Our Governor pulled back COVID-19 restrictions and our mask mandate today. But, this is what our data says:

◾ We are at a high-risk level of an outbreak. We are one of 8 states in that level of an outbreak.

◾ Of the top 20 counties in the US with the highest recent number of cases per capita, Texas has 11 of those counties.

◾ Texas cases per capita ranks #8 of ALL states and ranks very close to the other states above it. Look at the picture to see how close.

◾ Texas deaths per capita ranks #7 of ALL states and ranks close to the other states above it.

◾ We just came out of a massive winter storm which delayed vaccines and testing. A winter storm which knocked out power and water for millions, greatly affecting our lower-income neighbors.

◾ In the state, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths disproportionally affect BIPOC communities.

◾ In the state, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths disproportionally affect our lower-income neighbors in the state.

When did this become an either/or situation? We can do both – protect businesses and people’s lives. This is not hard and should not be a choice between masks versus businesses – or restrictions versus businesses. I’m frustrated today that the conversation has become dichotomous to the extremes when it doesn’t have to be. When the conversation becomes dichotomous to the extremes, lots of people in the middle suffer. But, it disproportionally affects those already on the margins to a greater degree. Public health is protecting the health of the public – all of the public and includes people’s livelihoods.

But, the toll of the pandemic is not equal in the state. If we now have to rely on personal responsibility in the state to protect one another, will we do that? Will we value collective solidarity and loving our neighbors (ALL of our neighbors)? I will and hope you will too. People’s lives and livelihoods depend on it.


***If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know that I often write from a Christian faith perspective. I don’t do this to be exclusionary and I hope it doesn’t come across that way. I do this since that’s the main group I get pushback from and as a Christian/pastor’s wife myself. For Christians in the state, the Good Samaritan story is about not walking by when we see the vulnerable, the marginalized. We have a personal choice to not walk by with our actions in the coming days.

Who is the neighbor? – https://tinyurl.com/y9ykykve See below for more sources on faith, masks, etc.


https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html https://covidtracking.com/data/state/texas


✅ CHURCH SOURCES: 1. What if Christians led the way out of this? Redefining our freedom according to the Cross-https://tinyurl.com/y2qoow7t 2. How to navigate church in a pandemic based on data.https://tinyurl.com/y9gpyte2 3. Who is the neighbor? – https://tinyurl.com/y9ykykve 4. Faith over fear: Including a discussion on John MacArthur – https://tinyurl.com/yxsaatcf 5. Masks are faith-filled and faith-ful. Faith-filled is about us. Faith-ful is about the neighbor. Both/And are important. The distinction matters. https://tinyurl.com/y2od5n6f 6. Recommendations for church in the midst of a surge – https://tinyurl.com/y6ez4ydx 7. Church video – Church and COVID: A Conversation with Dr. Emily Smith – https://tinyurl.com/y3gqefht 8. The Capitol Riots and the thread – https://tinyurl.com/y6y3oxr7 9. Let’s make room – my reflections on Advent – https://tinyurl.com/ydgx77tg

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Kim Thompsen

    I have family in Texas. No doubt some of them will applaud Abbotts move. I hope they do continue to wear masks, not out if duty to the law, but because of love for neighbor.

    1. Shara

      So what if that “neighbor” is starved for human interaction and feels loved when people treat them like a human being and not a virus?

      1. Kim Thompsen

        The good news is that while wearing masks and social distancing, we can still interact and socialize.

  2. KIMBERLY Byrne

    Welcome to the frustration of living under a governor and state govt that does not follow science (I am in florida). You have no idea how much I love your column and I LOVE that you are christian and that you bring it in to your writings- I thank you for that 100%! You have no idea how that has helped me w my christian conservative neighbors who dismiss science. Thank you. Kim

  3. rtrube54

    Thanks for this. Ohioans are already pressuring our governor to follow your governor’s example.

  4. Suzanne Martin

    Will we value collective solidarity and loving our neighbors (ALL of our neighbors)?


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