Finding Grace at Taco Bell?
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”– Matthew 25:40
The King James Version wording of this text came to mind as I thought about how Deirdre Hairston has described her ejection by police from Mass in March for refusing to wear a mask at Holy Trinity Catholic Church.
The 28-year-old nursing mom told traditionalist Catholicism podcaster Taylor Marshall how officers met her as she returned from receiving Holy Communion.
“You still have the Eucharist, Jesus Christ, still in you, and you are being cast out,” an outraged Marshall said.
An usher followed them out and urged officers to “write her up, write her up,” Hairston added. “He almost kind of reminded me, not to flatter myself, of, “Crucify her! Crucify her!”
When reflecting on “the least of these” Jesus mentions in Matthew 25, I usually think of the homeless, hungry, and imprisoned, rather than the pregnant daughter of a still politically ambitious former state senator.
Marshall thought of the homeless, too, contrasting their treatment with Hairston’s.
“I remember a person, a homeless woman once coming in during Mass and kind of causing a thing, and everyone was pretty delicate and gracious and charitable,” he said.
It wasn’t clear whether Hairston had made anyone at Holy Trinity aware of her need for charity: She often feels light-headed while wearing a mask.
Regardless, it’s not a good look to have a worshiper removed by police during prayer.
Still, what are pastors and ushers to do when someone insists on ignoring a church’s COVID-19 protocols? You don’t have a mask requirement if someone can stay while refusing to comply.
I suggested to my church leaders that we needed to consider how ushers should respond in similar situations. But I was told to trust that people coming to worship would cooperate.
That’s naïve, I fear. Haven’t we all seen videos of angry people berating store employees when told to mask up?
Hairston said she goes along with masking, as needed, everywhere else, but at church, she does not want to “play these, you know, communist games.”
“You are more likely to get treated with Christian charity and grace at a Taco Bell than you are at church, unfortunately,” she claimed.
Beware. If you have an encounter with Hairston, it appears likely that would prove true.
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