A Republican state lawmaker in Ohio says he won’t wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic because it covers the face, which is the “likeness of God.”
Nino Vitale, who serves in the state’s House of Representatives, says he’s not planning to follow guidance from Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, who first tried to order that masks be worn as the state reopens, but later softened that to a recommendation.
DeWine said he reversed himself because too many people found an order requiring masks to be “offensive.”
Vitale appears to be among the offended, writing on Facebook:
This is the greatest nation on earth founded on Judeo-Christian Principles. One of those principles is that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. That image is seen the most by our face. I will not wear a mask.
He also posted in a video in which he states that humans are “created in the image and likeness of God.”
“When we think of image, do we think of a chest or our legs or our arms?” he asked. “We think of their face. I don’t want to cover people’s faces, Jim. That’s the image of God right there and I want to see it in my brothers and sisters.”
Vitale, who lives in Urbana, also urged communities to ignore Dr. Amy Acton, the state public health director, and reopen, dismissing precautions about the virus as “fear and propaganda” and insisting that COVID-19 is “more like the flu.”
It is not like the flu, according to public health experts.
Ohio has had more than 20,000 infections and over 1,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.
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