Opinion: Religious Leaders Concur – No Religious Exemption For COVID-19 Vaccine

Irresponsible and selfish Americans are grabbing at straws to avoid any mandate to be vaccinated against the deadly COVID-19 virus. And as is usually the case in America, the selfish sect are depending on religion to save them.

Prior to the pandemic there was a tin-foil group of Americans who refused to vaccinate their children without any explanation or medical basis except they were influenced by a former Playboy bunny and something ridiculous about autism. Now, that small “anti-vaxxer” cult has grown exponentially thanks to adherence to Trumpism and a phony claim of personal liberty to endanger the public

Before the Federal Drug Administration “officially” approved the COVID-19 vaccine, most opposition to being vaccinated was curiously “justified” by claiming the vaccine was suspect because the FDA’s approval was for emergency use.

Although it was a bogus reason for continuing to spread the deadly virus, it could be argued that these science averse Americans were justified in being irresponsible because they were in thrall of a maniac in the White House who contradicted science.. Now, however, that is not the case and it has left the vaccine resistant cult to seek another means of increasing the number of Americans either hospitalized or dead.

It wasn’t much of a surprise that the vaccine resistant cult quickly discovered religion as a valid excuse to keep their fellow Americans in danger. It also wasn’t any revelation that some suddenly Catholic sympathizers raised concerns about the vaccine’s extremely remote connection to aborted fetal tissue.

For the record, the vaccines developed and produced by Pfizer and Moderna were tested on fetal cell lines that were “most likely derived from elective abortions decades ago.” The vaccine created by Johnson & Johnson, however, was directly produced using the cell lines.

The problem for the growing anti-vaxxer cult, however, is that nearly all major religions, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), do not call for or support a religious exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the USCCB, and in accordance with guidance from the Vatican, all three vaccines approved for use in the United States are “morally acceptable” for use because of their remote connection with abortion.” (author bold)

However, Catholic leadership did note that if a devotee has the ability to choose a vaccine, they suggest that “Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s.”

That guidance not only put an end to a devotee claiming a “religious exemption” to taking the vaccine, it was fully in line with a  December 2020 Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines.” According to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Fait:

In the absence of other means to stop or even prevent the epidemic, the common good may recommend vaccination. Those who, however, for reasons of conscience [not religion], refuse vaccines produced with cell lines from aborted fetuses, must do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent.”

Leaders of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America concurred  saying that while some people may have medical reasons for not receiving the vaccine:

There is no exemption in the Orthodox Church for Her faithful from any vaccination for religious reasons.”

The Holy Eparchial Synod of the nationwide archdiocese, representing the largest share of Eastern Orthodox people in the United States, urged its members:

To pay heed to competent medical authorities, and to avoid the false narratives utterly unfounded in science.”

And regarding the faithful who seek an official “religious exemption letter” from church leaders:

“No clergy are to issue such religious exemption letters. Any such letter is not valid.”

Similarly, the American Evangelical Lutheran Church issued a recent statement encouraging vaccine use saying:

There is no evident basis for religious exemption in its own or the wider Lutheran tradition.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York also made its position clear stating:

Any priest issuing an exemption letter would be acting in contradiction to statements from Pope Francis that receiving the vaccine is morally acceptable and responsible.”

In Spokane, Washington, Bishop Thomas Daly  issued a statement regarding “conscious rights” of individual Catholics to decide whether to receive the vaccine, and stated that no clergy could be dragged into a religious objection issue as a matter of conscious. He said:

 Priests should not be involved in signing any document concerning the conscience of another.” And he reminded parishioners that the Church’s guidance informed “that vaccination is morally permissible and beneficial for the common good..

Most, if not all, of this religious exemption and church commentary supporting vaccines is actually moot according to well-established Supreme Court precedent that allows the state to “enforce compulsory vaccination laws;” regardless of anyone’s claim of individual or religious liberty protections.

In the 1905 Supreme Court case, 197 U.S., Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the High Court upheld the authority of the state to enforce compulsory vaccination laws. The Court’s decision articulated the view that individual liberty is not absolute and is subject to the police power of the state. Recognizing that public health is more important than an individual’s personal liberty or religious conscious, the High Court held that:

In every well ordered society charged with the duty of conserving the safety of its members the rights of the individual in respect of his liberty may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint, to be enforced by reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand.

Real liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual person to use his own liberty, whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others.”

It is beyond bizarre that in a well-developed civilized society there are any objections to protecting the health, well-being, and life of every member of society. And yet, here we are in 21st Century America where a tin-foil hat cult morphed into a right-wing political movement that is not only endangering the lives of tens-of-thousand of American citizens, it is hindering a return to a semblance of normalcy because a substantial number of malcontents believe electing Republicans outweighs the common good.

Even worse, this neo-anti-vaxxer movement is claiming a Christian religious exemption justifies their deliberate endangerment of their fellow citizens’ lives – the true meaning of the Trump-era pro-life movement .




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