When can we stop wearing masks in public? Judging from the news, a better question is when should we stop wearing masks in public? The answer, of course, is that it depends. I’m going to address my suggested answer to Christians. Others may want to do the same. However, I believe Christians really should take heed to what follows.
That was my opening segment a year and a half ago – June 2020. There was no vaccine yet. Now we have one. However, we also have Omicron. So it’s questionable whether we’re any better off or not. Lots of people are getting sick again. And going to the hospitals, which are filling up again. Deaths from COVID are rising again.
And a huge chunk of the population is refusing to get a vaccine. Apparently new treatments are better than new vaccines? I don’t get that one. If you’re willing to take an experimental treatment after getting sick and possibly dying, why not take a vaccine that hundreds of millions of people have already proven it works and is far safer than not getting vaccinated?
Finally, there’s also the poor countries that can’t get enough vaccines.
Plus – Omicron doesn’t appear to be as strong as previous variants, but is far more infectious. I just saw something on BBC News where they said, in all likelihood, the higher infection rates for Omicron will outweigh the lower severity. The end result will be more deaths from Omicron. It’s especially sad, since getting vaccinated greatly reduces the chances of ending up in the hospital and of dying from Omicron. Hospitalizations and deaths that were very preventable, at least in countries where the vaccine is available.
So – are we any better off? Let’s look at what I wrote last year and see if anything changed since then.
Let me begin to answer my question, when can we stop wearing masks in public, with yet another question.
Are you familiar with the passage below?
22:34-40 pp — Mk 12:28-31
Mt 22:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Mt 22:37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Every Christian really should know this passage. And therefore, every Christian should love our neighbor. And while we’re at it, every Christian should also know that everyone is our neighbor. Are we all good here? Any disagreements? I’m open to getting quotes from the Bible that say the passage in Matthew is no longer in effect.
Why we shouldn’t stop wearing masks in public
Unless you trust politics more than science and more than your powers of observation relating to people you know and things you see around you – then you know that COVID-19 is deadly. Yes, there are people who don’t believe it. But if you know anyone who’s a nurse, doctor, ambulance worker, first responder, Etc. then they can personally tell you – it really is deadly. The whole world isn’t faking a problem with the sole intention of keeping Donald Trump from being reelected.
Sadly, the only thing that’s changed here is that the election Donald Trump is trying for is, possibly, 2024. Somehow, he still thinks he won in 2020. And somehow, lots of people appear to agree. But Trump, and his minions, are actively anti-mandate of any kind. No mask requirements. No vaccine requirements. People continue to get sick, need up in the hospital, and too many end up in their graves.
Who should wear a mask in public?
Next, there’s the question of whether everyone should wear a mask – or only sick people.
First of all, no one really knows for sure they don’t have it. We can have the virus, but not show symptoms. Again – ask anyone you know in that list of people above. Besides that, the tests aren’t even 100% accurate. So even being tested and coming up negative doesn’t truly mean the person isn’t sick. We just don’t know.
This one’s worse now than it was last year. Omicron infects many people that don’t show any symptoms. That’s part of its higher infection rate but lower severity.
Unfortunately, the tests are less accurate, because at the present time they don’t always detect the mutations in Omicron. Therefore, testing is less likely to occur. Therefore, even though symptoms are mild and maybe not even noticed, but people are still being infected. So yes, this is worse.
Second, there’s the weird question of whether the masks only work in one direction. You know – it prevents spreading the virus, but doesn’t protect someone wearing one? Therefore, the false reasoning goes – only sick people need to wear one. As if we even knew who the sick people were.
I don’t know if this is still an issue. However, I often hear people saying things like, “Your rights end where mine begin”, when they don’t want to wear a mask. There’s no way to know if this is arrogance or a false belief that masks don’t actually work the way they do.
But think about this. Yes – think. If the logic was true – it prevents a sick person from spreading the virus, but won’t protect someone who’s not sick – then we’d be told to wear them differently. Get it? If the mask only trapped the virus particle in one direction – then sick people could wear them one way – and healthy people could wear them the opposite way! For instance – with the white and blue ones – maybe the sick people have the blue side out – and the healthy people have the white side out! It’s so easy!
The problem is, that’s not the way they work. It’s not a directional issue. The color of the layer doesn’t affect what that layer does. And besides that – there’s still the question of who’s really sick and who’s really healthy? And does it really matter?
Conclusion – When can we stop wearing masks in public?
Remember the passage at the beginning? The one about loving our neighbor?
Since there’s no way, as we saw, to know who’s sick and who isn’t, the loving thing to do is assume we’re all potentially sick. And since we love our neighbors – all of them – then we wear a mask. We love them, so we don’t want them to get sick and especially don’t want them to die. So we wear a mask.
It’s tempting to think this isn’t an issue for Christians anymore. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard or read about a church violating masking rules for things like a belief that God will protect them. This, although Christians also (supposedly) believe that all good things come from God, knowledge comes from God, and therefore it’s reasonable to believe the vaccines are from God.
Anyway, I think the only reason Christians don’t have issues with this in services is that they turned to the human legal system for relief. However, Given what the Bible says about submitting to rulers, I believe this is a false sense of relief. In fact, a close reading of Isaiah may lead one to learn that God’s not happy when we don’t listen to Him.
On the personal/individual side of things, I see no reason to think Christians have changed their minds. Just from anecdotal evidence, it appears to be just as much of a problem as before. It seems like there’s a God-given right to not wear masks, without even considering whether wearing a mask is the loving thing to do.
The ultimate answer then, at least for Christians and hopefully for everyone, is that we can stop wearing a mask when one of two things happens.
One – we have a working vaccine that available to everyone and the virus is rendered harmless.
Well, we have the vaccine. However, due to various reasons, COVID isn’t going away. But, the refusal of so many to wear masks and/or get vaccines is certainly making COVID worse than it needs to be. Therefore, hospitalizations and deaths are also worse than they need to be.
Two – however, until such time, we should wear, and should want to wear, a mask until it’s OK to not love our neighbor anymore.
To me, it seems that not enough Christians love their neighbor enough. Selfishness abounds.
Of course, it’s never going to be OK for Christians to not love our neighbor anymore, so the only real answer, for us, is to keep wearing the mask until a working vaccine is widely distributed. It’s the Christian thing to do. It’s the loving thing to do. And last I read in the Bible, all Christians should be loving.
So please – wear the mask!
Well, the conclusion hasn’t changed. Well, maybe it has, Get a vaccine and a booster shot/jab.
And maybe the big one – please don’t forget the greatest commandments.
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”