Exclusive: Talk With Christian Influencer Who Technically Didn’t Say You Shouldn’t Wear A Mask
Samantha Anderson is a senior and a member of various campus ministries at the University of Iowa. She’s pursuing a marketing degree and an event planning certificate and in her spare time she’s the social media personality behind the blog “Salt, Light, & Coffee”. Her posts have earned her a significant following, but also a small wave of backlash after a post on her Instagram gathered attention Thursday night.
“It’s important to remember the real battle we are fighting right now,” Anderson wrote in the caption of her post. “We are not fighting for masks or health or wellness. We are fighting an eternal battle for souls. So if you’re telling someone to wear a mask, are you glorifying God? Or are you making an idol out of surviving a pandemic?”
It didn’t take long for the post to gain the attention of the rest of the student body. “I was disgusted,” said sophomore Beth Livingston. “Her page is an aesthetic nightmare. The graphic design is way too basic Canva for me to repost on my story. And it was anti-masker shit, which isn’t great.”
Our reporter, Angelina Grayson, reached out to Anderson about the controversy. Anderson appeared on Zoom in a minimalist bedroom, painted entirely white with one letter board and one hanging ivy plant visible in the background.
Angelina Grayson: Thanks so much for joining me, Samantha. I had the chance to read a lot of your blog and Instagram posts. There’s a lot of content here about resisting “temptation”. You sure are skilled at making it difficult to tell whether you’re talking about makeup or TV or masturbation.
Samantha Anderson: Thanks!
AG: So, your recent post has people talking. Some have said it’s irresponsible of you to minimize the need to wear masks during a pandemic. Would you like to speak about that?
SA: Absolutely. So, a misconception I’d like to clear up is that I’m not denying science. I’m not saying that people aren’t getting sick or aren’t dying. I’m not saying anyone shouldn’t wear a mask. I’m just not telling anyone what to believe. I don’t think it’s right to do that.
AG: Sorry, don’t you belong to a religious tradition that has conquered and murdered and raped and colonized in order to force people to believe in its God?
SA: Well, that’s an interesting separate discussion, but that wasn’t me who did those things. All I’m saying is it isn’t okay to make someone feel bad for not wearing a mask. It might be just as bad, actually.
AG: I’d like to mention your most recent blog post, “How to Honor God In Your Fashion Choices.”
AG: Can you tell me a bit about why it’s okay to tell women not to wear things that are tight or low cut if it isn’t okay to tell someone to wear a mask?
SA: Of course. So that’s a case of it being something that makes somebody else stumble, right? Like, boys have a responsibility to not be lustful, absolutely, but girls have to make sure they’re not making them be lustful. So you have to dress modestly so they’re not tempted.
AG: I see. So it’s about the impact of what you wear on other people.
SA: Yes, exactly. We look out for each other by not tempting each other to sin.
AG: Okay. Research has shown that whether you wear masks also has an impact on other people. It can protect them from getting sick or from giving the virus to someone who might die from it. So the question I have is: why aren’t you more concerned about the spread of the virus?
SA: Well, I wouldn’t say I’m not concerned about it. I hate being sick just like anyone else does. The thing is that the battle for souls is so much more important than this earthly life.
AG: Can you expand on that?
SA: If someone doesn’t accept Jesus, they’re going to go to hell and suffer complete separation from God for the rest of eternity. That’s much more serious than anything that could ever happen to us here. It’s terrible that some people have died of COVID, but it’s even more terrible when someone doesn’t have Jesus and we don’t fight for them and they aren’t saved. When you have an eternal mindset, it just all seems so insignificant. It’s okay if we think differently about these little things.
AG: Wow. That seems like it would be a really heavy emotional burden to carry.
SA: I suppose.
AG: You’d probably want everyone to stay alive as long as possible, then, right? Just in case they came around in time?
SA: Well, yeah.
AG: Shouldn’t we all wear masks, then?
At this point, our reporter gave up. The day after the interview, Anderson noticed the COVID-19 informational notice attached to some of her Instagram posts and began a campaign against censorship, declaring it to be an act of persecution of Christians by the social media platform.