One Alaska Christian’s response to the mask mandate discord

With all the recent discord over how to best respond to the COVID-19 case increase in Anchorage and masking, I’m feeling strongly compelled to reach out to Christian believers in Anchorage and ask all to consider a “level-setting” of thoughts, words, and deeds with respect to the volatile issue over COVID-19 and local government’s approach to managing health risk.

Disclaimer: I don’t consider myself a political activist, but I do believe in engaging with my community to make our community a better place. That said, I won’t put higher emphasis on civil rights matters versus my faith and the example Christ Jesus gave me to follow. To do so, I believe, would compromise my witness and testimony to others and lessen what Christ’s intent and purpose was for this world.

If anyone takes stock in the Bible (to me, God’s inspired Word), and specifically the account of Christ’s ministry leading up to and through His crucifixion at the cross as a perfect sacrifice for mankind’s sin, then those individuals should make note that Christ did not come to the world to raise and debate “civil rights” violations in His day.

Instead, He trusted in God the Father’s sovereignty and stayed focused on the Godly purpose of sharing a greater message of repentance and pursuit of restored righteousness. His greater message came not because people were oppressed from civil rights violations, but because peoples needed something greater then a local, state or federal government’s efforts looking to address physical health and “civil rights” issues.

Admittedly, in Jesus’ time, there was severe persecution of people’s civil rights, going far beyond personal choice infringement and mask mandates. Anyone taking stock in His message, I’d encourage and plead with you to steer clear of placing greater attention to the civil rights concerns over masking, versus what mankind’s heart is in real need of — His grace and mercy, without respect to perceived civil rights violations.

Receiving His grace and mercy, for me personally, makes the debate of “civil rights” violations moot. I’m secure in His sovereignty, His grace and mercy, and His love to the point of dying on a cross without crime/cause. I cannot find anywhere in Christ’s testimony and message where he placed greatest emphasis on mankind’s “civil rights.” His focus was higher and eternal.

I’m saddened for all of Anchorage (believer and non-believer) that greater emphasis from any believer is possibly being placed on civil rights that take away attention to Christ’s calling that we profess to follow. As Christians, we’re called to follow Christ’s example in humility — agreed?


Steven Vandagriff is a U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. (Retired), currently working as a project manager. He lives in Anchorage.

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