It is common for some fundamentalists to label things that they believe to be Un-Christian as “Satanic”. The term is a hot religious button that is in many ways the Christian equivalent of swearing and is often expressed in the heat of the moment. This latest bit of news however, takes it all to an entirely new level. An official lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania by several religious parents against a mask mandate policy by the Central Bucks School district has declared the mask mandate to be a “Satanic Ritual”
What do we learn from this document?
This 64 page lawsuit, (yes really, 64 pages), was filed on 30th September by four parents on behalf of eight children.
Objections raised include familiar complaints …
- Page 6 – “masks are being used as a control mechanism over the populace”
- Page 7 “requirement to wear masks has impacted D.H’s ability to learn in the classroom because D.H. has hearing difficulties“
Then we get to this.
The Page 7 Gem
This is a lawsuit written on their behalf and filed in court by a legal firm. It is claiming not only that wearing masks stops their kids promoting Jesus, but also that the wearing of a mask is a “Satanic Ritual”.
It also claims that the school district has no legal authority to impose a mask mandate. That argument, and only that argument, is the real legal question here. Everything else, such as this “satanic ritual” claim is just noise.
I can perhaps speculate that their lawyer might have advised them, “Er … don’t say that“. However, even if that was said, we should also remember that when it comes to lawyers there is what is known as the legal golden rule – the client has the gold and so what they want written is what is written.
The “masks are satanic” claim is not new and tends to pop up within various school board meetings these days. That’s because these have evolved into a forum that have become a bit of a magnet for religious nutters and conspiracy theorists. This however is not that, but is instead a lawsuit.
Pro Tip: Anybody who claims, “I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but …”, is usually a conspiracy theorist.
Is Mask Wearing really a Satanic Ritual”?
Philadelphia City Life ran a story about this lawsuit. To fact check they reached out to the Church of Satan and asked if mask wearing was indeed one of their rituals.
They did what?
Yes really, they contacted the “Church of Satan”, and asked. Here is how they reported that encounter…
…we reached out to the Reverend Raul Antony, spokesperson for the official Church of Satan. “No, simply ‘wearing a mask’ is not a Satanic ritual, and anyone that genuinely thinks otherwise is a blithering idiot,” Antony informed Philly Mag on Thursday. “More often than not, these people don’t actually believe that, but just label anything they don’t like as ‘Satanic’. Our rituals are easily available in Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Rituals and on our website.”
Side Note: The Church of Satan does not actually believe in or worship Satan. I get the impression that they simply exist under this banner to piss off the evangelicals and generally troll them. In other words, it is this, “Oh, so you want to shove your beliefs on me, then here are mine”.
Masks – There exists a duty of Care
I really don’t need to say this, but for completeness, let’s briefly cover it.
We have all seen the body count of over 730,000 dead people. Every single one is somebody’s mum, or dad, or brother, or sister. Mask mandates exist to keep everybody that remains safe. Anything and everything should be done to prevent the spread of infection. Those in a position of responsibility for others have an ethical and moral duty of care.
Some might indeed argue that it is highly improbable for kids that young to die (it does happen and is becoming more common). That however is not the key concern with mask mandates in schools. COVID is infectious, especially the delta variant. Mask mandates are deployed as a barrier to stop COVID flowing into schools and then on out across the community.
Harvard Medical School (Oct 15): Children and the Spread of COVID-19 …
“Kids with COVID-19, even if asymptomatic, are infectious and can harbor SARS-CoV-2 variants. Variants could potentially impact both the severity of the disease and the efficacy of vaccines, as we are seeing with the Delta variant. When we cultured the live virus, we found a wide variety of genetic variants,” added Yonker. “New variants have the potential to be more contagious and also make kids sicker.”
Yonker emphasized that the group’s findings reinforce the importance of masking for children: “The implications of this study show that masking and other public health measures are needed for everyone — children, adolescents, and adults — to get us out of this pandemic.”
Do Masks Work?
Regardless of what people might sincerely believe, the data is very clear. As an example, an article in Nature goes through it all in detail …
…science supports using masks, with recent studies suggesting that they could save lives in different ways: research shows that they cut down the chances of both transmitting and catching the coronavirus, and some studies hint that masks might reduce the severity of infection if people do contract the disease…
…Another study5 looked at the effects of US state-government mandates for mask use in April and May. Researchers estimated that those reduced the growth of COVID-19 cases by up to 2 percentage points per day. They cautiously suggest that mandates might have averted as many as 450,000 cases, after controlling for other mitigation measures, such as physical distancing.
“You don’t have to do much math to say this is obviously a good idea,” says Jeremy Howard, a research scientist at the University of San Francisco in California…
What should we make of this “Satanic Ritual” mask wearing theology?
One interpretation is that Satan, the supposedly evil one, wants to protect you from COVID and keep you safe. Meanwhile, God, the supposedly good one, would like you to spread COVID as far and wide as possible. Perhaps this God wants all those that believe in him, to be with him ASAP.
I should make it clear that the vast majority of Christians are not anti-science or anti-mask, happily follow the public health guidance without any issue, and encourage others to do the same.
Mask wearing is not just about “me”, but rather is a way to stop the spread and keep everybody within the community a little bit safer.
There are many mandatory regulations that are there for the purpose of keeping everybody safe. Laws that mandate no drinking and driving, laws that mandate working lights on your car, speeding limits, etc…
Those that have strong religious objections to their kids wearing masks as a public safety measure would be utterly horrified if their kid needed some minor surgery and faced a surgeon who refused to scrub up, wear a mask, or follow any of the other well-established principles that have been in common usage for over a century.
You just have to wonder what is going on inside their heads. Do they hear terms such as “Germ Theory”, and dismiss it with this thought – “It’s only a Theory”.
It is of course modern tribalism. For some, not wearing a mask has become a badge that is part of their tribal culture. The tragedy in this instance is that they are willing to literally sacrifice their kids on the altar of their false belief as an offering to appease a god that they believe is demanding this. It is perhaps viewed as something that is akin to an Abraham style test of Faith. This however is not the God that most who do sincerely believe in would recognise, acknowledge, or would ever seek to appease.