Allow us to forgive Sam Oosterhoff for committing the cardinal sin of hypocrisy. Critically.

He has been unmasked — huddling alongside 40 people without face coverings, in defiance of his personal authorities’s tips. A revelation on social media for all to see — a politician of religion dropping face on Fb, till he deleted his photo-op.

The ethical of the story? Do unto others, and breathe unto others, as you’ll have them breathe unto you.

Behold, he has apologized: “I ought to have worn a masks after we took a fast pic, given the proximity of everybody, and I apologize for failing to take action.”

Oosterhoff will not be the primary public determine responsible of a breach of religion, nor will he be the final to stray from the true path. Many federal politicians extra well-known than he — from Andrew Scheer to Patti Hajdu — have revealed themselves as two-faced, exposing their faces in public locations whereas exhorting all others to masks themselves.

Premier Doug Ford has forgiven him his sins. However earlier than this episode is forgotten, Oosterhoff has a possibility to atone — by making amends.

Whereas his religion warns of the Antichrist, Oosterhoff will be the antibody who inoculates all people — the embodiment of an antiviral, a proselytizer in a pandemic, a preacher for true believers, a task mannequin for fellow travellers within the Progressive Conservative motion.

We fear about all those that worship the false idols of immunity and immortality, so who higher than the moralizing Oosterhoff — at all times avowedly pro-life — to take a vow of constancy to save lots of lives in mid-pandemic? Absolutely that’s the ethical of the story right here.

First elected as an MPP in 2016 on the tender age of 19, because of the embrace of the Canadian Reformed Church flock in his Niagara using, he has lengthy worn his religion on his sleeve and put his coronary heart and soul into his politics. Eternally chaste, belatedly chastened, he has now seen the sunshine.

Henceforth, Oosterhoff shall go forth and disseminate the general public well being mission of saving folks from themselves, shielding them from the evil of the virus, the sin of temptation and the folly of defiance within the time of COVID-19. On this matter of life and demise, Oosterhoff might be a real servant of the Lord, not simply Ford.

As a person of religion, who higher to make the case to his fellow worshippers to wish at residence, not in a home of worship?

With COVID-19 circumstances rising inexorably, the hazard is rising in locations the place folks congregate. That’s why you hear public well being officers fretting about “congregate care” in nursing properties, however homes of worship are additionally locations of congregate caring.

That’s why they’re known as congregations. In any case, fellowship is a part of worship in the perfect of instances.

However the worst of instances aren’t any strange instances. Gyms and eating places are dealing with new restrictions, known as upon to make huge financial sacrifices to maintain folks aside.

It’s value asking why church buildings and synagogues, temples and gurdwaras, are nonetheless permitting folks to make sacrifices of themselves in the midst of a plague. Sure, many spiritual leaders insist they’re faithfully following the trail of social distancing, however at a time of heightened nervousness, when public well being officers are demanding most restraint — asking folks to keep away from work and keep at residence — why threat the peril of prayer in public locations?

If folks can keep linked to their pals and officemates remotely through the brand new expertise of Zoom, why not keep linked to God by the timeless miracle of distant prayer? Why threat infecting others by inflicting themselves on a home of worship, moderately than worshipping from residence through Wi-Fi?

Religion calls for sacrifices, however absolutely the lifetime of no human being is value sacrificing to a supreme being. Church choirs have agreed to face down and go silent, in order that we would all sing from the identical track ebook moderately than unfold the satan’s virus, however why are all different congregants free to assemble up shut and in particular person?

There was huge hand-wringing about restrictive guidelines for eating places, however the clasping of arms in public prayer stirs little dialogue in Canada. Throughout the U.S., spiritual teams have pushed again — litigating and congregating in massive numbers towards governing authorities that attempt to restrain or constrain the supposedly inalienable rights of evangelical Christians or ultra-Orthodox Jews — however because the COVID-19 caseload will increase, the time for long-distance praying is definitely drawing nearer.



That’s the dialogue that folks of religion, and politicians of religion, should have. There is no such thing as a higher time than now, after the general public folly of Oosterhoff’s Fb photo-op.

We now know that masks save lives — not only for the wearer however for others within the neighborhood. However we additionally know — now greater than ever — that retaining our distance retains us that a lot safer.

In mid-pandemic, no life is value risking on a wing or a prayer.

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