Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Scientific Red Badge of Courage Is to Resist Mask Conformity and Respect Individual Liberty

I lost a friend to death last night. He died with Covid-19.

He'd been careful. His health had been compromised by cancer. He wore a mask, he washed his hands, he kept his social distance. Yet he caught Covid-19. My friend died while on a vent fighting the disease. 

I have two close family members who have been very sick with Covid-19, two people for whom I care a great deal. I check on them almost every day because they are more vulnerable to this disease than most. 

I've had Covid-19. My wife has had Covid-19. A couple of my kids have had Covid-19. I most likely know more people who have died from Covid-19 than you. I officiate funerals. I visit the sick and the vulnerable. 

I do not dispute that Covid-19 is more contagious and spreads easier than the flu. If I go into a hospital or nursing home to see people who are sick or vulnerable, I will always wear a mask, without fail, out of respect for that establishment's policies. 

But I do not wear a mask any other time or in any other place for scientific reasons.

If I go into a store to purchase items and discover that the store mandates a mask, I will respectfully and quietly leave. If I choose to eat in a restaurant that mandates a mask as I walk to the table, I will politely turn around and walk out. Politeness, courtesy, friendliness, and respect is never an option for me. It's part of my Christian character.

But I refuse to submit to any mask mandate because I agree with the science and the randomized scientific studies that say mask mandates are ineffective. Even if the majority of Americans disagree with me, I will follow my rational, logical, and scientific conclusions that lead me to oppose mask mandates. In America, we cherish and thrive on individual liberty and resist the tyranny of the majority.

But forget liberty for a moment and focus with me on the science

The Annals of Internal Medicine published this week the only Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Mandate to Other Public +Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2. 

Read it for yourself. This scientific study, the only randomized controlled trial on the effectiveness of mask mandates in the world, concluded:
(A) recommendation to wear a surgical mask when outside the home among others did not reduce, at conventional levels of statistical significance, incident SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with no mask recommendation.

I believe this scientific study. I don't demand that you agree with it, nor do I disrespect you for disagreeing with it. 

I'm just politely informing you that I can think, act, and choose for myself. 

When I am forced to believe in something that I don't believe in, or when I am mandated to do something I don't think I ought to do, or when I am compelled by force to act in a manner that violates my conscience, then I am living in Nineteen Eighty-Four and not 2020. 

I visited with a young lady this morning over the phone who told me she did not think highly of me or the church where I serve because I do not demand or force people to wear masks when they come to worship services and I have publicly said I never will. She told me "I'm hesitant to tell you this and so I'm asking for grace from you, but I don't like you being vocal about your belief that mask mandates are not effective." 

I was extremely polite, thanked the woman for her courage to speak her convictions to me, and then showed her as much grace as God has shown me. I explained that I am convinced by the science that mask mandates are not effective, irrespective of anyone's emotions. Facts have no feelings for me. People will get Covid-19, even those who wear masks all the time, because the disease spreads so easily, even through the eyes. 

However, I respect other people so much that if they reach a different conclusion than I on the science of mask mandates, I will never reach out and force them to remove their mask. 

And if they wish to keep their distance from me, I will never forcibly violate their boundaries and embrace them.

More importantly, if they own or operate a restaurant or business where they demand behavioral conformity from me on their beliefs, I will respect them so much that I will politely and graciously leave without spending any money or I will put a mask on and shop! 

Freedom. Respect. Love. That's how I roll.

Earlier this fall, two leading scientists behind the Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Mandate to Other Public +Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 were asked by a reporter why the results of this unique and significant study were taking so long to be published. The statistical analysis of the effectiveness of mask mandates had been completed by the summer of 2020. Dr. Christian Torp-Pedersen confirmed what his fellow scientist told the reporter:
"The results will be published as soon as a journal is brave enough."
It takes courage to believe in science that says something different than what the majority believe. But I will follow the science, and if the science ever convinces me differently, I will change my behavior voluntarily. 

It seems to me mask mandates are about social conformity more than scientific clarity. 

So I will put a mask on my face when convinced by scientific reasons, not your emotional discomfort, for it is my face and not yours. If you tell me that I'm putting your life in danger, I will politely tell you that I don't agree with the science behind your statement and bow out of our conversation, with the utmost respect.

Respectful persuasion and voluntary behavior is the American way. That's the definition of liberty. Social conformity via big brother tyranny is the essence of socialism, an "ism" I want no part of in my life. 

I close with something a good friend of mine told me this past Sunday. He owns a funeral home. I inquired about Covid-19 deaths in our county. "Are you overwhelmed?" I asked. 

He told me that his funeral home was busy but then he gave me this startling fact:
"We've set an all-time record in 2020 for the number of people who have died from alcohol poisoning or from damage to the liver by alcohol. Those deaths number as many as Covid-19 in 2020."

I would encourage everyone to enjoy Thanksgiving with family and friends. Take your precautions. Wear a mask if you feel led by science to do so. Wash your hands. Isolate yourself if sick.

My heart goes out to all those sick with Covid-19, including my family members. 

But don't confuse a pandemic with panic, don't cease living because of your fear of dying, and most of all, display some courage in the face of those who demand conformity. 


Rex Ray said...


My Grandson, Sam Ray, has an engineering degree, but is smart on many subjects. He just told me if a person has the virus and wears a mask, he’s more dangerous than if he didn’t have a mask.

If he doesn’t have a mask, the only virus can come from droplets in his breath.

But if he wears a mask, the virus is stored in higher concentration and when he breathes, the virus in the mask is added to his breath.

Wade Burleson said...


Your grandson seems like a smart guy. A chip off the old-old block. :)

Christiane said...

Hello WADE, it is not my place to fact-check the credibility of sources for others, but I would like for folks to be aware that even when a source 'sounds' professional, it may not be credible, but might be a front for an agenda, and a source of confusion for many. This problem of mis-information has fostered the fears about vaccines and the 'autism connection' which has troubled many parents and led them to deny their children the protection of vaccinations against some of the worst diseases.

here are SOME examples of credible academic literature databases:
MEDLINE/PubMed, or the Web of Science

sometimes it pays off to double-check if a site that 'sounds professional' does not have credibility as a solid medical research organization/publication; there are more than one sources that have 'problems' with their credibility among the medical academic community but still may present with an impressive name that might trick/confuse some readers who are not aware that this misinformation technique is used, so its always good to check sources out:

Here is an example organization/publication with poor credibility:

Christiane said...

WADE, it helps to know that the spread of covid is not 'linear'.
The spread of covid-19 is 'exponential'.
If a study does not take this into account in its design and execution of its research, the study may not be totally accurate in its findings.

Chris said...

I agree 100% with the article.

What is your suggestion for those that are being forced to wear one by their employer, when their livelihood is their employment?

I understand that as an employee, it is our obligation to follow the rules of the employer.

If we do not agree, then we have the right to leave that employer. However, that is not reality for most people.

The "mask" is just the beginning of much more severe mandates, or the force of "worship" of someone or something other than God.

Ironically, most employers (mine included) agree with your article, but they are following the majority for the sake of "reputation" or lawsuits. - Ours is conforming to the mask mandate because 2 people went on social media to shame us for not wearing them, and the fear was created of a much larger backlash if we did not conform. (Pretty scary)

What would you do in the employee's shoes?

RB Kuter said...

Wade, I certainly respect your position, reasoning, and response, to the issue of mask-wearing.

I strongly believe that the entire rationale underlying the insistence to wear masks is muddied by a lot of politics using COVID as leverage to accomplish purposes other than those related to genuine health concerns. I have held to this opinion since COVID surfaced regarding all of the responses to it.

It is impossible to discern a credible assessment of the threat, impact, remedies, related to COVID due to the politically motivated hype, denial of data, and credible information opposing the fear-mongering "Pro-Sensational COVID" advocates. The position of our government representatives charged with maintaining the health interest of their constituency ALWAYS bias their perspective portrayal of responses that should be taken. They are consistently against any proposal made by political rivals thereby jeopardizing the health risks of the very people whose interests they are sworn to protect and prioritize.

Personally, I do not agree with your conclusions, Wade, in their entirety. I DO agree that we are being manipulated, bullied, and our liberties being stolen by the exaggerated, perverted, non-credible, response of those "Pro-Sensational COVID" advocates. However, my personal assessment regarding masks is that they are helpful in diminishing the risk of contracting a cold, flu, or any other viral contagious condition from another person. If someone with a cold sneeze on the back of my neck when I am in an airplane, the likelihood of my contracting that cold increases. If a doctor does open-heart surgery on a patient while breathing their non-restricted breath on them, I figure it probably increases the chance of infection, as would operating without sterilized gloves or instruments.

I believe that the reason we see fewer people with colds and flu this season is because masks, and other precautions are being taken to prevent inter-contact with other nasty people. That is my own assessment. I am not stupid and don't wear a mask when I am alone in a car or with family members that I live with when I am outdoors with nobody in my face or close body contact distance like so many I see.

It seems to me that the absurd, extreme, actions proposed by so many politically-based advocates have created a society of lame-brained creatures that have lost the capacity to rationalize practicality from contrived fantasies.

Ruth said...

I carefully read the entire article. You seem to have overlooked a very important part of it.

These findings do offer evidence about the degree of protection mask wearers can anticipate in a setting where others are not wearing masks and where other public health measures, including social distancing, are in effect. The findings, however, should not be used to conclude that a recommendation for everyone to wear masks in the community would not be effective in reducing SARS-CoV-2 infections, because the trial did not test the role of masks in source control of SARS-CoV-2 infection. During the study period, authorities did not recommend face mask use outside hospital settings and mask use was rare in community settings. This means that study participants' exposure was overwhelmingly to persons not wearing masks.

So basically, mask wearing by only some of the public has very little effect on the spread of this virus according to this study. There has been no study of the effect of mandatory mask usage by all so it is incorrect to conclude that it is ineffective.

Anecdotally, it was found that the Springfield MO salon who had two COVID positive stylists working did not infect any clients; all stylists and clients were required to wear masks. There were over 60 people closely exposed to those stylists while they were contagious. It would seem reasonable that at least some clients would have been infected given the circumstances if masks had not been worn by everyone.

Pastor Clark Frailey said...

I wonder, brother pastor if you discount the anthropological aspect of wearing masks. As our forebears in 1918 learned, indeed masks were largely ineffective in stopping virus transmission alone (save professions and instances of extremely close proximity where it clearly makes sense like dentistry, medicine, barbers, etc.)

Rather, the benefit was construed to be behavioral by reminding one to keep distance from others as not to necessarily infect the most vulnerable amongst us or unintentionally spread the disease to someone vulnerable that it is not possible to visibly detect: diabetes, heart conditions, those with respiratory distress, etc.

While I don't strictly need a physical Bible in order to read the Word of God. I have a thousand options on my laptop and phone. However, I find something comforting about a leather-bound Bible on my nightstand and in my library that reminds me to read, ponder, and pray through the Scriptures.

Similarly, like the cracked eggs as your brain on drugs was intended to be a powerful metaphor in the late 80's TV commercials, a person wearing a mask instantly jars my memory that we are indeed still living through a pandemic and that I should not embrace or stand close to this person as not to infect them.

Isolation, quarantine, and in general keeping humans apart during a pandemic have long been in the public health professional's toolbox as our best, least invasive, and successful tools to mitigate any sort of virus - I remember making preparations years ago for both the bird and swine flus should they have become a problem for our church.

I am concerned if we insinuate that masks were ever intended to be a "silver bullet" that would magically stop COVID. To me, the keyword is "mitigate" which is all we can hope for until a vaccine is produced.

I agree with you that mandates, especially in rural areas are likely to have little effect. In urban areas like where I live they appear to be a bit more effective.

As a Christian leader, I feel compelled to encourage others to wear the mask as a matter of Christian principle to love my neighbor as myself.

The mask is not to keep you safe. You have already had COVID and are likely protected by some level of immunity as my physician believes I am as well.

We should wear the mask to protect others. The vulnerable. The least of these.

And in inconveniencing myself, I make a meager sacrifice in order to slow down spreading it by breathing, sneezing, coughing the disease any further.

Wearing a mask means placing the welfare of the community above my individual liberty. If I return to my entry into Christianity in the 1990s I will remember clearly the bracelets we made in Sunday School - WWJD?

I feel like Jesus would lay down His own rights and if I am to be like Him, I must follow that example.

Anonymous said...

Dr Cowan reports on decades of studies that show no benefits of masks in surgical settings.

Two OSHA trained gov employees (who teach doctors how to mask) come forward with decades of studies that prove mask mandates are setting people up for health failure.

Anonymous said...

Portugal outlaws the use of the PCR test that all countries are relying on to show covid-19 “cases”.

Multitudes of doctors world-wide calling the plandemic a fraud and hoax. No proof such a virus exists if Koch’s postulates were not fulfilled. No authors of the top peer reviewed scientific papers this so-called virus was based on admitted they isolated or purified it. In July of 2020, the CDC admitted they have no purification or isolation of said virus.

The inventor of the PCR test (the late Kerry Mullis) insists that his test (four decades old) was not intended to be used for clinical diagnosis, but rather for research. He says you can basically find anything you want in anyone you want if the lab cycles or amplified the genetic matter enough times. We are being lied to...wake up people!!

Rex, here’s a song for you. :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Double posted link above. Try this one instead.

Anonymous said...

Duke University and MIT trained doctor explains in 45 min the process in isolation to prove causation, which no one in the entire world has done.

Anonymous said...

Interesting outcome statement of the test: "Did not reduce by more than 50%" How much did it reduce it by? We only know how much it doesn't reduce it by.
Did the study say what percentage the mask wearing did reduce? Because if the test showed a 30% or 45% reduction that would be incredibly good news for the world right now.

Craig said...

Hi Wade,

Here are some other scientific views regarding the study you cite.

"This study poses a serious risk of mistranslation, in part due to misleading statements about what the study actually measures in the protocol paper and trial registration. To most decision-makers, null or too-small effects will be misinterpreted to mean that masks are ineffective. However, the more accurate translation is that this study is uninformative regarding the benefits (or lack thereof) of wearing masks outside of the healthcare setting. As such, we caution decision-makers and the media from interpreting the results of this trial as being anything other than artifacts of weak design."


"Even the lead researcher argues that such an assertion is misconstruing science, while other public health experts assert that the study has serious design flaws."


Unknown said...

Seems the Danish study does recommend masks.

Rex Ray said...


Enjoyed the singing of Down East Boys.

Judy said no one would believe this, but I’m going to tell it anyway.

This morning while sitting in front of the computer, I could see partly through a window. Our rocking chair was rocking really big on our porch. I got up to see what was making it rock. It was a squirrel.

Christiane said...

I don't even know who to address this comment to, but it is heart-breaking. I do know that those 'on the front-lines' have received much criticism and are over-whelmed with work, but our country is in trouble on so many levels now and this is getting out into the international community as to what is happening here in our heartland:

"London Daily Mail, “South Dakota ER nurse says some COVID-19 patients insist the virus isn’t real even as they’re dying from it, spending their final breaths ‘filled with anger and hatred’ rather than saying goodbye to their families.”

Politicizing the virus has hurt people a lot. I do not doubt it has led to people dying who 'trusted' in information that did not serve them. I don't 'blame' anyone for unknowingly passing on disinformation, but it apparently has been done with consequences that are so sad for our people.

The virus doesn't care 'red' or 'blue' or 'other', it is a virus. Our medical people and resources are strained and could use some support now. For their sake and the sake of their patients, please be careful about what we give credence to, as there are consequences that are important.

A profound Judeo-Christian and American concept:
Please, dear people, don't let this valued American 'norm' be destroyed by the cancer that dis-information has become.

Anonymous said...


Wade Burleson said...

Some interesting links, Sojourner. Thank you.

Wade Burleson said...


If an EMPLOYER mandates wearing a mask, it would seem to me that one has only one of two choices. Wear the mask or quit. Thankfully, the Leadership Team (board) that works with me and the employees that work for them (the Leadership Team) agree with me. HOWEVER, if an employee chooses to wear a mask, we never shame, denigrate, or discourage. We respect, support, and empower. I think that's the way it should be in every business and agency, but I must be an odd duck.

Wade Burleson said...

Pastor Clark,

"Mitigate the spread." A great phrase. I'm not sure I disagree with anything you have written. Washing hands, keeping distance, wearing a mask may ALL "mitigate the spread." I believe what I am saying that a vaccine will "mitigate the spread" too. But every single person on the planet will most likely at some time catch Covid-19. You are spot on that masks are not a CURE. Neither is a vaccine. Everyone gets the flu and an influenza vaccine has been out for years.

I am simply saying that the DANGEROUS and DAMAGING effects of MANDATING choices of individual people far outweigh any benefit. The Covid-19 vaccine is an RNA vaccination - something that has never been attempted in the history of the WORLD. It messes with your DNA. Are there any long-term effects from an RNA vaccination? I don't know. I do understand that viruses that move from the animal kingdom to humans require hundreds and hundreds of years for that transfer. But the RNA vaccination is created using chimpanzee and aborted human tissue, so the fix/mix is in. Will the government FORCE a vaccination? Will the government FORCE papers (or a chip) to instantly read your health and track your location to "mitigate the spread." Maybe. I have NEVER been anti-VAX - ever - but this particular vaccination is one that I am taking the position of "wait and see." The moment I'll be FORCED to take it is the moment that I will say NO because just like a mask, I am NOT anti-mask, I am against anti-FORCE or anti-MANDATE. I know what's best for me, and I will politely say "No" to others who think they know better than I.

Makes sense?

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Wilkins,

Herd immunity is the question and the reason 50% is the number. If a nation reduces by .05% to 50% it makes no difference.

It must be 50% to reach herd immunity, the goal of public health.

Reach it naturally or reach it through a vaccine.

Those are your two answers. Wearing a mask only delays till a vaccine or not wearing a mask causes a community to reach 50% spread. If you are quite comfortable putting hope in a vaccine, great! I believe you will find a vaccination has the potential to do more damage in the long-term than you might comprehend, including the introduction of other viruses from the animal kingdom world.

God has given us a tremendous ability to adapt via our human body especially when we eat well, exercise, and take appropriate natural vitamins. It takes some time, and any new disease will bring death to some.

It's the nature of the world in which we live.

I am not anti-vax at all. Never have been, never will be. I am just cautioning people against putting more hope in what others tell you than making decisions for yourself.

Unknown said...

I understand your admonition to ‘lay down [our] rights,” but what is your exit strategy to mandating masks? When would you encourage others to take them off? Even if COVID goes away, you (and the government) might ask us to forever ‘lay down our rights’ to prevent anyone from ever getting a cold, the flu, or any airborne disease so that we can ‘love our neighbor’ better. Then you might ask us to “place the welfare of the community above [our] individual liberty” by not driving unnecessarily, say to pick up a pizza when we have food at home or taking a vacation, since the frivolous trip could result in injury or death to another person, and ‘melts the ice caps’ too. Where does it end?

The Left has made it clear they will continually demand we lay down our rights — to ‘prevent global warming,’ prevent someone from being offended, or stop ‘White privilege.’ In short, the attitude you voiced plays into the hands of those who are demanding we lay down ALL of our rights for their vision of the greater good, which is of course the Greater Evil. I fail to see how such a position differs from theirs. Freedom always comes at a cost to ourselves and those around us, but it brings far greater benefits. Until someone can elucidate a clear plan, and instill confidence in their good intentions, I will serve my community by standing for Freedom, and ‘lay down my rights’ by risking scorn standing up to tyranny as I walk maskless through an airport or grocery store or even just outside in many of our major cities. It seems like the easy way would be to just give in and justify it. The hard way seems more loving.

Christiane said...


am wondering, this:

would you be amenable to taking a rapid-result test prior to walking 'maskless through an airport or grocery store" ?

the reason I ask is because we cannot ASSUME that without symptoms of covid-19 virus, we do not carry the virus itself and, IF we are carriers, we are very capable of infecting those around us whose 'air we share'. . . .

it's a question that requires us to examine the depth of our responsibility to innocent people in the midst of a 'pandemic' where it is KNOWN that the virus is highly contagious and that some may carry the virus not knowing that they ARE carriers who are potentially harmful to those in small quarters if there is exposure, as the virus is air-borne primarily.

Having 'choices' is a special kind of freedom and we Americans revel in it, yes. But sometimes those 'choices' don't all seem as harmless to ourselves AND TO OUR NEIGHBORS as we imagine and ASSUME. So if we know this, and are warned, we have the CHOICE to test ourselves to make sure we are not at risk to others knowingly. And THEN, we can 'freely' choose to go without a mask, OR to wear one in solidarity with those who can't get a rapid-response test and REFUSE to ASSUME they are not 'angels of death' to innocent people at risk . . .

some thoughts - we have 'feelings', but we also live by 'codes' of what is 'ethically the right thing to do under certain circumstances' and unfortunately for us Americans, the covid-19 crisis has a property of being able to be spread by some who ARE carriers but are not showing symptoms. . . .

ethics? Christian ethics? Or Judeo-Christian, if you will, that 'to save the life of even one person is to save the world entire'

think about it, no need to respond or 'answer to me', no
but if you will think about it, you might be more able to 'walk maskless' in an enclosed public area with MORE confidence that you have done all you could do to care for 'your neighbor' in the way Our Lord taught us to do

Author Dee Ann Miller said...

Better to stick to the message we are called to: Love One Another."
After all, that's what masks are about. We do not wear them to protect ourselves, but others (the "least of these, my brethren")--since so many of us are running around, asymptomatic, spreading the pandemic to the most vulnerable.

Wade Burleson said...

Dee Ann Miller,

Love rejoices in the truth. If I believe the entire public is believing a lie that I must wear a mask to keep them alive - rather than the truth that God alone is the author of life and the giver of breath - then I am perpetrating a lie and enabling belief in a lie.

The most loving thing I could ever do is live the truth.

That IS my lane. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Author Dee Ann Miller said...

Masks are tools that show our love and obedience to scientific authorities. There is no theological basis for ignoring such authority. Neither is there a political one. It is a public health mandate.

Science is a gift. Our faith in God should never negate our faith in scientific proofs. There is a co-existence in the life-giving truths that are born from both science and theology. Our understanding and knowledge is progressive, never anti-intellectual.

How dare we, as professionals, ignore science and the God-given wisdom that comes from it! Especially in a pandemic. As a public health nurse, I've been called to speak out and to set the example for others as we labor together to control this deadly virus, which is more rampant today than it has ever been. As a minister of the Gospel, my husband feels it is equally his calling to do the same for those that look to him as a role model.