From ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ to ‘Let Them Wear Masks’
As I’ve said before, if I was convinced that wearing a mask in public would protect or even save my neighbor’s life, I’d wear it without the slightest complaint. Personal convenience is not the issue. And when it comes to following the rules, I don’t protest wearing a mask at the airport and during flights, as much as I dislike it. It’s the current reality, and it’s not the end of the world.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t address the cultural arrogance that often accompanies the pro-mask position. Or the misplaced militancy of some pro-vaxxers, as if there were no possible, rational, legitimate reason to question, let alone resist the vaccine mandates.
No Masks for the Stars at the Emmys
The most recent example of this cultural arrogance was on display at Sunday’s Emmy Awards, where the famous stars (reportedly vaccinated) were unmasked while the workers were, apparently, required to wear masks. By all means, the stars must be protected, especially from lowly laborers. And by all means, the stars had every right to be unmasked, as opposed to the peons wanting to shop or dine or attend sporting events unmasked. Who can compare the two?
As the New York Post reported, “The 2021 Emmy Awards were full of colorful ensembles, moving speeches and coveted gold statuettes — but no masks in sight.”
Naturally, this drew the ire of the Twitter universe, with users chiming in with quips like these (as cited in the Post):
“No distancing, no masks. Clearly a slap in the face for all the font line workers that are still dealing with the pandemic. Check your privilege @TheEmmys #Emmys,” another said.
One chimed in, “No Masks at the #Emmys because rules are for the little people.”
Others pointed out the discrepancy between the treatment of the celebrities and the treatment of their kids in school. As one parent tweeted, “I honestly don’t understand. I flipped on the Emmy’s and no one is wearing a mask. My 2 vaccinated boys are required to wear a mask for 8+ hours a day in school. … #rulesfortheenotforme.”
This, again, is a big part of the rub (as I noted in my last article), namely, the unequal application of these practices. As summed up in another tweet, “The rich and famous can’t spread COVID. Masking is solely reserved for us peasants, vaccinated or not.”
That’s why Gavin Newsom got so much flak for attending a ritzy birthday party without a mask last November. As reported by KUSI, “@BillFoxLA has obtained photos of Governor @GavinNewsom breaking his own rules for private gatherings while attending a birthday party in Napa.”
If you make the rules and you enforce the rules, you are expected to live by those rules.
That’s why Nancy Pelosi got so much criticism for her maskless trip to the beauty salon during the lockdown. Or Dr. Fauci got so much ridicule for dropping his mask while sitting with a couple of friends at a baseball game (one of the few people allowed to attend in person, at that).
It’s the double standards that have people really upset, especially when the perception is the richer or more famous you are, the more exempt you are. It really does feel like Animal Farm is being lived out in front of our eyes.
Let the Unvaccinated Be
It’s the same thing when it comes to the ridicule faced by those who feel it is unwise to get vaccinated.
If you choose not to be vaccinated after careful study and even prayerful consideration, reviewing the scientific and anecdotal evidence as best as you can, you should not be ridiculed as if you were a potential mass murder or an uncaring super spreader. All the more is this the case if the people ridiculing you don’t even play by their own safety rules.
To be sure, I can give you a growing list of friends my wife and I have lost to COVID. We do not minimize its danger, nor do we take safety precautions lightly. To our knowledge, none of them were vaccinated (some died before any vaccines were available).
And personally, I find it offensive when pastors mock those who choose to wear masks or get vaccinated. This is as immature as it is unwise. (For relevant scriptural guidelines, I recommend reading Romans 14.)
At the same time, I can cite a growing number of examples of otherwise healthy children and adults dying shortly after getting vaccinated.
For example, on Monday, a friend told me that his uncle, who was a 71-year-old scientist training to run a marathon, got a blood clot and died the same day he received his second vaccine shot. He also told me that his first cousin, just 18 years old, died suddenly within a day of receiving her second vaccine dose. And an elder in his brother’s church, only 41, died of a heart attack shortly after receiving his second shot.
Were these all the direct results of the vaccine? I don’t know. But this is hardly the kind of anecdotal evidence you want to toss out the window without further consideration.
No Place for Ridicule
There are debates between learned scientists and doctors, both of whom are pro-vaccine in general but who differ strongly over the wisdom of taking the current vaccines. (On my own radio show, here’s the anti-COVID vaccine argument and the pro-COVID vaccine argument.)
Who among us can say with absolute certainty that one side is totally right and the other side totally wrong? How many of us have the requisite academic requirements to figure out exactly where the truth lies? And how many contradictory stories and news reports have we heard?
In light of the very real challenges our society is facing today, challenges that are literally matters of life and death, all of us need to step higher.
That means that we need to do better than the cultural elites who ridicule those who question the mask and vaccine mandates. There is no place for that attitude in our midst.
At the same time, we need to do better than the preachers and Christian leaders who make the “no mask, no vax” position a proof of devotion, as if only those weak in faith would dare wear a mask at a church service or choose to get vaccinated.
During a genuine international crisis (be it because of the pandemic itself or be it because of the handling of the pandemic), a little humility, grace, and mutual respect will go a long way.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Revival Or We Die: A Great Awakening Is Our Only Hope. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.