Thursday, June 25, 2020

God Will Punish Mild Inconvenience

That was the claim made by anti-mask Floridians at a public hearing in Palm Beach County. But honestly, I have a hard time imagining a universe in which God cares very much about something that for most people is just a mild inconvenience. To be clear, I don't have a problem with medical exemptions for people who legitimately have problems wearing masks or other face coverings, but that's a very small percentage of people. There's no way everybody without masks in recent pictures from Florida would qualify.

As Palm Beach County, Florida, battles an alarming spike in coronavirus cases, some speakers at a heated public hearing attacked county commissioners as “communist dictators” who follow “the devil’s laws” as they prepared to vote on a mandate for wearing face masks in public.

During public comments before the unanimous vote in favor of the mask requirement on Tuesday, a majority of speakers opposed the move, according to local news station WPTV. Some of these speakers, as The Daily Beast reports, denied that masks were effective against spreading COVID-19 and accused officials of playing God, violating the Constitution and threatening freedom and lives by imposing the measure.

One speaker threatened to perform a citizen’s arrests on the officials for going “against the freedom of choice.” “Every single one of you that’s obeying the devil’s laws are going to be arrested. And you are going to be arrested for crimes against humanity,” the woman declared.

“Every single one of you has a smirk behind that little mask, but every single one of you are going to get punished by God. You cannot escape God ... not even with the mask or 6 feet.”

A serious question - does anybody really believe that the Christian God of the evangelicals supports "freedom of choice?" Sure, there's a lot of theological debate about the nature of free will, but when you get right down to it you follow the rules or else. Modern evangelicals appear to believe the only rules that count are related to abortion and homosexuality, but still. They uphold the overall basic premise. And there's no rule prohibiting Christians from wearing masks anywhere in the Bible.

So it's profoundly weird to see Christians claiming that God is going to punish anyone who mildly inconveniences them. There's also nothing in scripture that says "thou shalt not mildly inconvenience a Christian." That suggests there's nothing religious about this at all. It's about Poor Oppressed Christians demanding rights for themselves, and getting all upset when nobody recognizes their special status. It's silly.

I'm glad to see nobody in government took this nonsense seriously. We can't be replacing measures that have been shown to be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 with what amounts to faith healing. It just doesn't work.

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