During the COVID-19 crisis, many biblical Christians have been resistant to the ethics and legal guidelines dictating mask wearing, “sheltering at home” (euphemism for virtual house self-arrest), and (anti-)social distancing, even if the reluctance is more intuitive than reasoned. In this brief post, which lays out a Christian worldview response to these COVID-19 edicts, I aim to show how this resistance is entirely justified.
As a rule we as Christians should be willing to engage in any charitable act. The question is how is charity best expressed in particular historical situations?
The implicit Christian demand for mask-wearing in the present climate on the basis of charity would seem to fall into what Paul refers to as sentiment of a weaker brother (Rom. 14). In other words, it is: “I’ll show my love to you by wearing a mask.” Or, “Please show you love me by wearing a mask.” Those who make abstemious requirements not outlined in the Bible and whose consciences are wounded by other Christians who violate those non-biblical requirements are what Paul would designate weaker Christians.
Note carefully that I am making no pronouncement on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of masks, nor arguing whether church leaders should or should not obey all political directives, a topic I addressed in the article linked above. Here I am solely addressing the issue of the expression of Christian charity as it relates to masks.
I infer Paul’s meaning that in individual cases, one should forego his God-granted liberty (e.g., wear a mask to avoid offending an individual person). But allowing the weaker brothers and sisters to re-orient the entire church because of their scruples is something Paul makes very clear should not happen (v. 1). The issue pressed by the weaker Christian must not be permitted to divide the church, nor may church leaders demand the church adjust its entire practice down to the level of weaker Christians.
Practically this means that if I’m invited to the home of a fellow Christian who urges me to wear a mask during my visit, I must do this. But that same Christian cannot demand his entire congregation to capitulate to his personal scruples, nor may church leaders demand this burden on his behalf.
And then, of course, there is the reverse scenario: those who believe that compulsory mask-wearing is a capitulation to statism. Should we show them charity by not wearing a mask, if it means making us more vulnerable?
Each should be fully persuaded in his own mind (v. 5).
Now that the NFL’s Washington Redskins, shamed by their many-decades’ racial insensitivity, are unveiling their new mascot, it is clear that Major League Baseball cannot avoid the virtuous mascot-toppling that will make our world a safer, kinder, gentler, more understanding place.
In addition to the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves, and the Texas Rangers, these teams must immediately consider mascot modification:
Giants: insensitive to midgets
Mets: insensitive to rural-dwellers
Brewers: insensitive to teetotalers
Twins: insensitive to single-child families
Nationals: insensitive to globalists
Astros: insensitive to agoraphobiacs
Royals: insensitive to commoners
Padres: insensitive to Protestants
Pirates: insensitive to law-abiders
A’s: insensitive to illiterates
Reds: insensitive to Whites, Blacks, and Browns
Yankees: insensitive to the Artist Formerly Known as Dixie Chicks.
The MLB cannot expect a fan base in our new enlightened world if they persist in their callous mascot insensitivities.
During no July 4 of my lifetime have the cultural stakes been as momentous as they are in 2020. The Leftist protests of the late 60s, motivated by the Vietnam War, by Martin Luther King’s colorblind social vision, by the rise of vocal feminism, and by the Sexual Revolution are unforgettable, even to those of us very young at the time.