This is pretty off-topic, but based on some comments I’ve been getting, I thought it needed to be addressed.
(For instance, a reader on my Facebook page told me I was “submitting to the regime” by wearing a mask, and that it was “the new hijab”.)
That is, uh, not quite how I see it. So, here are a bunch of words about why I wear a mask when I go out in public.
1. It’s currently mandated by my local government
I’m a Christian, as you know, and the Bible says that I’m supposed to obey the government unless the government is asking me to sin.
I definitely do not think that wearing a mask is sinful, so in my mind, this clearly falls under the “obey the government” category.
As a Christian, this alone is enough to make me wear a mask. Even if I thought it was stupid, even if I thought it was unnecessary, I would still wear one because I think the Bible says I should.
So, I could actually just close out this blog post right here.
But I have a little more to say.
2. The government already tells me what to do, in multiple ways
I have seen people basically losing their minds over being asked to wear a mask because they don’t want the government telling them what to do.
Here’s what I think about that:
The government has already assigned me a personal number that they use to keep track of me in multiple ways.
They make me pay taxes.
They make me obey a bazillion laws.
They make me register and educate my children.
A mask is hardly the first or the most intrusive thing they have asked of me; even if I thought it was an overreach, I would feel a little funny protesting this while silently paying taxes, using my social security number, registering my children with the education office, and so on.
It just seems like sort of an odd hill to die on.
3. Wearing a mask is not very hard
No one wears masks for fun, of course.
I don’t love it, and I would way, way rather move through the world with my face uncovered, particularly when I have my glasses on!
And boy, I sure do dislike talking to people through a mask.
But compared with so many other things in life, mask-wearing is not all that difficult.
Medical workers do it all the time (I sure am grateful they sacrifice their personal comfort to keep us safe!), as do fire-fighters and painters and lots of other professionals.
And many professional masks are much worse than what we are being asked to wear.
This is a fairly small sacrifice.
4. I do think masks could be helpful
To be sure, we were getting a lot of mixed messages at the beginning of the pandemic.
But the current wisdom seems to point to it being prudent and helpful to wear a mask, particularly so that we protect the people around us.
I am no medical expert, but I think of it like this: we are always taught to cover our coughs and sneezes, even if it’s just with our hand or our sleeve. The idea is that we can keep our germs from spreading, so it makes sense to me that a mask could help in the same way, even if it’s not hospital-grade PPE.
Also, pre-pandemic, I regularly saw immuno-compromised people (such as cancer patients) wearing masks in public, on their doctor’s orders. If masks did no good or were actually dangerous, I don’t think oncologists would be having their patients wear them.
And I know it’s been a politicized issue, but even top Republicans (including President Trump) are now wearing masks.
5. I want to care for those around me
What I currently read says that mask-wearing is less for my own safety and more for the safety of the people around me.
So, this is not a case of “You do you, boo!”, or, “You make your bed, you can lie in it”. My actions will not affect just me; they will affect those around me.
(Kind of like how if I don’t obey stop signs, that’s going to have some serious negative affects for people around my car.)
I can sacrifice a little bit of my freedom for the good of others. That seems like something Jesus would encourage.
6. I’m not convinced that mask wearing is dangerous
Nothing I’ve read thus far has persuaded me that I am likely to cause harm to myself, a healthy person, by wearing a mask.
If it seems
A) likely that mask-wearing could help the people around me
B) quite unlikely that wearing a mask is going to cause me any harm
then I’ll be over here masking up cheerfully.
(I know some people do have health issues that prevent them from wearing masks. Which is all the more reason for people with no health issues, like me, to wear a mask.)
7. It seems like masks are a path to more freedom
It doesn’t sound like the virus is exactly close to disappearing from the planet, which means that we have to figure out how to live with the virus.
I am happy to wear a mask if it means I am then able to go to physical therapy, go to the dentist, go to the grocery store, go to the library, take Sonia to the fabric store, and so on.
That’s a much better deal than staying home, mask-free.
I know that this could be a contentious topic to discuss in the comments.
But I also know that you are a lovely group of people, and that you all have managed to discuss similarly controversial topics politely.
So, have at it.