Mary's Musings: Yes, we have freedom, but not from everything

Mary Stewart,
“Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.” – John B. Finch (1852-1887), American politician and educator who served as chairman of the Prohibition Party

I’m over this year. By far, 2020 has been one of the worst years on record, not just for our country, but around the world.

This pandemic is hard for everyone. Schools are back in session but far from normal, the economy is struggling and the division between those who wear masks versus those who don’t is about as wide as the Grand Canyon.

I get it. I really do. I miss the social clues that come from people’s faces as I walk past them in the store or parking lot. I know sometimes they can get hot and a little uncomfortable.

I’m also aware people who oppose masks are doing so because “it’s infringing on my personal freedom.”

This is where those people and I part ways.

Yes, we have freedom in this country, but those freedoms don’t extend to us disrespecting private property or a requirement some businesses have.

The other week, I had a gentleman requesting I write a story about the Family Dollar store and how they were taking away this man’s freedom.

Turns out, he refused to wear a mask in their store. Requiring shoppers and employees to wear a mask is perfectly legal. I reminded the gentleman that the store was private property, they had every right to enforce the mask requirement and that his right was to walk away and shop somewhere else.

Just because something doesn’t go your way doesn’t mean that your freedoms are being taken away. We need to remember our basic civics lessons which we learned in school.

This also goes for churches who may require a mask to be worn to attend.

I heard mass at the Catholic church wasn’t performed last Saturday evening. When I found out why I was furious.

The Diocese in Cheyenne has made wearing masks a requirement for all Catholic parishes in the state. 

Before mass began, everyone in the church was wearing a mask – everyone but two families who refused to do so.

Father announced mass wouldn’t start until everyone had a mask on. Those two families still refused.

Instead of leaving, and letting everyone there celebrate mass, they chose to berate the priest and others who followed the requirement.

Their selfishness caused the other parishioners to miss out on mass and the holy sacrament of communion. Those two families put their selfishness before God.

There’s no other way around it.

The mask requirement doesn’t infringe on anyone’s rights or freedoms. You have the freedom to follow the rules set by the property owner and the freedom to leave.

I’m tired of people using freedom as an excuse to behave in ways that are absolutely terrible. I’m tired of “my freedom” being the battle cry and excuse for ruining events – like celebrating mass – for others.

Yes, we have freedoms in this country, but we also have responsibilities and need to respect others.

John B. Finch (1852-1887), an American politician and educator who served as chairman of the Prohibition Party once said . . .

“Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.”

To those who weren’t able to celebrate mass last Saturday, I’m sorry. Churches are supposed to be a safe, peaceful and sacred place and I’m sorry a small group of people robbed that peace from you.


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