Pew: Key findings about COVID-19 restrictions that affected religious groups around the world in 2020

"Religious groups criticized government-mandated public health measures in 54 countries (27% of all analyzed), often stating the rules were a violation of religious freedom." - Pew

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dgszweda's picture

How about all the religious groups that were decrying that this was the start of the government taking over?  Did the government really hold onto all of those powers, or is the religious freedom back to where it was in 2018 before the pandemic?

Larry's picture

Moderator

It's probably too early to tell the long-term effects but in some cases the government does appear to have held on to the power. There are still people who lost their jobs because of their religious convictions about vaccines. There are still churches that had to pay fines of various sizes. There are churches who lost their meeting place because they were renting from people who would not rent to them during covid. Right now things are relatively calm but when the next thing comes around what will happen? You simply can't measure it in the short term.

dgszweda's picture

Larry wrote:

in some cases the government does appear to have held on to the power. 

What are some cases, in your opinion, reflect how the government appears to have held on to power?  The items you listed are lingering affects of what took place a year or two ago.  I am not seeing the government fining churches today, forcing churches to close or restricting religious gatherings.  But I could be missing something.

Don Johnson's picture

And individuals losing jobs because of refusing vaccines is not a religious liberty issue. 
 

they are free to make a choice as are their employers. 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Larry's picture

Moderator

What are some cases, in your opinion, reflect how the government appears to have held on to power?  The items you listed are lingering affects of what took place a year or two ago.  I am not seeing the government fining churches today, forcing churches to close or restricting religious gatherings.  But I could be missing something.

To my understanding, there are people who have not been given their jobs back because the government continues to hang on to power. To my understanding there are churches that were fined who have not been refunded. To my understanding there are governments who have still not acknowledged they were wrong, even though the courts ruled against them.

But as I said, the real issue is longer term. What will happen next time we have something like this? Right now, it may appear fine becaus there is no pressing issue. It's like turning the water and claiming there is no leak. Of course not. The water is off. But what happens when you turn the water back on? 

Larry's picture

Moderator

And individuals losing jobs because of refusing vaccines is not a religious liberty issue.

If the individual made a religious conscience claim about taking the vaccine, it is a religious liberty issue. I am not sure why, after almost three years, this is still being disputed. I get that you might not have a religious conviction, but you don't get to enforce that on others. Conscience belongs to the individual, not to anyone else, not to the group, and not to the state. Canada might be different but here, that is not supposed to be legal.  
 

dgszweda's picture

Larry wrote:

What are some cases, in your opinion, reflect how the government appears to have held on to power?  The items you listed are lingering affects of what took place a year or two ago.  I am not seeing the government fining churches today, forcing churches to close or restricting religious gatherings.  But I could be missing something.

To my understanding, there are people who have not been given their jobs back because the government continues to hang on to power. To my understanding there are churches that were fined who have not been refunded. To my understanding there are governments who have still not acknowledged they were wrong, even though the courts ruled against them.

But as I said, the real issue is longer term. What will happen next time we have something like this? Right now, it may appear fine becaus there is no pressing issue. It's like turning the water and claiming there is no leak. Of course not. The water is off. But what happens when you turn the water back on? 

A government job?  A private employer doesn't have to give you a job back.  Practically all state are "at will".  Besides that isn't continuing to hang on to power, those are the after affects of an action.  Not a continuing action.  Most fines were local jurisdication fines, not federal government fines.  Many won fine refunds in court.  I am not aware of any churches that have not been refunded, but typically that is a court matter.

People claimed the government was turning into a tyranny.  The same things happend with the Spanish flu, than as that disappeared and so did the restrictions.  Everybody was yelling that if we don't push back the government will remove freedoms.  But from what I can tell they were temprorary, driven by a once in a century pandemic and were no more draconian than the Spanish flu.

dgszweda's picture

Larry wrote:

And individuals losing jobs because of refusing vaccines is not a religious liberty issue.

Conscience belongs to the individual, not to anyone else, not to the group, and not to the state. Canada might be different but here, that is not supposed to be legal.  

This sounds great as a tag line, but doesn't operate this way in a free society.  There is always a balance between individual and collective rights.  I will take a simple example.  My kids could not bring a peanut containing snack to school, nor could they eat a peanut containing snack in school.  Two classmates had severe allergies.  Purchasing and/or eating a peanut containing snack is not illegal in the United States, that I am aware of.  I should have the personal liberty to choose what I put in my body.  If I want to eat a peanut containing snack, that is my conscience.  The school should not dictate to me that I cannot eat a substance that is perfectly legal to purchase and eat.  Yet in reality, not only can they enforce this, but I would argue that we would probably state that it is a compassionate thing, but a "group" (2 other children)'s rights outweigh my rights for a given moment in time.  The following year my kids could bring a peanut containing snack to school and could eat it, because there was not a "group" impacted at that time.  We could have made a choice to pull our kids out of school and do something else.  And that would be a valid choice and our right and we would have been allowed to do that.

If your company enforces a vaccine rule, than you can choose to abide by it or go to another employer.  There were plenty that were not enforcing vaccines.  I work for a company with 50,000 employees and we were not required to get a vaccine.

Don Johnson's picture

Larry wrote:

And individuals losing jobs because of refusing vaccines is not a religious liberty issue.

If the individual made a religious conscience claim about taking the vaccine, it is a religious liberty issue. I am not sure why, after almost three years, this is still being disputed. I get that you might not have a religious conviction, but you don't get to enforce that on others. Conscience belongs to the individual, not to anyone else, not to the group, and not to the state. Canada might be different but here, that is not supposed to be legal.  
 

Bible verse for said religious conviction? I'll wait

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Larry's picture

Moderator

I wonder if we have not too quickly forgotten what happened.

In law, typically, an employer cannot fire one for religious convictions. They have to make reasonable accommodations, I believe. To argue this isn't hanging on to power but rather the after affects of an action is a bit like (to continue with the water analogy) standing in a flooded basement and saying it wasn't the water leak; it was the after affects of it. Or to put it differently, that is a distinction without a difference.

I am not completely aware of the fines and refunds. Yes, they were not federal government, but the federal government did not create the shutdown. That was state and local I believe. If refunds have been given, then fine. 

To say that the same thing happened during the Spanish Flu is hardly helpful. That assumes it was right to do it then. Furthermore, it seems to overlook that many courts (most?) ruled on the side of religion and churches that the government's reactions were wrongheaded in one or more ways. 

There is a balance between collective and individual rights to be sure. But a peanut example really doesn't help us here. And to my knowledge, no one in your child's class was making a religious conscience claim were they? Again, I think we are confusing categories. 

To restate the main point, we simply do not yet know the long-term effects. IMO, it is foolish that claim that there are none. It might turn out that way, but that is yet to be seen. 

 

Larry's picture

Moderator

Bible verse for said religious conviction? I'll wait

You won't have to wait long but give me a paragraph first.

First, notice how you conflate "Bible verse" with "religious conviction." I know you are Canadian, but in America, religious is not equated to Christian or Bible. It extends to Muslims, Jews, Quakers, etc.  So you don't need a Bible verse to make a religious conviction claim. A Muslim can make a religious conviction claim without a Bible verse. So can a Jew.

Second, the Bible verse that is typically used is a verse like 1 Cor 6:18, that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Historically, particularly in our circles of Christianity, that verse has been used to argue that we should not put certain things in our bodies (such as alcohol, drugs, nicotine, etc.). Many see an unproven vaccine (or a vaccine period) in the same group of things that would endanger or compromise the spiritual ownership of the body. This has almost always been viewed as a reasonable argument for alcohol and drugs and even food (i.e., gluttony). Why all of the sudden vaccines were ruled as out of bounds was a strange one to me.

The nature of Christianity (and religion in general) is that you don't have to agree with someone's conscience. You are free not to see vaccines as a legitimate application of that verse. But you do not have the authority to demand someone else's conscience conform to yours. Biblically, in Romans 14, a person must not violate their conscience. To do would be to sear their conscience, even if it is wound too tight. So it doesn't matter if you think their application of that verse is wrong. That's not the way Christianity works and it is not the way religious freedom works.

dgszweda's picture

Larry wrote:

I wonder if we have not too quickly forgotten what happened.

In law, typically, an employer cannot fire one for religious convictions.

so long as they don't cause an undue hardship on the company.  that is the law.  There is no blanket idea that you cannot be fired for your religious convictions.  Not sure where people get that idea.

Larry's picture

Moderator

There is no blanket idea that you cannot be fired for your religious convictions. Not sure where people get that idea

Is there a reason you didn't quote my next sentence? 

I never said there is a blanket idea. No one would get that idea from me. 

As I said above, employers have to make reasonable accommodations. That language is used along with undue hardship. 

Don Johnson's picture

Larry wrote:

Bible verse for said religious conviction? I'll wait

You won't have to wait long but give me a paragraph first.

First, notice how you conflate "Bible verse" with "religious conviction." I know you are Canadian, but in America, religious is not equated to Christian or Bible. It extends to Muslims, Jews, Quakers, etc.  So you don't need a Bible verse to make a religious conviction claim. A Muslim can make a religious conviction claim without a Bible verse. So can a Jew.

So you just say, "that's against my religious convictions" and you get off scot free? Is that the way it works?

Sort of like the guy who says, "I'm a girl," so he can then swim on the girls team?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Mark_Smith's picture

who claim that not getting the COVID vaccine is a "religious belief" is the main reason I didn't attend live church for 2 years... 

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Mark_Smith wrote:

The mass of believers who claim that not getting the COVID vaccine is a "religious belief" is the main reason I didn't attend live church for 2 years... 

Remembering back, it seems to me you disagreed with any reason for not getting vaccinated.  There are plenty of us who didn't want the vaccination but to the best of our understanding had no clear biblical grounds to be able to claim a conscience objection.  With the benefit of hindsight, it seems like those who were able to avoid it didn't miss much and may indeed have made the wiser choice in doing so.

However, even though I found no biblical grounds for conscientious objection that didn't mean that other believers didn't find such.  I can judge only my own conscience on this, not theirs.

Dave Barnhart

Larry's picture

Moderator

So you just say, "that's against my religious convictions" and you get off scot free? Is that the way it works?

Sort of like the guy who says, "I'm a girl," so he can then swim on the girls team?

No. No. And No.

I know you are Canadian and you tell us things work a little different there. This has been hashed out over and over again both in common discourse and in courts. In America, we do not have "Christian freedom" but religious freedom. It is for all. No Bible verse is needed. If you are interested, you can research how religious freedom works here. If not, no big deal. But there's actually a legal doctrine and the application of that doctrine in courts about how it is used and how it plays out.

AndyE's picture

dcbii wrote:
With the benefit of hindsight, it seems like those who were able to avoid it didn't miss much and may indeed have made the wiser choice in doing so.
  Well, I know of four people who died who probably would not have if they had been fully vaccinated.  The vaccine wasn't perfect, likely due to the complications of the mutating virus, but it did save lives. Here are some stats from March 2022  from Scientific American.

dgszweda's picture

AndyE wrote:

 

dcbii wrote:
With the benefit of hindsight, it seems like those who were able to avoid it didn't miss much and may indeed have made the wiser choice in doing so.

  Well, I know of four people who died who probably would not have if they had been fully vaccinated.  The vaccine wasn't perfect, likely due to the complications of the mutating virus, but it did save lives. Here are some stats from March 2022  from Scientific American.

I knew a few church members who died.  They refused the vaccine because of the crazy ideas being circulated by religious leaders and conservative politicians.  They thought they were standing up to tyranny, when all they did was leave children behind without parents.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

AndyE wrote:

dcbii wrote:
With the benefit of hindsight, it seems like those who were able to avoid it didn't miss much and may indeed have made the wiser choice in doing so.

Well, I know of four people who died who probably would not have if they had been fully vaccinated.  The vaccine wasn't perfect, likely due to the complications of the mutating virus, but it did save lives. Here are some stats from March 2022  from Scientific American.

I'm not saying it saved no lives.  However, it clearly has caused other problems as well (myocarditis being only one obvious example).  I'm not anti-vaccine in any way, but I also oppose the idea of vaccination mandates, especially when people are claiming a highly experimental vaccine with possibly fatal side-effects MUST be taken for the benefit of others, rather than the one being vaccinated.

Dave Barnhart

Don Johnson's picture

Larry wrote:

So you just say, "that's against my religious convictions" and you get off scot free? Is that the way it works?

Sort of like the guy who says, "I'm a girl," so he can then swim on the girls team?

No. No. And No.

I know you are Canadian and you tell us things work a little different there. This has been hashed out over and over again both in common discourse and in courts. In America, we do not have "Christian freedom" but religious freedom. It is for all. No Bible verse is needed. If you are interested, you can research how religious freedom works here. If not, no big deal. But there's actually a legal doctrine and the application of that doctrine in courts about how it is used and how it plays out.

Larry, you said this earlier, to which I am reacting:

Quote:
If the individual made a religious conscience claim about taking the vaccine, it is a religious liberty issue. I am not sure why, after almost three years, this is still being disputed.

My reaction has nothing to do with being a Canadian.

But simply making a claim doesn't make it a religious liberty issue. There must be something, objective, outside of a mere claim, to make it an issue.

Of those making the claim regarding the Covid vaccine, most have no objective basis for making the claim. There is no Bible verse, really, that supports it. The claims of some preachers to teach it doesn't make it valid.

Those who have consistently refused ALL vaccines might be able to make an objective case that can be tested in court, if it came to that. But simply making a claim, as you suggest in the part quoted, isn't sufficient.

It isn't as cut and dried as you suggest. The Rastas used to claim (in America) religious freedom for smoking marijuana. I don't recall the details, but I don't think that worked out so well back then. Maybe someone remembers that better than me.

As for your anti-Canadian hostility, I think I should claim racism or something. At last I am a victim!

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Mark_Smith's picture

dcbii wrote:

 

Mark_Smith wrote:

 

The mass of believers who claim that not getting the COVID vaccine is a "religious belief" is the main reason I didn't attend live church for 2 years... 

 

 

Remembering back, it seems to me you disagreed with any reason for not getting vaccinated.  There are plenty of us who didn't want the vaccination but to the best of our understanding had no clear biblical grounds to be able to claim a conscience objection.  With the benefit of hindsight, it seems like those who were able to avoid it didn't miss much and may indeed have made the wiser choice in doing so.

However, even though I found no biblical grounds for conscientious objection that didn't mean that other believers didn't find such.  I can judge only my own conscience on this, not theirs.

If you don't want to get vaccinated... don't. But don't say it's "for religious reasons" or "because the vaccine wasn't safe" or "because COVID is a fake illness brought on by Fauci to control the world..." or some other equally ridiculous reason. Just say I didn't want to get vaccinated.

Larry's picture

Moderator

But simply making a claim doesn't make it a religious liberty issue. There must be something, objective, outside of a mere claim, to make it an issue.

There is a process and standard in our judicial system for this. And a large part of it is making the claim. And the primary factor is "sincerely held." See here: https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/section-12-religious-discrimination#h...

Religious claims, almost by their very nature, are subjective not objective. That's why some people believe one thing and some people another. And it doesn't have to be "objective" per se. The standard heavily relies on "sincerely held." 

Of those making the claim regarding the Covid vaccine, most have no objective basis for making the claim. There is no Bible verse, really, that supports it. The claims of some preachers to teach it doesn't make it valid.

How can you possibly know this? How many of these objectors have you talked to? And observed their religious convictions at work in their lives? And how do you know that your standard is the objective one and not theirs? 

To say that there is no Bible verse that supports it is a comment on your religious convictions. But your religious convictions aren't the standard for anyone but you. It also has nothing to do with religious freedom claims since religious freedom isn't only for Christians; it is also for those who reject the Bible.

It also ignores the long held principle of some Christians that the body is a temple (1 Cor 6) and that teaches people to not put certain things in their body. Again, you don't have to agree (but you aren't much of a fundamentalist if you haven't heard that verse used to object to alcohol, drugs, gluttony, nicotine, etc.)  It has regularly and consistently been used to talk about what we put in our bodies. To extend that to one or more vaccines is hardly a stretch. And there are numerous reasons why one might get some vaccines and not others. 

The question is, Do you believe that 1 Cor 6:18 and the body as a temple has any reference to what we put in our bodies or how we treat them?

If so, then it seems to have to acknowledge there is a biblical basis even if you disagree with it.

It isn't as cut and dried as you suggest.

I didn't suggest it was cut and dried as a legal matter. Here again is some reading that might be helpful: https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/section-12-religious-discrimination#h...

This outlines the legal issues and defines the various terms and issues. The bottom line is that you don't have to be consistent necessarily, no one else has to hold it, the court isn't in the business of deciding if the belief is legitimate, etc. 

As for your anti-Canadian hostility, I think I should claim racism or something. At last I am a victim!

I have no Canadian hostility. Some of my friends are Canadian.

Mark_Smith's picture

is about sexual immorality and how having sex with people you aren't married to is a sin and since sex involves the body, the sin impacts the temple of the Holy Spirit for the believer, which is the body.

These verses have nothing to do with food eaten, vaccines taken, or medicine. It's about sex. Period.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Mark_Smith wrote:

If you don't want to get vaccinated... don't. But don't say it's "for religious reasons" or "because the vaccine wasn't safe" or "because COVID is a fake illness brought on by Fauci to control the world..." or some other equally ridiculous reason. Just say I didn't want to get vaccinated.

Emphasis above mine.

It's probably a waste of time to hash this out in this thread, particularly because it was already done about two years ago.  However, I will point out that the long-term safety of the vaccine has yet to be proven, and there have been enough short-term side effects to cause people to make a (completely reasonable, IMHO) rough personal calculation as to whether the vaccine or Covid is more dangerous.  Simply claiming that "the vaccine is safe" is not proof, and convinces no one with any sense.  Evidence is required, and as of right now, I'd say the available evidence is ambivalent, at best.  (I'm hardly the only layman, in medical terms, to make that determination, and there have been plenty of doctors and microbiologists that have come to similar conclusions.)

Dave Barnhart

Larry's picture

Moderator

These verses have nothing to do with food eaten, vaccines taken, or medicine.

So the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit but the only thing that applies to sexual immorality?

My guess is that you don't actually believe that. The principle of ownership applies to far more than sexuality.

Again, you are welcome to your view, but religious conscience and religious objection doesn't work that way, Mark. You don't get to demand everyone else agree with you. Conscience belongs to the individual, not the group. And people can be wrong and still make a valid religious objection or religious conscience claim.

 

Mark_Smith's picture

Larry wrote:

These verses have nothing to do with food eaten, vaccines taken, or medicine.

So the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit but the only thing that applies to sexual immorality?

My guess is that you don't actually believe that. The principle of ownership applies to far more than sexuality.

Again, you are welcome to your view, but religious conscience and religious objection doesn't work that way, Mark. You don't get to demand everyone else agree with you. Conscience belongs to the individual, not the group. And people can be wrong and still make a valid religious objection or religious conscience claim.

 

What are you talking about me demanding everyone agree with me? The verses say EXPLICITLY they are about sexual immorality... 

If you want to extend it to other things, you have to connect the "thing" to corrupting and mixing with the Holy Spirit. With sex with a prostitute, that is easy. With illegal drugs, I think the argument can be made.

Saying a medicine is that is... sketchy at the least. How does COVID vaccine corrupt the Holy Spirit?

Mark_Smith's picture

dcbii wrote:

 

Mark_Smith wrote:

 

If you don't want to get vaccinated... don't. But don't say it's "for religious reasons" or "because the vaccine wasn't safe" or "because COVID is a fake illness brought on by Fauci to control the world..." or some other equally ridiculous reason. Just say I didn't want to get vaccinated.

 

 

Emphasis above mine.

It's probably a waste of time to hash this out in this thread, particularly because it was already done about two years ago.  However, I will point out that the long-term safety of the vaccine has yet to be proven, and there have been enough short-term side effects to cause people to make a (completely reasonable, IMHO) rough personal calculation as to whether the vaccine or Covid is more dangerous.  Simply claiming that "the vaccine is safe" is not proof, and convinces no one with any sense.  Evidence is required, and as of right now, I'd say the available evidence is ambivalent, at best.  (I'm hardly the only layman, in medical terms, to make that determination, and there have been plenty of doctors and microbiologists that have come to similar conclusions.)

How do you establish the "long-term safety" of any new vaccine? You can't BY DEFINITION. That does not mean it is not safe. All kinds of other evidence showed the vaccine was safe. The "myocarditis" effect is small and little different than the lesser side effects of all vaccines. When you are facing a worldwide epidemic that killed millions of people, that risk is small.

The problem was millions did not believe in the threat of the virus. That was the real problem.

Andrew K's picture

Once it became clear that the vaccines didn't halt transmission or prevent infection to any meaningful degree (merely reducing severity of symptoms), any mandate or requirement became govt overreach.

The govt has no right to dictate your personal health decisions.

Many countries around the world still have these requirements in place, even if the US does not. And at G20 recently, there was much talk of building a robust, worldwide and integrated global health infrastructure that would ultimately check freedom of movement in a manner not so different from China's system.

If you don't find this alarming, not sure what to say.

Andrew K's picture

dgszweda wrote:

 

Larry wrote:

 

in some cases the government does appear to have held on to the power. 

 

 

What are some cases, in your opinion, reflect how the government appears to have held on to power?  The items you listed are lingering affects of what took place a year or two ago.  I am not seeing the government fining churches today, forcing churches to close or restricting religious gatherings.  But I could be missing something.

Note the title of the original piece is "around the world," not just in the US. I can't speak to the US because I know longer live there, but...

I can confirm to you that officially at least (though often not enforced in practice), in many areas in Asia, governments still require 1) scanning an app to show vaccination + booster status before entering any public place, including churches (this includes children); 2) require physical distancing and limit the number of congregants; 3) require face masks at all times during worship.

Let's not even talk about how covid has been used as a club against both house and Three-Self churches in China.

This despite the fact that covid cases are down, many regions still haven't rescinded those powers. I don't know when they're finally going to release restrictions, but I for one have grown very weary of them. We're past the emergency state and we know we have to live with covid, so yes, these are indeed onerous religious liberty restrictions that need to go.

 

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