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When Masks Become A Religious Talisman

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“Thou shall not give up the mask,” has apparently become an 11th commandment in the Covid era.

National Propaganda Radio (NPR) reported Tuesday that Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch refused to mask up on the bench during in-person oral arguments earlier this month despite being seated next to Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Sotomayor is diabetic, placing her at higher risk from Covid-19. Her colleague’s refusal to wear a face mask, the story went, kept the associate justice from attending oral arguments over President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for large corporate employers in person. Sotomayor attended remotely from her chambers instead.

“Gorsuch, from the beginning of his tenure, has proved a prickly justice, not exactly beloved even by his conservative soulmates on the bench,” wrote NPR’s Nina Totenberg, whose story’s narrative chronicled a panel of justices not getting along.

The Supreme Court released a rare joint statement from the justices themselves Wednesday that debunked Totenberg’s reporting, both the anecdotal tale on masks and the vehement personal animosity they supposedly hold for each other.

“Reporting that Justice Sotomayor asked Justice Gorsuch to wear a mask surprised us. It is false. While we may sometimes disagree about the law, we are warm colleagues and friends,” the statement from Gorsuch and Sotomayor read.

Chief Justice John Roberts later clarified further.

“I did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other Justice to wear a mask on the bench,” Roberts said in a separate statement to reporters.

Despite on-the-record statements from each participant, NPR stood by its reporting, and published its own “clarification” Thursday night.

“Totenberg’s story merits a clarification, but not a correction,” the government-funded outlet explained, which cast blame on poor word choice, adding, “no one has challenged the broader focus of Totenberg’s original story, which asserts that the justices in general are not getting along well.”

Except part two of the joint statement from Sotomayor and Gorsuch emphasizes, “While we may sometimes disagree about the law, we are warm colleagues and friends.”

Journalistic integrity aside, that Gorsuch’s refusal to wear a costume in the court had become such major news spawning outrage is a testament to the religious adherence with which masks have been adopted.

“I mean, how do you live with yourself?” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow wrote of Gorsuch on Twitter.

Cloth masks in public quickly transformed from vital tools of viral mitigation to markers of a political stripe as their uselessness became recognized.

Even their most ardent defenders demanding endless mask mandates have conceded their ineffectiveness in an effort to demand stricter protocols with tighter masks that wrinkle the face. Within a year of the pandemic’s inception, cloth masks in public became no different than the passive progressivism embedded in gender pronoun bios: pointless in reality, but central to their users’ identity.

No small part of the population was addicted to signaling their moral superiority even preceding the pandemic.

From pronoun bios to pink vagina hats, face masks are merely the latest and most aggressive form of religious ritual clothing adopted by left-wing activists hooked on the public display of their supposed virtue, no matter their utility. Never mind one’s status of immunity, whether it be from man-made vaccines or prior infection.

The outrage from NPR and others wasn’t so much about Sotomayor’s decision to preside isolated in her own chamber after Gorsuch’s apparent dismissiveness as it was a manufactured scandal to go after a conservative justice for his heresy against the 11th commandment.