The COVID-19 pandemic has instilled fear in the hearts of many Americans. Since the pandemic began, there have been numerous mandates attempting to dictate how we must live our lives that have mostly been made out of fear. Experts predicted up to 10 percent of people who got COVID-19 would die from the virus, but that was not the case. Today, over 99 percent survive with most never showing symptoms from the virus.
In municipalities and states across the country, one can be fined hundreds of dollars for going out in public without a face mask. In Tulsa, not wearing a mask in public carries the same penalty as criminal trespassing, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct or similar offenses.
In Kentucky, a couple was placed on house arrest and forced to wear ankle monitors because they refused to sign documents requiring daily check-ins with their local health department and limit their travel anywhere after one of them tested positive for COVID-19.
Businesses were deemed either “essential” or “non-essential” and only “essential” businesses were allowed to remain open. These forced closures decimated livelihoods and many businesses many never reopen. How can we let the government decide what is essential to us? A business that is considered “non-essential” to one person might be an essential part of another person’s life. The government should never be picking winners and losers.
In times of crisis, our country has always turned to the Lord and prayed for strength and healing. Because the government decided our churches were “non-essential,” they had to shut their doors when we needed them most. For me and most Oklahomans, church is an essential part of our lives. It’s absurd some leaders across the country have said it’s okay to gather in large groups to protest, but not in a church to pray and worship together.
Where does it stop? Our constitutional rights and freedoms don’t disappear because we are afraid of the unknown. The fears COVID-19 has created cannot compromise the basic fundamentals of our country.
Wearing a face mask should be a personal choice, not a government mandate. If businesses and other entities want to require a face mask for entry into their establishment or make people sit 6 feet apart, then that is their right. It’s not the government’s place to mandate what we have to do to be able to leave our homes or tell us that we can’t go to a place of worship to pray during a national crisis.
Americans are resilient and we always rise to the occasion. We need to come together to help our country, our state, our communities, and our neighbors through this tough time, not let it divide us. Remember, this country was built on the ability to choose.
President Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. It has to be fought for and defended by each generation.” We cannot let our fear cause us to sacrifice our freedom.