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October 11, 2021

A Religious Exemption for the COVID-19 Vaccine? An Absurdity.

*Editor’s Note: Elephant Journal articles represent the personal views of the authors, and can not possibly reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here.

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Neither the Bible nor the Qur’an, neither the Book of Mormon nor the Torah addresses the alleged blasphemy of getting vaccinated.

If you believe in a God or a spiritual dimension, then you also believe that we, as people, are divinely created. We were hence granted a brain to think and to make the best out of our lives, to live humbly as a member of our society, and to try to contribute to the improvement of our world.

Infecting others with COVID-19 because you were not vaccinated is a cruel act of selfishness that cannot hide behind any religious arguments. There is no “sincerely-held” belief that prevents you from receiving the vaccine. Anyone who argues along those lines does not know their own scriptures.

All major religious leaders should speak up and remove, once and for all, deceptive arguments that would justify any religiously-minded person to claim any form of exemption. Using a religious argument, God has given us the intelligence to find a vaccine, truly a miracle of modern medicine; and God expects us to take the vaccine to protect everyone else.

Forget the entirely spurious argument that cells from fetuses were used to develop the vaccine. Otherwise, forget modern medicine and stop taking any medication, but then please stay away from everyone else and avoid all social contact.

Any references to Christ’s healing power as outlined in the New Testament refer only to Him, not to people doing the healing. Of course, believe in whatever deity to get you well, but until then, you have the duty to accept the advice of modern medicine and pharmaceutical sciences, unless you can prove, by scientific means, that it is wrong. Good luck to all of those who suddenly claim to be experts in virology without having ever studied that discipline in any meaningful manner. This is a true miracle; they collectively know so much more than the medical researchers and trust their religious inspiration more than decades of intensive research. But how come modern vaccines have proven to be so effective?

Let me be the devil’s advocate and pretend the following:

I have the “sincerely-held” belief, for instance, that car seat belts are the invention of the devil, and imposing a speed limit on cars either within city limits or on the highway is the result of evil spirits. I am sure that I might be able to find some confirmation for this belief in the New Testament and Christ’s promises to protect us all if we follow him, with or without a seat belt. And, the next time a police officer stops me for speeding, I will confront them with my claim based on my sincerely-held belief that I have every right to insist on my freedom to drive as I wish—because my God has told me to do so. And to the judge, I will say that my divinely inspired speeding was done to prove the truth of whatever scripture I hold dear. Surely, soon thereafter, I will be able to share my opinions with other patients in an asylum, but then I won’t sit behind a car’s wheel.

Where do all those people come from who suddenly want to uphold their religious beliefs so ardently that they are willing to expose everyone else to a deadly disease without any care for their well-being, not even for their own loved ones?

It is one thing to live a truly religious life, which must be consistent in every aspect of your existence (observe the 10 commandments, love thy neighbor, be a good person, avoid sinfulness), and an entirely different thing to boast in public about your newly discovered religiosity which justifies you to reject the vaccine and to endanger all people around you because you may carry the virus.

As far as I know, we still live in a democratic, secular, law-abiding country founded upon our constitution.

There are many different religions in our country, and they are all welcome for the individual, but there is no true religion that promotes the fight against vaccines. Religious leaders, please speak up and restore reason and rationality among your flock. All you faithful, don’t be so feckless and submit to public pressure from religious fanatics who want to force everyone else to submit to their own faith.

The last time I checked, I still had a functioning brain, given to me by my creator. Reason and rationality are part of our human existence, and God certainly would want us to use both to the best extent possible. Maybe those extremists believe that all science is the result of the devil. In that case, stop driving a car, using a cellphone, searching on the internet, purchasing any electronic gadget, and please stay away from all modern medicine.

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