The Religious Opt Out for Masks (Homeschool Co-op Edition)

Quite literally the opposite of what I argued over a year ago (maybe I should write the sequel “walking by faith and getting a COVID-19 vaccine”), but this is the opt out form for face masks they handed out at a local co-op whose open house I just attended. I don’t really know what to say… What do you think?

Hard to know where to start. :tired_face: :mask:

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Actually, I would love to pair this side-by-side with an evangelical dress code that explains why women need to cover their shoulders and other hemline policing and then try to make the two logically cohere… it would probably explode.

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Speaking of dress codes, this is good:

The school board of the Paris Independent School District in Paris, Texas, made headlines this week when it voted to include masks in its dress code, sidestepping an executive order by the governor that said no government entity, including school districts, could require masks.

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The best thing to do is not to start. Interestingly, I did find the language in parts reminiscent of the tobacco lobby talking about lung cancer. Other lines I can link to a specific, cherry-picked study with data taken out of context. But hey, at least I agree Christians shouldn’t communicate false messages.

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I still can’t tell what this “false message” is. We don’t want people to think we’re afraid? People have been very clear, the message that not following health guidelines sends is “I don’t care about others.” What True principle does that communicate? They have a lot of research to share if they strongly believe that the pandemic is just fearmongering. Maybe they’d find compromise with a mask that says “fear not for I will be with you.”

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Some thoughts-
Can the school administration or whomever is responsible request proof that their conclusions are truly supported by research? For their more subjective concerns, are they able to demonstrate in good faith that they are not seeking preferential treatment, such as being supportive of school regulations and programs that allow the expression of others’ beliefs and preferences? Would they be willing to discuss Biblical principles that do not support their current interpretation, or even the interpretation of their constitutional rights? Before their permission slip is signed or not signed, these are things that would be reasonable for them to present, at least for legal and health reasons.

One could take that document and replace the face masking requirement with “the demand that we drivers stop for every red light.”

God commands his people to “fear not” … There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear." As a Christian, there is no place in my life for fear of accidents, pain, hardship, or death, and neither can I promote such a message of fear to others. We sincerely believe that always stopping at red lights “because of accidents” would necessarily cause us to communicate that fear.

And besides - it is so obviously all a Marxist plot; think about it. The lights all these people are forced to stop and meditate on are red! They aren’t even subtle. We can’t join all the other sheeple in obeying this huge governmental over-reach into our lives.

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Ugh. “We sincerely believe lies and demand that you humor our right to act in accordance with the lies we believe, because we believe them so sincerely.”

Also kind of hard to read in light of the fact that as an evangelically raised female I was definitely taught to dress in a way that communicated Christians lived in constant fear of lust and violating the purity of of other people’s thought-life. My whole life I was taught to dress for others, so as not to be a “stumbling block,” and that my personal comfort, free will, and desire to express my sincerely held belief that women should be more than sex-objects must be subordinated to the reality that lust and threats to purity lurk around every corner and we must be hyper-vigilant. But now, when the “stumbling block” we are talking about is not a threat to some hypothetical state of mental purity, but a threat to actual physical health, and what we are being asked to cover up is not rather arbitrarily designated body parts that are too sexy, but body parts that spread real pathogens, we can’t comply? Oh, please! This coming from the anti-yoga-pant-spaghetti-strap-crop-top camp is just too much hypocrisy. If we can cover our butts and cleavage and shoulders and midriffs to humor your fear of thinking about sex, then you can cover your mouth and nose to humor our fear of dying a slow painful death alone. Sheesh.

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I recently saw where the superintendent of Miami-Dade(?) schools was imposing a district-wide indoor mask mandate in defiance of DeSantis, mentioning that it was a constitutional issue for public schools to provide a safe environment. That made good sense.

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Does anyone remember Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin? He had the sincerest pumpkin patch.

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To the frustration of many of us here, you can’t argue someone into having sound judgment, a sense of discernment and proportion in applying what the Scriptures teach. This is a perfect example of what the absence of those virtues looks like.

I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t play one on tv. However, I do know that not everything that claims to be a legal document or legal argument actually is one. Just because these parents claim that this letter is enough to get them a legal exemption doesn’t mean that it is.
If you are being asked/demanded to sign this, be clear that you don’t believe the contents are true, theologically sound, logical or of any legal weight. And hand it back.

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Interesting that some schools are getting around mask mandate bans simply by changing their dress codes. I don’t know that you can get a religious exemption from wearing something a dress code requires. Usually they have written in that dress codes flex to accommodate religiously symbolic dress like yarmulke’s or hijabs if for example, hats are not allowed in buildings or more coverage for those who religiously object to the modesty of gym uniforms. But good luck arguing that NOT wearing something required is a religious symbol. You don’t get to say “My religion prohibits the wearing of a shirt.”

And out driving today I saw three high school students on the sidewalk walking home with their friends and two were still wearing their masks like responsible careful people. They did not appear to be suffering psychological duress.

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In the Southeast, Georgia is now seeing its highest number of hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic,

Mask mandates should have been imposed, and long before now.

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The collective we really blew it last year and we still are. Americans in the US – and maybe especially Evangelicals – have a really poor concept of freedom and what it requires of each of us against a common enemy.

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Matthew, concerning the document you posted, I understand how parents could feel that way.

Christians should take reasonable precautions.

Also, I suspect many people overestimate the health impacts of COVID on children, and the health impacts are relevant to the discussion.

I was surprised this morning reading the New York Times concerning the number of children who have died in the US due to the disease, about 500–most of them teenagers.

This fact, although not mentioned in the document, may have been a factor in its development.

Or not. I suspect we have way more to learn about the long term effects on children… and everyone else. Why are we playing falsely noble games with children’s lives (and everyone else’s) in the name of freedom?
 

I suspect there are long-term effects to children of the remote learning, masks, isolation, and fear.

Different people will balance and trade-off these downsides in different ways.

The question may boil down to who is better at and ultimately responsible for the health of an individual child: a government making blanket decisions for all children or the parents who live with and love the individual children?

Duh. If things had been taken care of properly last year, in federal and state policy and from the pulpit, we wouldn’t be as bad off as we are now with all the bogus my freedom pride.
 

Mandated vaccines would have worked well, and still will help.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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