Anti-maskers! Religion and politics in the use of face masks during the current coronavirus pandemic!
With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, medical field experts advocated the use of face masks in public places. But not everybody agrees. People have their own opinions about when to wear them, how to wear them which ones to wear, and whether to wear them at all!!! The anti-maskers lobby is growing. Face masks have become a very controversial issue and leaders and politicians are tapping it for their own ulterior motives and gains. And now, there is a religious twist to the innocent face masks and their use!
The anti-maskers and what they say?
There is an increasing group of anti-maskers. They are a strong No to the use of face masks. Donald Trump is also amongst them. He had said that he will not force his people to wear face masks. These people argue that the problem is not about wearing a face mask, but it is the mandate which hurts them. They do not like to be forced by the government to do things like this!
The religious twist to the whole controversy
And now some religious groups are emerging that state that wearing a face mask is anti-religious. But why? They claim that the forcing of the use of a face mask on them violates their religious rights. In May 2020, Ohio state Rep. Nino Vitale, a Republican, refused to wear a face mask. His argument was that covering one’s face is a sign of dishonor of God. Some individual faith leaders echo similar beliefs. Some churches in the world have also openly disregarded the rule of wearing face masks during gatherings.
There are also some media- and fame-savvy pastors who have posted anti-face mask messages on their Facebook page. And millions of people have seen these posts. Countries with a conservative political system show the maximum level of rejection of face masks. The USA is one of them.
The reason that religion has entered the fray of face masks
In the world of today where people do anything for power, they also twist and make a scapegoat out of religion. They hijack and use religion for their personal and political agendas. This is undesirable but really happening. The use of religion tends to heighten the value of a person who uses it even if it is for his own gain.
Deities and religious beliefs are not questioned and just accepted a gospel and ultimate truths, even if wrong. Religious claims are considered authority. Using it to get an exemption is accepted by all. Even if science and medicine prove that the practice or belief is wrong, religious people do not want to accept the facts and think about it.
Despite this, in the USA, these groups have not gained too much popularity since people are fearful of the coronavirus more than what the religious leaders tell them might happen if they use a face mask. But once the coronavirus figures go down, public opinion about using face masks may fade and they might cling to the religious groups and stop using them.
Thus, it is a combination of religious claims and public opinion that decides on the outcome of the whole controversy. If people are intelligent, religious groups will not succeed. But if the people are weak-minded, religious groups will flourish at the cost of goodness!