Florida Governor Ron DeSantis granted clemency on Wednesday night to a Florida couple facing months of jail time over their refusal to mandate patrons wear face masks while exercising at their gym. The governor announced their pardon directly to them while live on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
Mike Carnevale, who appeared on Fox News with his wife Jillian, told Laura Ingraham on Wednesday that Broward County issued an order last year mandating that face coverings had to be worn while exercising in a gym.
The Carnevales refused to enforce this mandate in their gym, which led to their current legal battle.
According to a website set up to support the Carnevales, Mike was first arrested on July 24, 2020 after refusing an order from the county to close their gym. Mike spent 12 hours in jail as a result.
On August 6, 2020, Mike was arrested for a second time after again refusing to close their gym and spent another 12 hours in jail.
One day later, on August 7, Mike and Jillian were both arrested for moving workout equipment into the parking lot of their gym in order to comply with the county’s mask mandate.
“We were arrested three times in total. They seized our business. They offered us 10 days in jail. We declined that and now I’m looking at six months in prison,” Carnevale told Ingraham on Wednesday.
The Carnevale’s lawyer, Cory Strolla, then said that they “have to rely on Governor DeSantis… [because] we’ve got a political activist judge.”
To the Carnevales surprise, Gov. DeSantis then announced that he had been briefed on the case, adding, “I’m glad you have Mike and Jillian on, and I’m also glad to… be able to say that effective tomorrow morning, I am going to sign a reprieve under my constitutional authority, so that will delay the case for 60 days against both of them.”
“Then when our clemency board meets in the coming weeks, we’ll issue pardons not only for Mike and Jillian, but for any Floridian that may have outstanding infractions for things like masks and social distancing,” the governor added.
To that announcement, Mike replied, “Thank you so much Governor DeSantis, we appreciate that a lot.”
Now as Christians, we are all called to obey those whom God has placed in authority over us.
Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (ESV).
However, this has been made more difficult over the past year, when those in positions of authority seem to have taken every side of every issue, especially with regard to face masks.
First, Americans were urged not to buy facemasks.
In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on March 8, 2020, “The masks are important for someone who’s infected, to prevent them from infecting someone else… there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better… but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that there is.”
Then, the tune changed, and Americans were required to wear facemasks. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield even said, “this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine,” implying that not only do face masks protect others from becoming infected, but that they protect the wearers as well.
Next, some in the government even recommended Americans wear two facemasks.
Following that, for the first few months of 2021, the government continued to require vaccinated Americans to wear face masks while indoors.
Now, even that has changed when today, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 “no longer need to wear masks while indoors or outdoors or physical distance in either large or small gatherings.”
For many Christians, it can feel like the government has run the gamut on facemasks, taking every position that one could possibly take. This makes it difficult to know who to trust, which guidelines to follow and who in authority to obey.
As different people come to different conclusions on the matter, Christians can be an example of grace to the world if we choose to respect the decisions of others, rather than demanding they conform to our preferences and desires.
Even in a pandemic, and maybe especially during one, Christians can continue to be a light to the world by modeling a life of charity.
You can follow this author on Parler @ZacharyMettler
Screenshot from FoxNews