Louisiana is one of the worst states in the country at getting people to take COVID seriously, with only 37% of people fully vaccinated. One of the reasons for that is Attorney General Jeff Landry, a “pro-life” conservative Christian who is doing everything in his power to make sure people die from the virus.
His latest gambit is offering pre-written exemption forms for anyone who has a philosophical or religious objection to wearing masks in an effort to sabotage Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards‘ indoor mask mandate.
In a letter sent to his employees, Landry (below) said his forms should not be interpreted as “legal advice.” Which basically means these letters are meant to scare educators and employers into permitting unvaccinated people — who have no medical reasons to refuse the shots — to run free and spread the virus.
But just look at his religious exemption form because it tells you a lot about how this is nothing more than political posturing. Landry doesn’t even bother writing a generic form for a religious exemption. Instead, he just has catnip for his gullible evangelical base, full of Biblical references as if he had written a sermon.
I believe that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that I am called to honor God in how I care for my body. See 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. I believe that each person is created in the image of God. See Genesis 1:26. I also believe that people are relational beings and that these relationships mirror the relationship between God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. See Genesis 2:18, Philippians 2:1-4, 1 Corinthians 8:6. I believe that Christians are called to communicate God’s words and message of love to the world. See Luke 9:2.
I also write to state my religious objections to a mask mandate in our school. I do not consent to forcing a face covering on my child, who is created in the image of God. Masks lead to antisocial behaviors, interfere with religious commands to share God’s love with others, and interfere with relationships in contravention of the Bible.
Besides the fact that none of those Bible verses cited have anything to do with a pandemic, Landry accidentally shows the hollowness of using Christianity to oppose mask mandates. Apparently, by wearing masks, Christians become too weak to “share God’s love with others.” I remember a time when only Satan was capable of that, but who knew a piece of cloth could defeat Jesus?
By the way, Philippians 2:3-4 — two verses that are cited in Landry’s letter — say this:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Landry isn’t just violating the Bible’s commands. He’s violating the very verses he’s citing to justify his idiocy.
It’s also telling that Landry’s religious exemption form is only a Christian exemption form. Muslims and Jews can fend for themselves; Landry doesn’t give a shit about them. He’s the perfect example of a “pro-life” politician whose own actions cause death — and a perfect example of a guy conservative Christians elect into office because they really are selfish, ignorant, and cruel. None of them care about helping the state, or making Louisiana better for the “least of these.” They just want to watch people suffer — and Landry gets bonus points for causing that suffering in the name of Christ.
Gov. Edwards can’t stop Landry from spreading misinformation about COVID, but he did push back against anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers like Landry, who released those forms just before Edwards instituted the indoor mask mandate:
“Did you hear a word that was said up here about what’s happening in Louisiana? Do you give a damn?,” Edwards said at Monday’s news conference. “I’ve heard it said often: Louisiana is the most pro-life state in the nation. I want to believe that. It ought to mean something. In this context, it ought to mean something.”
It means nothing. Conservative Christians don’t care if their own negligence and stupidity leads to the deaths of other people. Your life is less important than their faux-freedom. And most of their pastors, who know better, are too cowardly to call them out on it because they don’t want to risk losing members or money. It’s just a massive death-spiral, courtesy of religion.