HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As coronavirus cases rise in Hawaii, one of Oahu’s largest churches has been accused of preaching the wrong message in regard to wearing face masks.
As recently as Monday morning, the website of Calvary Chapel of Honolulu had a link to a document that appeared to serve as a waiver form for mask wearing, saying individuals can be exempt from donning a face covering because ‘wearing a face mask is far more hazardous than the threat of coronavirus.'
The document was meant to appear like an official government message, complete with a seal from the Department of Justice.
It also cited the Americans with Disabilities Act, saying masks are dangerous because they impede breathing and collect bacteria ― claims which experts say are just not true.
Bill Stonebraker, the church’s leader and the father of Honolulu mayoral candidate Bud Stonebraker, says posting the fake document was a mistake and had it removed this afternoon.
“We received the mask exemption notice from California and thought it legitimate for those it would apply to, but now after your call, I have researched the issue to find it is not a valid exemption so it has been taken down,” Stonebraker said in a statement after inquiries about the issue from Hawaii News Now.
The post was also brought to the attention of the state Department of Health.
“It’s a very confusing message, if someone is saying there’s an exemption and of course, there isn’t,” said state health director Dr. Bruce Anderson. “In this case, that was inexcusable.”
Anderson also says the content was under discussion at the Hawaii Attorney General’s office as well, but it’s unclear if action was taken.