Should I Wear a Mask?

We are nine months into the Covid19 lockdowns and people still debate whether to use facemasks. Evolving (to use a charitable term) guidance from the CDC and other health authorities notwithstanding, people argue that masks help protect against infections, that they are not effective, that we have a moral obligation to wear a mask, that they represent a loss of freedom, or that they are an arbitrary mandate from an elite aristocracy. There are probably other viewpoints out there, too. Should I wear a facemask because of the Covid19 pandemic? The answer is not as black and white as various factions claim.

A friend recently told me that a mask is submission. Yes, but not necessarily submission in a political or legal sense. I have two near-by family members with compromised immune systems. One has myasthenia gravis; the other is fighting cancer. This makes it much more personal than any of us might like. We do not wear masks at home, but when I am out and around in the community I “submit” to their health needs by wearing a mask, usually a NIOSH-certified N95, to reduce the odds of bringing a bug of any kind back to my family. Do masks provide perfect protection? No. Do they make a difference? Yes, drawing from my scientific background, I think so. I don’t enjoy wearing a mask, but I do so willingly.

Let’s turn to God’s word for perspective. Ephesians 5: 21 says “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Masks fog my glasses, but I will wear one when I need to for the sake of those around me. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 exhorts, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” Masks make my breathing congested, but provide an element of protection for my health, so I wear a mask to help protect the body God gave me. And in Matthew 22:39 Jesus said, “love your neighbor as yourself.” As long as Covid19 is such an immediate threat, wearing a mask seems like a simple way to look out for my neighbor.

2 thoughts on “Should I Wear a Mask?

  1. Jesse, I agree with your three points. Yes, masks are uncomfortable and inconvenient. Some believe masks create a false sense of protection and may actually contribute to susceptibility. But, they have been used for decades b I medical professionals for self protection and protection of others. To me, as a trained microbiologist, the make more sense as a barrier to the spread of virus than daring the odds without a mask.

    As an aside, my oldest daughter who has had respiratory problems throughout he hife came down with CCP Virus symptoms 10 days ago ant tested positive 5 days ago. Because of her respiratory weakness she has been very committed to wearing a mask. Some might say this is a testimonial against masks, but I might point out two things: 1. In spite of her respiratory condition, her response to the CCP Virus though typical, has not been severe and, 2. the CCP Virus is no joke, it is highly contagious. Without masks and social restrictions the death rate would have been much worse.


  2. I am compelled not to argue against wearing a mask after being reminded of what my Christian obligation is. Cheerfully I will wear it all the time when I am out side of my home, even though it’s hard to breathe wearing it.


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