Mandatory Masks, “Shelter at Home,” and (Anti-) Social Distancing: A Christian worldview analysis and a brief theology of the state

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.

Read the rest here.


What About Mask-Wearing as Christian Charity?

My CultureChange e-newsletter “Mandatory Masks, “Shelter at Home,” and (Anti-) Social Distancing: A Christian worldview analysis and a brief theology of the state” raised several valid questions. One of them is whether wearing a mask during COVID-19 as a Christian fulfills our obligation to love our brothers and sisters. We should not insist on our rights, so goes the argument, even if we are correct, but surrender our rights for the sake of fellow believers.

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).


Unaddressed Insensitivity Will Doom MLB Mascots

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.


America’s Exceptional Greatness

In hearing the increasingly pervasive and sometimes hysterical and violent criticism of the United States, it might be helpful to consider the other side of the ledger.

No nation or country in the history of civilization has:

Gotten the gospel of Jesus Christ to more people;

Preserved and perpetuated so much religious liberty;

Devised such a balanced, freedom-protecting, virtue-expecting political system;

Created more prosperity;

Lifted more people out of poverty;

Defended more widely the cause of global freedom;

Spilled more of its own blood in abolishing the evil of slavery;

Fostered more technological, scientific, medical, and health breakthroughs;

Given more inspiration and hope to more liberty-loving people living within tyrannical regimes;

And been more vilified, envied, subverted, and hated by more nations, and by many within its own borders

… than the United States of America.


A July 4 Worldview Clash

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.

Read the rest here.