Southern Baptist leaders in Louisiana this week committed to wearing masks and urged Baptists across the state to join them in this “simple thing” to fight coronavirus.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, issued a statewide mask mandate, but state Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican who recently tested positive for the virus, argues it’s unconstitutional.
The Baptist letter encouraging the wearing of masks was signed by the executive director and president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, presidents of Louisiana College and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, executive directors of the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home and Louisiana Baptist Foundation, and editor of the Baptist Message.
Here is the full text of the letter:
A Simple Thing…
We want COVID to go away.
We want to do what we’ve done before, flatten the curve, and slow the spread.
We’ve been directed to assist in this effort by doing a simple thing — wear a mask.
So, we’re committed to do this simple thing and encourage you to join us.
We will wear masks because we believe it is the right thing to do. We understand it does not protect us from contracting COVID-19, but it might prevent us from giving it to someone else.
We will wear masks to hopefully lighten the load for medical professionals who are being overwhelmed with the number of patients coming for care.
We will wear masks to hopefully and prayerfully expedite a return to full capacity in our buildings.
We will wear masks to help the small business owners who are struggling to keep their doors open.
We will wear masks so our children can return to school, play sports, and do all the the things children normally do.
We’ve been directed to do a simple thing and we believe it syncs with the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the believers in Philippi, “be humble and consider others more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
Jesus called it being a good neighbor.
So, would you join us in this simple thing and “mask up?”
We also encourage you to join us in “praying up.” Governor Edwards, at the suggestion of a pastor, is asking people to participate in a three-day fast, July 20-22. We encourage all Louisiana Baptists to participate as you’re able.
When natural disasters strike, Louisiana Baptists roll up our sleeves and do the hard work of mudding out, feeding, removing debris, and more. Now is the time for us to do a simple thing, wear a mask, and by doing so we can help combat this pandemic that has disrupted our lives.
Together with brothers and sisters across the state, let’s pray for God’s intervention in halting this virus.
Louisiana Baptists, we will do this simple thing and we urge you to join us.