Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

On April 18, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled that U.S. health agencies do not have the authority to uphold a national transportation mask mandate. In her ruling, she said that the CDC failed to properly justify its mask order and did not follow proper federal procedures in implementing it. For a little background, U.S. airlines had been requiring that passengers and crew wear a mask since mid-2020. In addition, the Biden administration and the CDC had issued orders in January 2021 requiring that masks be worn on and in virtually all forms of public transportation (including Uber and Lyft), as well as in airport terminals, train stations, ferry terminals, and the like. Following Judge Mizelle’s ruling, virtually all airlines and Amtrak, as well as Uber and Lyft, did away with their mask mandates.

Following the ruling, when a reporter asked President Biden whether Americans should continue to wear a mask on a plane, he responded, “That’s up to them.” However, both the Department of Justice and White House spokesperson Jen Psaki soon undermined what Biden had said. Psaki, for example, said, “Public health decisions shouldn’t be made by the courts. They should be made by public health experts.” She also said that the Biden administration is “abiding by the CDC recommendations . . . and we would advise all Americans to do that.”

To no one’s surprise, the response of many on the left has been nothing short of apoplectic. Here are a few examples. An ABC news commentator said that Judge Mizelle’s ruling was a legal ruling, not a scientific one. (More on the second part of that later.) Paul Krugman, a New York Times opinion columnist, predicted harassment of mask-wearers and even violence against them. In response to video of airline passengers cheering the announcement of the lifting of the mask mandate during a flight, foul-mouthed TV host Joy Reid said, “Did announcing the end of the mask mandate, literally in the the middle of the flight, kinda let those a-holes win?”

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’m firmly against vaccination and mask mandates. Please note the word mandates. I simply believe that people should be free to choose whether they get vaccinated and/or wear a mask. Listening to some of the strident voices on the left, one might think that Judge Mizelle has made it illegal to wear masks on public transportation, which is simply not true.

I came across an interesting website which gives brief summaries of the findings of 167 studies regarding mask ineffectiveness, mandates, and harm(s); here is the link, if you’re interested: https://centerforneurologyandspine.com/do-masks-work-see-the-review-of-over-150-studies-below/ I haven’t read all 167 of them, but I did read several, especially some of the 61 summaries of studies regarding mask “harms.” You may recall that very early in the pandemic, it had become obvious that the elderly and those with certain comorbidities were most at risk from COVID. Some of the studies in the above link refer to physical harm, even death, from mask-wearing, particularly in children. For example, in China in April of 2020, there were “three cases of students suffering sudden cardiac death (SCD) while running during gym class. All three students were wearing masks at the time of their deaths, igniting a critical discussion over school rules on when students should wear masks.” Maybe you’ve seen the video of Maggie Williams, a high-school student in Oregon who collapsed while crossing the finish line at a track meet in April of 2021; she was wearing a state-required mask. Thankfully, the state of Oregon revised its previous foolish outdoor mask mandate as a result, “allow[ing] people to take off face coverings when competing in non-contact sports outdoors.”

There are other studies that refer to not only physical harm, but psychological and emotional harm as well. One example that essentially combines all three of these types of harm is language acquisition, which has been made more difficult for children because of muffled voices and the inability to see the faces of the people who are talking to them. I believe that only time will tell how much injury of various kinds we have unwittingly inflicted on our children because of foolish government (worldwide) policies made during the pandemic.

Since this blog is focused on Biblical answers to questions and issues, how are we as Christians to respond to the lifting of the mask mandate on public transportation? Here’s what Romans 12:18 tells us: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” If you desire to continue wearing a mask (in various contexts, not just on public transportation), then do so; while I would prefer to see your face, I’m not going to harass or become violent against you–note to Paul Krugman. In fact, I will gladly talk with you if you so desire. Regardless, I would also hope that you treat me with civility, even if you prefer not to see my face! I should also add that if Judge Mizelle’s ruling is overturned, I will continue to wear a mask where required. Let’s live at peace with one another, regardless of our differing opinions and preferences.

11 thoughts on “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

  1. Thanks for a very sensible piece, Keith.
    I was in the grocery store, unmasked, and saw an elderly couple wearing masks. The wife was in a wheelchair. As I stood at a respectable distance getting what I needed off the shelf, I smiled and said “hello.” The couple seemed surprised. The woman said, “Oh! You have the most beautiful smile!” I thought she was going to cry. Maybe it was just the first smile they’d seen directed at them in a long time. At any rate, they didn’t seem bothered.
    I hope people are realizing the health benefits of smiling, laughing, singing, hugging, and all those things we haven’t been allowed to do for so long. It really is sad, especially for the little ones and the elderly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ann, As I was reading your comment, I thought the same thing you wrote: “Maybe it was just the first smile they’d seen directed at them in a long time.” Yes, all of those wonderful facial expressions that we’ve been missing–probably unconsciously for a lot of people–plus other nonverbal communication, like hugging.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brother,

    We are on the same page, as far as letting folks make their own choice, if they want to get that clot shot or to wear a muzzle. Worldwide, the clot shot has now killed millions and left millions more disabled. As you pointed out, wearing a mask is not only useless but very harmful.

    You state:
    “I will continue to wear a mask where required.” NO, I will NOT! I have not, nor will I wear a mask when walking around on the streets where I live. Walking in front of my home or anywhere else in the open, fields or streets. Even though it was mandated! Even though I could have been arrested! Even when there were soldiers patrolling the streets in the market, making sure people, were wearing not just a mask but a face shield! I did have a mask in my pocket and carried a face shield if I was stopped. I was once, the soldiers asked. “Where is your mask and face shield?” I put the mask and face shield on, and took it off as soon as they walked away. They had our whole food market fenced in and only a few gates (checkpoints) in and out. I just walked through, no mask or face shield.

    This I see as a huge part of the problem, not resisting evil, (muzzle wearing). At the beginning of this insanity two years ago, if enough people would have said no to wearing a muzzle and the clot shot, it would all be over now. Closing businesses, locking down families, churches and so forth is evil. And not only evil, but disobedience to God! They did that kind of thing here. One Sunday they ordered all churches locked down. I told a few folks, I am going to be there, if they want they can arrest me.

    Concerning this issue, I have the file of the message titled: “Christians Do Not Need to Ask or Get Permission/license from the Devil (government officials) to Gather Together,” I taught one Sunday. I would be happy to send it, just ask.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brother Michael, What you describe regarding putting on a mask when you had to outdoors is exactly what I did at a couple of state parks last year; the difference was that my wife and I weren’t encountering soldiers (!), but other park visitors. When we were approaching someone, I would quickly slip it on, and then slip it off again after we had passed them. I wrote about this in Of Mask and Meds, if you want to take a look. Another time last year when I did something similar was on a couple of flights; when it was dark and the flight attendants weren’t coming around anyway, I took my mask off; I actually didn’t end up wearing it very much.

      It has been a long time, thankfully, since I’ve heard about people having to wear a mask outdoors; in my neighborhood, I never did. The sentence that you referred in this post is in regard to if I ever have to wear a mask indoors in public again; I would never wear a mask in my own home. Hopefully, mask mandates are gone for good here.

      You mentioned lockdowns; you might be interested in my post How Effective Were the Lockdowns? And sure, you can send me that file.

      Like

      1. “When we were approaching someone, I would quickly slip it on, and then slip it off again after we had passed them.”

        I never do that, and never will (nor do I “social distance”). Why do something that is useless? Why do something that confirms their ignorance or insanity? And why help those who want to destroy our country, by showing compliance with their insanity, their “rules” and their controls? Resistance, to this evil is the only thing that the “rulers” of darkness understand. And when enough stand against them, they will back down. And in many places all over the earth, many are doing just that, resisting mask mandates, the jabs, and lockdowns, and some are winning their freedoms back! When people come to my home with a mask on, I tell them, “Please take that off.” It is useless against any kind of respiratory illness.”

        It is still a mandate here. But I have never, nor will comply with that insanity! Now, to get into every store or mall, you still need to wear a mask (and have your QR code), I will put one on when I walk through the door, but take it off soon after.

        I have not been on a plane here in over two years. But I would put one on when I boarded, as soon as we got in the air, I would take it off, and never put it back on. They would probably have to turn the plane around and kick me off, and I would be arrested. But jail and then the courtroom, would be my next stops.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Keith, I live in Queens NY and in the Chinese evangelical church which my wife and I attend just about all the brothers and sisters (even choir members) wear masks. The pastor only takes off his mask when he speaks from the pulpit. We don’t think this is a left/right issue since our church is definitely theologically and socially conservative. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This might also be a cultural thing, Chinese especially first generation immigrants, seem to lack the rugged individualism which characterize most Americans.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anthony, Thanks for both of your comments. Your church in regard to mask-wearing is exactly like ours, which is also a Chinese church. I find it annoying, but the koinonia there is so rich that I’m willing to put up with it. I think a lot of it, as you say, is cultural. Yolande and I have talked about this in relation to how when we were in China in the 1980s, there were some people who wore masks because of the pollution; here, then, it’s not strange that they, and succeeding generations, continue wearing masks because of COVID.

        Liked by 1 person

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