When did my sweet, compassionate evangelical Christian friend become a conspiracy-theory-believing, white-supremacy-sympathizing, pandemic-denying mask opponent, callously willing to allow thousands of post-born Americans to die needlessly because she thinks her “rights and liberties are being taken away”?
When did my friend start buddying-up on social media with the likes of Tucson Two-Tone who claims to have worked at the Defense Department for 30-some years and hails Trump as our military savior? (Two-Tone fancies himself a consummate military man but thinks the dozens of respected three- and four-star Trump-critic generals are insubordinate wimps.)
My friend is commiserating with Diana Roseanna Diana who believes Romans 12:2 is her catch-all excuse for discounting every Trumpian outrage — and crime — inflicted upon America. And Joe Beam who saw “in real time” the election being stolen from Trump in Detroit. And his brother Jim, who believes COVID-19 is a Democrat hoax to eliminate church attendance and hurt the president. And Williams Brian who thinks coronavirus health guidelines are the greatest (sot?) plot to usurp our freedoms since Mein Kampf.
President Trump has made ignoring pandemic health guidelines — causing needless sickness and death — a pro-MAGA political statement. Isn’t Christianity better than that?
White Evangelical Hypocrisy
There are various wings of Trump-supporting, pandemic-denying citizens. Today, I’m addressing the white evangelical wing.
Personally, I am not religious, haven’t even settled on a preferred deity (though many might consider me a casual cultural Christian by birth). But I will speak to the 80% of white evangelicals, most of whom live and die MAGA, in the language they understand. And I ask, How could my kindhearted friend: a passionate pro-Bible, Ten Commandments-adhering ultra-pro-life Christian — how could she turn into a callous COVID-downplayer willing to hasten fatalities among innocent people because mask guidelines violate her constitutional rights?
If you’re willing to picket abortion clinics and assault their clients with jeers and gory photos — or support those who are willing, or even support anti-choice legislation — how can you not be willing to encourage friends and family to take the compassionate (and really easy) steps of wearing a mask in public and socially distancing when possible? Instead, you say, “We should consider both sides. It’s only fair. After all, pro-choicers want their choice, to abort a fetus. Fair is fair. We should have our choice: to sicken and kill hundreds of thousands of the post-born simply because we think masks are a deep-state plot to take away our rights and liberties.”
My God. What has happened to humanity? What kind of colossally selfish spell has Mr. Trump cast upon his followers?
My Ah-Ha! Moment
“Eureka!” (i.e., “Holy sh*t!”). I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep and it came to me. When MAGA WASPs say they’re losing their rights and freedoms, it’s code for this: Non-WASPs are finally gaining their rights and freedoms. And MAGA WASPs are damn-well threatened and angered by that:
1) Gays attaining the right to serve openly in the military (or marry) means MAGA WASPs have lost the right not to serve in the military next to a gay (or have to think about a lesbian wedding cake being baked in their neighborhood).
2) Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, and non-religious students gaining the right not to be forced to hear a Christian prayer in public school means MAGA WASPs have lost the right — the “religious freedom” — to impose their beliefs on others.
3) African Americans gaining the right to sit at the Woolworths lunch counter means MAGA WASPs have lost the right to avoid Blacks in public places. Or Hispanics. Or Native Americans. Or any other damn foreigners.
4) Black Lives Matter protests raising our cultural consciousness mean MAGA supporters have lost the right to ignore — or support without embarrassing explanation — institutional law enforcement bias resulting in statistically sky-high rates of Black male mistreatment and murder at the hands of police.
FINALLY) Mask mandates or even guidelines, to save innocent American lives and not overwhelm the health care system, threaten MAGA followers’ right to say screw you to humanity.
Whose Rights Are We Talkin’ About?
In other words, as a MAGA WASP, religious freedom means my Christian religion. Civil rights means my Caucasian civil rights. Ignoring and opposing public mask guidelines means retaining my right to say screw humanity, to ignore the opportunity to save lives. Refusing to wear a mask in public (or excusing and supporting those who refuse) means retaining my freedom not to help my neighbors — my hundreds of thousands of American neighbors — with a really small sacrifice.
And screw United States democracy if my right to be disinformed is questioned. I have the right to believe a colossally mendacious autocratic demagogue who wants to take us back to the good old days — the 1950s, when Negros, homosexuals, heathens, and foreigners knew their place. Re-embracing the repressive culture of the ‘50s is tacitly inherent in our slogan: Make America Great Again. Don’t try to guilt me into seeing the truth, seeing the good, even if ignoring it is completely counter to my core Christian principles. I have a right to my hypocrisy and depravity. Christian principles apply to me only when I say they apply.
These are the rights that some 80% of white evangelical Christians believe they’re losing. And Mr. Trump gives them a giant Wizard-of-Oz curtain behind which to hide their bigotry and hypocrisy in the name of freedom.
Re-Post Heard ‘Round the Facebook
Here’s what set me off originally. My sweet, compassionate Christian friend re-posted the following missive for comment. You might recognize this re-post as one of many pieces commissioned by pro-Trump-QAnon-white-supremacist-anti-government-conspiracy-theory groups that purport to be from an “average person” on social media.
The re-post does not have a religious slant per se. But most MAGA white evangelicals, such as my friend, have attached themselves to its arguments and implications. So, as mentioned, I decided to speak to her and her crowd in the language they understand. I might have overdone the God-themed takedown, but I was on a roll, and hard heads require hard truths.
Didn’t write this, but it is spot on…….. It’s not about masks. Open your mind to the POSSIBILITY……
In 4 months, the U.S. transformed into an obedient sot country. The government dictated what events are acceptable to attend. Violent protests that instill fear are OK, but church services, family funerals, and patriotic celebrations are dangerous. And you bought it without a fight.
Standing in a graduation line is a “safety hazard.” Small businesses were forced to close but crowds to support the corporate money machine at Walmart, Lowes, and Home Depot are OK.
Come on. It’s “just a mask” & “safety precautions.”
How about a little hush money? Here’s $2,400 that we stole out of your paycheck in the first place. Enjoy. Buy something with it, from a big corporation.
Cash is dirty. We can’t give change. There’s a coin shortage. Use your card. In 4 months, they convinced you to use a traceable card for everything.
In less than 4 months, the government closed public schools then “restructured” education under the guise of “public safety.” In less than 4 months, our government demonstrated how easily people assimilate to “guidelines” that have NO scientific premise whatsoever when you are fearful. In less than 4 months, our government successfully instilled fear in a majority of the population in America that allows them to control every aspect of your life. Including what you eat, where you go, and who you see.
And the most dangerous and terrifying part? People are not afraid of their freedoms being removed. They’re afraid of their neighbors, family, and friends. And they hate those who won’t comply.
It’s absolutely terrifying to me that so many people don’t question “why.” They are willing to surrender their critical thinking skills and independence. They just… gave up without thinking. Without a fight.
Do you know what’s coming next? “It’s just a vaccine. Come on. It’s for the greater good.”
Wait until you’re told that you can’t enter any store or business without proof of the Covid-19 vaccine. Wait until you can’t go to public events or get on a plane without proof of receiving the vaccine. To everyone that doesn’t believe this is possible – DO YOU UNDERSTAND that the government successfully dictated to people WHEN they were allowed to be outside, where they were allowed to go, and how their children would be educated in less than 4 months? And that a majority of the population followed blindly because they were told to do so.
You’re kidding yourself if you think this behavior won’t be repeated with a vaccine. Or whatever the next step is.
But that couldn’t happen here, right?
Try to See It Through God’s Eyes
Then I said:
My friend, you introduced the letter with, “Didn’t write this, but it is spot on.” You’ve given it your full-throated endorsement.
But this is the kind of disinformation that has been damaging our country for four years. There are so many logical fallacies, lies, and false sinister implications that it would take twice the space to refute the fraud this letter is perpetuating. It’s called argumentum verbosium. This was one of many commissioned pieces written by QAnon and other Trump groups for propaganda purposes.
But let me address just a few points:
1) The letter writer says people “surrendered their critical thinking skills.” Yes, the people who believe this type of disinformation have. God gave us the gift of critical thinking, the ability to sort lie from truth. But He leaves it up to the individual to choose to use it. The letter writer wants to fool you into not using God’s gift.
2) God gave us the gift of masks, to be able to protect our neighbors, whom He urges us to love. So you’re telling God, “No, my right to an uncovered face in public places will not be taken away, even for a short while, never mind how many die.” Somehow, I think God comes down on the side of protecting life.
3) God gave us the gift of technical alternatives, temporary ways to worship Him, for those who are forgoing large gatherings such as church services temporarily, to save fellow Christians and other human beings. This is because God wouldn’t ask us to choose between worshiping Him and killing our neighbors.
4) God knows it’s not too much to ask of us to make a small sacrifice — to wear a mask in public, to avoid large gatherings temporarily — so that we can protect our neighbors from dying. God knows this because He knows a thing or two about sacrifice.
5) God hates those who rush to false witness and evil. He knows that His gifts of masks, vaccines, science, critical thinking, and love for humanity are not some sinister plot to take away religious freedom or worse. They’re simply tools He provides his followers to show their love for others by helping not to kill each other.
6) Scientific understanding evolves with new information, and different states and localities differ because they’re independent of each other. This is why there was no national conspiracy. Were some mistakes made by conscientious leaders? Yes, honest mistakes. But God gave these state and local leaders the best information available at the time, and most did their best with what they had. Sadly, their job was made harder by disinformation and violence-inducing rhetoric such as is being spread by the letter writer. Also sadly, many Trump-allied leaders ignored the scientific data God provided them.
FINALLY) If you do shun God’s gifts, thinking they’re part of a sinister government plot to steal your rights, then you must agree: that sinister government was made sinister and used by Donald Trump. And it was Mr. Trump’s unwillingness to address the pandemic and role-model safety guidelines that killed tens of thousands of Americans unnecessarily. Therefore, we must all thank God for the recent rights-saving, lifesaving election result.
“They Want Choice, We Want Choice. Fair Is Fair”
Then my friend said something about people should have the choice not to wear a mask in public because pro-choice (pro-women’s-right-to-control-their-own-bodies) proponents want choice. So she’s just sayin’: “They want choice, we want choice. Fair is fair.”
Then I said:
The only problem with that reasoning is your “choice” — not to wear a harmless mask in public — sickens and kills post-born humans unnecessarily. If you object to a woman’s choice to end a pregnancy — a life-changing, devastating decision for that woman, causing all involved great pain — how can you object to a harmless guideline to wear a mask in public, temporarily, to save the lives of God’s post-born children? How can you object to loving your neighbor by making a small sacrifice that hurts no one? God gave the gifts of masks, science, and neighbor-loving compassion, a desire not to kill your neighbor. How can any Christian — or anyone — object to that?
My friend, I’m shocked that as the passionate Christian I know you are, you can object to choice that kills pre-born babies, but you don’t object to choice (not to wear a mask in public) that kills the post-born.
To consciously choose not to wear a mask in public — just because — when it saves others’ lives, is galactically selfish. Is this what God commands? Deadly selfishness? Or a small sacrifice, to save lives?
The other problem is the perpetuating of the fraudulent conspiracy theories. As I said, this is one of many “everyman” pieces written by QAnon and white supremacist groups. In fact, this disinformation ultimately can bring down a country. At that point, pro-life judges and religious freedom will be moot.
“Both Sides of the Argument”
Then my friend said something about never intending to elicit this much commotion, and we should all consider “both sides of the argument,” and some people who wear masks still get the virus so maybe masks don’t really work, and we’re losing our rights and freedoms, so we should retain our “choice,” and if non-mask-wearers want to risk their own lives, that’s their right, their choice, and we should pray for “the unbelievers who do not wear them.”
Then I said:
You must know that an inflammatory letter like the one you re-posted would get lots of passionate response. And even though you say you wear a mask “if really necessary,” by re-posting the letter on your page you obviously support its theme: that masks and other pandemic health guidelines are an abrogation of your rights, and that those who refuse masks and social distancing in public simply are choosing to uphold their rights.
We can consider both sides, but if one side is killing innocent people, I choose life.
But OK, here is my last point-by-point response:
1) By “masks work,” scientists mean they drastically lower the odds of virus contraction, in very high percentages overall. But nothing can guarantee safety — just like seat belts. Wouldn’t you still ensure your 80-year-old mother wore her seat belt in your car, even with no guarantee?
2) The “choice” is in loving humanity. Individual choice in this case affects others, much more so than the wearer. And the choice — to love your neighbor with a small sacrifice — is sooooo easy. Why not make the easy choice to honor God by protecting our neighbors, especially the weak? I don’t get it.
3) Many in this thread still seem to think masks only protect the wearer. If that were true, I would say have your choice all day long and twice on Sundays. But 90% of a mask’s purpose is to protect others. What I pray for is that “the unbelievers who do not wear them” follow the ways of Christ, by learning that their mask-wearing is not so much for them, but to protect others from dying.
FINALLY, AGAIN) President Trump and his supporters have made ignoring pandemic health guidelines — causing needless sickness and death — a political statement. Isn’t Christianity bigger than that?
Did I lean too hard on the God thing? ■
02/06/2020 — U.S.: 1 | World: 620
12/23/2020 — U.S.: 322,849 | World: 1,719,436
Conservatively estimated Trump malfeasance deaths: 161,425 (50% of total U.S. deaths)*
The United States accounts for 4.2% of Earth’s population, 19% of world COVID-19 deaths.*
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