By Prince C. Kamara
Church worshippers say the use of face mask in worshipping, singing and praising God is counterproductive as the face mask does no stifle one’s breathing but also blocks the voice of singers.
Singing, clapping and dancing feature majorly in churches, especially Pentecostal churches across Sierra Leone, while Anglican, Methodist and other conventional churches use songs accompanied by various instruments to worship God.
Although the recent re-opening of churches announced by President Bio as part of relaxing some COVID-19 measures to make the lives of the people better; many Christians have raised serious concern over the face mask measure. According to the president, all worshippers must have face masks on throughout the length of the service. This, most of the Christians that spoke with this press say is not only harmful to their health but inconvenient because it (face mask) restricts the voice of singers.
A female lawyer (who pleaded anonymity) said she is totally disappointed over the measures to be observed by worshippers in churches and mosques as they reopen on Monday 13th July. “How can you expect choristers and praise and worship teams to sing and worship while wearing face mask? It is a very suffocating experience and can even be unhealthy,” the lawyer added. She went on to say that even the World Health Organization (WHO) had underlined the fact that face masks have the tendency of infecting people who use them for hours on end; the reason why WHO had advised that face masks must only be used at particular times and not for a length of time as this can infection as well.
Several other Christians who spoke with this press observed that when singing, the lungs and other organs enabling a person to sing need sufficient oxygen but that the use of face mask hinders a person from inhaling sufficient oxygen and also hinders exhaling which causes shortness of breath, the worshippers claimed.
They added that with face mask, choristers and song leaders as well as members of the congregation will experience difficulty while singing because face masks have the potential of causing suffocation especially for people who have respiratory issues.
They urged the government to look into this with the objective of restricting the use of face masks in churches because its use could be detrimental to the health of Christians who praise and worship God with songs while clapping and dancing and for this, they need all the energy and oxygen they can muster.