to being "subject to our authorities" is that we never let the commands given to us by man stand in the way of our obedience to God. While I detest being told by politicians who would rather shut the doors of our churches and steal our tax dollars to fund the murder of the unborn and pay for gender reassignment surgeries how I should live my life from day to day, being told "wear a mask" isn't religious persecution when it's being applied evenly across the board. And it in no way prevents me from "obeying God rather than men."

So I'm wearing my mask. Even if it's stupid. Even if it's "unAmerican." I'm wearing my mask because the Word of God compels me to do so. And the Lord God will work through our matter who wins in matter what party they belong matter what may come.

"He is God's servant for your good." (Romans 13:4a) Even if what he/she tells you that you must do is stupid.

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