Christian Colleges: God Wants You to Wear a Mask to Class

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With new campus covenants, dozens of evangelical schools are extending calls to “love your neighbor” to apply to a range of coronavirus safeguards.

At Christian colleges across the country, incoming students pledge to comply with biblical standards for belief and behavior. This year, the appeals to love your neighbor and advance God’s mission have been applied to public health guidelines too, as schools ask students to promise to disinfect their dorm rooms, limit social interactions, and wear masks to class.

While all colleges reopening for in-person classes have issued new policies around the coronavirus, and several Ivy League institutions have similarly developed “social contracts,” the standard health precautions take on a spiritual significance at evangelical schools. The now-familiar instructions are framed by Christian values and lines from Scripture.

“We’re going to return in a way that Christians understand, but the secular world does not. We’re going to return in a covenant together,” Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Al Mohler said in a video introducing the document to be signed by faculty, staff, and students returning to the Louisville, Kentucky, campus this week and next.

Most evangelical schools list the common coronavirus do’s and don’ts: handwashing, keeping a six-foot social distance, wearing masks in class and inside, and monitoring for symptoms. But unlike the straightforward recommendations coming from government officials or medical professionals, the colleges’ policies say that complying is a Christian obligation.

“This is more than just a great idea (for health and safety), it’s something that should resonate deep within us,” said Robert Taylor, dean of students at Dordt University. The topic will also come up in chapel sessions. “We think it’s …

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