Tennessee Mayor Won't Issue A Mask Order Until The Holy Ghost Tells Him To
Bill Newman, who is the Mayor of Lincoln County, Tennessee and is not the guy who played Mr. French, has not issued a mask mandate, despite the recent surge in cases across the country. Is it because the county has not had that many cases and is relatively fine right now? Not so much. 1,300 of the 34,000 people who live in the county have had the virus so far, and with the way things are going right now, that number will likely go up.
So why isn't he issuing a mandate just yet? Well, he says he believes that masks stop the spread of the virus, so it isn't that. Heck, as a veterinarian, he is a man of science. It is because the Holy Ghost has not personally come to him and said "Hey Bill Newman, Mayor of Lincoln County, Tennessee and not Mr. French, you should issue a mask mandate!"
"(The virus) is science and it's true and I do believe masking helps prevent the spread of it," Newman said. "But I don't feel I should mandate people wearing masks at this time."
Newman said he keeps up with the COVID-19 numbers in Lincoln County, directly north of Huntsville, Ala., where he is chief executive in a Tennessee system that has county mayors to run the state's smaller counties.
Lincoln County is mostly rural with about 34,000 residents, and Newman said about a third of those head south to Huntsville and Madison County every day for work. It is Trump Country with 78 percent of its vote on Nov. 3 going to the president and it has had 1,322 COVID cases since the pandemic began, according to state numbers.
Newman said he takes any big decision to God for guidance. And in his Baptist denomination, Newman said, that guidance comes from the Holy Spirit. "The Holy Spirit dwells within us," Newman said. "It's a heart thing. It's not a mind thing. But you're using all your God-given (talents), your physical or mental or spiritual, all those things. When I pray for guidance, I may not know the answer immediately."
Now, I don't know a whole lot about religion. I had to Google to find out if there is a difference between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost (I've always heard Holy Ghost! Maybe it is a regional thing?) and there is not (I am sticking with Holy Ghost because it sounds more fun than Holy Spirit). But if there is one thing I do know about the Holy Ghost, it is that it basically invented social distancing.
Like, literally, that is the one thing I know.
And, again, I am fairly ignorant on these subjects, but it does seem super weird to me that people who follow a religion founded by a dude who got nailed to a cross — and willingly! — are such wusses about wearing a mask. What Would Jesus Do, indeed! I mean, didn't Christians used to wear hair shirts and things to prove how holy they were? Could we tape some cat hair to the inside of the masks and then tell them they would be, like, the holiest people ever if they wore said masks to the supermarket?
Some other Christians seemed to agree with me, and questioned why Newman would think the Holy Spirit/Ghost/Poltergeist/Whatever would want people to get sick in the first place.
VIA CBS News19:
"I don't feel comfortable at all and yes it's very worrisome," said Brad Bates of Fayetteville. "Not following the science, and taking actions to protect other people, doesn't feel very Christian to me."
Meanwhile on social media, a Facebook Group called MaskUpLincolnCounty has amassed over 280 followers and is on a mission to change people's attitudes. One person posting about the mayor said, "The Holy Spirit will never advise us to do anything harmful to others. He is making a mockery of it."
I mean ... it does seem odd. Like what does Newman think the Holy Ghost's motive would be, re: opposing a mask mandate? Also isn't the Holy Ghost supposed to also be Jesus? Which would mean that Newman thinks it would maybe say "Hmmm... I don't know. Crucifixion is one thing, but wearing a mask? Little uncomfortable, don't you think? Super nice ascot you got there, though."
This has given me a lot to think about.
Anyway, this is now your open thread! Enjoy! Talk amongst yourselves!
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse