The religious revival has closely tracked the requirement in certain areas that individuals get vaccinated against a pandemic-causing virus. And that is because one way out of the jab is to file for a religious exemption. Cue God.
How do you prove a religious objection to vaccination? Why, you declare a sincerely held belief. That’s it–a sincerely held belief is all you need. I am not sure why the sincerely held belief of a person claiming the cloak of religion should have any more weight than my sincerely held beliefs, and I surely have some. For instance, I am appalled by state-sanctioned murders done in my name, such as executions or drone strikes. I am appalled by the rape and plunder of our mother Earth for profit. But all I know how to do is agitate and protest and vote.
God doesn’t have my back on this. If there is a God who has my best interests at heart, lightning would already have obliterated the Republican side of the aisle and zapped Joe Manchin on its way out. But if you sincerely believe God told you not to get vaccinated, you’ve got your ticket punched.
God is always telling people what to do, not that he ever agrees with himself. So it’s not hard to dig up something God said to suit your needs. God could easily have whispered to someone in London during the blitzkrieg that unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness, and things would have gotten real loud real fast.
Basically, we’re letting the schizophrenics run the public health show.
So it is my sincerely held belief that public health is served by the judicious use of proven methods of reducing a deadly virus’s available host population through vaccine–in fact it’s a no-brainer of a sincerely held belief–and that we could thus save countless people from suffering and death across the globe, but my sincerely held belief will not even tip the scale against the sincerely held belief of someone who fully expects to shake Jesus’s hand in the sky some day, as long as she promises not to use her brain.
I decided to look into these beliefs. The St. Thomas More Society offers four sample exemption request letters on its website. Here’s one:
The vaccines act at a genetic level that invades the province of God. Our genetic physiology is His design, extraordinarily complex as only He could make it, and understood only as He can understand it. Our understanding is shallow. I cannot morally participate in tinkering with a powerful and dangerous thing, within this temple, that we poorly understand.
Dudes. Here’s a thought. Unshallow your understanding, because we most certainly do know how this works. It doesn’t diminish the glory of God in the least, if that’s the way you want to look at it. But if you think this vaccine is tinkering in the temple, I don’t want to see you eating a Twinkie.
Somewhat more persuasive a rationale is the notion that the vaccine was developed using fetal cell lines derived from an aborted fetus. This is true, or probably true. There are a few fetal cell lines that have been used to develop vaccines. Not very many actual fetuses have contributed. Human fetal cells obtained from two abortions in the early 1960s are still growing in labs and are used to produce vaccines for chickenpox, rubella, hepatitis A, shingles, and rabies. We effectively took out polio with an earlier line. But I get it, a cell line from a fetus aborted sixty years ago is one aborted fetus too many. Okay. Fetal Lives Matter.
But here’s a thing. My sincerely held beliefs about our responsibilities to each other in a public health crisis are in strictly mainstream, love-thy-neighbor territory. Why are mine unimportant?
Go ahead and plant a moral flag for that sixty-year-old fetus. I can admire a sincerely held belief. But stick with it. You or anyone you love get Parkinson’s? Alzheimer’s? Arthritis? HIV? Keep suffering. Oh of course nobody you know has HIV. My mistake. Stroke? Spinal injury?
And if it’s your sincerely held belief that aborted fetuses are ground up and put in the vaccine, you’re just wrong. If you’re determined to find a rationale to screw your neighbor, get your facts right. And understand that screwing your neighbor is what you’re doing.
Have you heard the Good News? Religion is making a comeback!
Been hearing it for decades as the non-religious percentage of the population actually keeps going up year after year after year. Have no fear, the forces of darkness will prevail.
If some people want to insincerely claim to be religious so they can avoid being protected against a deadly disease, well, once again it's natural selection in action.
Some states and employers are not accepting religious exemptions from covid-19 vaccination, by the way. After more than a year and a half, people want this pandemic to be over and their patience with these idiots is wearing thin.
The St Thomas More[on] Society screed is just an updating of the old argument that if God had meant us to fly he'd have given us wings, therefore we should not invent airplanes. Hell, this attitude has been around since the myth of Icarus at least. If we'd listened to these people we'd still be living in caves and dying in agony at 30 from tooth abscesses.
of course nobody you know has HIV
Last time I checked, the HIV infection rate among Catholic priests was several times higher than in the general population. Funny how that works.
Although the sample size of Paleolithic skulls is small, I’m not aware of any showing evidence of abscesses. You can check the box for severe dental wear and advanced geriatric dental regression. So our ancestors when they made it to that point died of worn out teeth, not abscesses. You have to wait until the Neolithic and the advent of agriculture to find abscesses in skulls.
This isn’t meant to take away from your comment about people rejecting medical advances, but to point out that your statement about our early ancestors is out of date. The evidence is that they enjoyed good dental health until they wore their teeth down to nubs and caves are really good shelter.
Well this is going along fine without me already. Thanks Bruce! No abscesses then, but a lot of singed hair. (Actually there are many who believe a lot of our ills and most of our dental ills began with our farming/eating of grain, which, they say, we are not really equipped to digest. I don't know, it's just stuff I read from people who want to steer me away from modern wheat. And I have been steered.)
How about periodontal abcesses? See "Therapeutic Cauterization of Periodontal Abcesses in a Prehistoric Northwest Coast Woman" (Mark Skinner, Marna McLaren and Roy L. Carlson. Medical Anthropology Quarterly New Series, Vol. 2, No. 3, Health and Industry (Sep., 1988), pp. 278-285 (8 pages))
Jeremy vs Bruce Cage Fight!
Oops. "abcesses" should have been "abscesses." I fold.
You are at your very best as a thinker and a writer when you are righteously incensed. Maybe the only way to fight a sincerely held belief in a crazy idea is with an equally sincere belief in another crazy idea. Science v. Jehovah lacks bathos, but Gaia v. Jehovah is a dream ticket. (Keep in mind that I have aged out of large swaths of sincerely held beliefs, but I’m not above turning up manipulation of the populace in a good cause.) Maybe it’s time to fully develop sincerely held beliefs and accoutrements for Gaianism. Lord knows, we can make it up as we go along: Gaia made this; She wants that; we worship Her Creation by offering up our left upper arms to receive Her gifts of Salvation through Vaccination or whatevah. Her hymns were written in antiquity by Three Dog Night, The Lovin’ Spoonful, and the original cast of “Hair.” It writes itself. Can you dig it?
I can. The trick is to manufacture a sincerely held religious belief that will require other people to do something and not just oneself. However, that has long been the province of religion so I say full speed ahead.
Can I say that this is my favourite (excuse Britspeak) response to one of Murr's tablets of truth in quite a while?
Thank you (both)
I’d heard the fetal cell line argument on NPR and thought that it gave purpose to those long lost lives. Rejecting the medical advances that came from those lives seems wasteful.
It's also interesting that it implies any woman would have an abortion in order to provide a stem cell line.
I didn't know about the stem cell lines, but I'm glad someone else worked out their usefulnesses and gave us all those vaccines.
Whenever I stay in a hotel, I enjoy rescuing the dusty gideon bible from its drawer, taking out my red pen and leaving commentary in the margins of leviticus. (I'm not a big fan of smiting.)
Always the English major, you.
Ha! Love it!
Oooo! I *like* this idea!!
Let's start another movement that can go right along with Murr's!
And Joe on the way out? You're kinder than I, or is it slower?
You see, every time I feel the bile rising when I think of Joe and Kyrsten or whatever her name is, I remember it USED to be possible to get random Republicans to vote for things too. Like, two Republicans? Oh heck no. Won't even vote to talk about talking about voter's rights.
Boy oh boy, reading that felt good…
Well that's nice!
Twinkie mentioned again! The everlasting food (as long as the wrapper is not pierced)!
You mean–they CAN go bad?
The “Skeptical Raptor” has an excellent summary of John D. Grabensteins peer-reviewed article detailing how just about NO major religion objects to vaccination. So the people claiming religious exemption are lying about their beliefs, and are merely signaling “I’m with the nazis and klansmen.” White supremacy is a belief that they are quite willing to die for and to watch their children die for, though they would of course deny that — but watch what they do, not what they say.
SR’s article can be found at https://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/a-review-of-major-religions-and-vaccines-almost-all-support-vaccinations/
Oh, Jeremy! …And I dearly hope they get their wish and die for their "cause." Yeah, that's kinda mean of me, but that's how I roll with them.
Even my Christian Scientist friends get the jab.
If anti-vaxxers want to die so they can prove they "owned the liberals", I say go for it!
If only they were that neatly excised, but they're not. They're bound and determined to let this thing go on into eternity.
Perzackly! You tell 'em Murr. And please rescue Pootie from under all those bibles. He may be taking the 'weight' of the Lord too seriously.
He's about to do a bench press.
LOVE infidel753's dancing pumpkin-head skeleton 🙂
Yeah, that's freaky.
I learned ages ago that if I'm going to pray for god to take away my toothache, I had better be on my way to the dentist as I'm praying.
Shortens things up all right.
God gave us legs to walk so taking speedy transportation is against his will. Good gave us voices to shout…so no more shout-out via technology puhleeze. Don't get me started on electricity!!
Hmm. I could endorse some of that…
Anti-vaccine people who get Covid-19 rush for Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment. And yes, it works very well! But do a quick Google search for 'VelocImmune mice' to see how "humanized mice" contribute to this therapy.