Resurrection School face masks mask
A federal appeals court agreed Wednesday to reconsider a challenge to COVID-19 mask orders affecting students, brought by Resurrection School in Lansing, Michigan. (Photo: Resurrection School / Facebook)

Michigan Religious School Challenges COVID Mask Rules, Court to Review

By Associated Press

A federal appeals court agreed Wednesday to reconsider a challenge to COVID-19 mask orders affecting students in a Michigan religious school.

The case involves Resurrection School in Lansing. But any result would cover other faith-based schools in Michigan and set a precedent as well in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, three more states in the 6th Circuit.

Resurrection and some parents sued in 2020, saying a state mask order violated the free exercise of religion, among other objections. A federal judge in Kalamazoo, however, turned down a request for an injunction, and a three-judge panel at the appeals court affirmed his opinion in August.

But the full appeals court now has agreed to set aside the panel’s work and start over.

In seeking a new hearing, attorneys for Resurrection said the panel applied the wrong legal standard last summer. Mandated in certain contexts for public health reasons, face masks have been one of several contentious policy issues during the COVID pandemic.

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“As Catholics, we believe that we are all created in the image and likeness of God,” said Rev. Steve Mattson, pastor of Church of the Resurrection in July, according to news reports. “Masks make it more difficult to interact with others, since the facial expressions are hidden and those who are soft-spoken are difficult to hear and understand.”

The scene has changed some since the lawsuit was filed. The state health department dropped school mask orders, instead deferring to county health departments. Ingham County, where Resurrection is located, is requiring masks in schools.

The COVID-19 vaccine has also been available for months; kids, ages 5-11, were just added to the list. As a result, some counties are planning to drop mask mandates by early 2022, although schools could adopt their own.

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8 thoughts on “Michigan Religious School Challenges COVID Mask Rules, Court to Review”

  1. Dear Resurrection Church, in order to be consistent, please ban sunglasses at all parish events because they also hide facial expressions.

  2. I predict the school will lose, for several reasons. It will become moot and the fact of SCOTUS precedent in Compagnie Francaise de Navigation a Vapeur v. Louisiana Board of Health and Jacobson v. Massachusetts.

  3. Insanity. We are fighting a global pandemic of a deadly airborne virus. Why anyone would oppose measures that reduce the risk of that for everyone is beyond me, and that goes double for anyone who claims to follow Jesus. But here we are in 2021 and we have churches and so-called Christian organizations wielding worldly power not to further the church or the gospel but to go against sound public health practices that are also completely in line with actual faith and the following of Jesus in that they are a tangible way of loving one’s neighbor.

  4. Even if you don’t support the mitigation efforts, you’ve got to roll your eyes at this having anything to do with religious convictions. By their “covering up the image of God” reasoning, we should all be nudists. How is anyone taking this seriously?

    1. Because forced masking comports with your conscience and worldview does not mean it comports with everyone’s (e.g., Roman 14). At minimum, it’s an issue of who has authority over the individual’s physical body, and under what conditions.

      My spouse and I are 100% on board with the school in this case, and wish more religious schools in Illinois would stand against our Governor (J.B. Pritzker) imposing a dress code on private & public schools when he has no authority to do so.

      A summary of our objections to forced masking follow:

      1. The perpetually-covered human face is a distortion of Imago Dei.

      2. When I’m forced, coerced, or guilted into covering all or part of my face, I am robbed of God-given identity, autonomy, and dignity.

      3. Satan delights in the forced, perpetual covering of the human face.

      4. No government official(s) has/have the authority over my physical body to require that I cover all or part of my face as a condition of public or private life.

      5. No church or religious institution/school has the authority over my physical body to request or require that I cover all or part of my face as a condition of in-person attendance or service.

      6. Another person does not have the authority over my physical body to require that I cover all or part of my face as a condition of relationship or interaction.

      7. A desire to cover my face — or for others to cover their faces — in daily activities may be a sign of Pharisaical thinking and/or psychological & spiritual unwellness. 


      Theologian Owen Strachan has spoken very capably on this topic, via his podcast “The Antithesis.” I highly recommend his teaching.

      1. Does Owen actually support these points from the Bible? At first glance, I don’t see these points as supported by scripture.

        1. Strachan approaches the question from the standpoint of who has authority of the individual’s physical body.
          The points above include his points.

          I suggest you listen to the episode, and that you also do a study of when, where, and why – in Scripture – the human face is covered.

          Also a study of sickness and wellness.

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