Calif. church offers religious exemption letters for people opposed to COVID vaccine

"America is a free country. We have freedom of religion, and if a person has a moral objection to taking the vaccine, we want to come alongside of them," he said in a video interview. - C.Post

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

One of our elders spoke some wisdom last Sunday regarding the times: we need to choose our battles and a lot of believers are not choosing well these days. 

The church as an entity, and believers as individuals, are not called to be freedom fighters. We are called to pursue the good of our neighbors and to be subject to the authorities and to pursue peace with all our fellow humans (Heb. 12.14, Rom 14.19).

So, to the degree Christians should be chasing after "freedom" at all, it's as a way to promote the good of those around us, not as a "moral objection" to authority.

But this is mostly fueled by fear and rebellion and thinking that that the left is "the world" in the John 15:18 sense. All of this is bad theology leading to unChristian attitudes and choices.

We need to choose better battles. We're not at war with flesh and blood or even with "the left."

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

dgszweda's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

So, to the degree Christians should be chasing after "freedom" at all,  

It also points to an utter lack of understanding of what freedom truly is for the Christian.  Our freedom as Christians is not structured, supported and maintained by political leaders and our ability to control and influence politics.  It is in Christ.  COVID, in my mind, has really exposed the inadequacy of theology taught in our churches, and the lack of maturity among believers.  It also exposes that most likely many that are in our pews that seem to live a Christian life are not really true believers.

dgszweda's picture

I also struggle with what is "religious exemption" for the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.  The only real moral concerns have been the use of aborted fetal cells.  Neither of these vaccines used fetal cells in their creation.  All key Christian ethical institutions have confirmed that they do not see an ethical problem with taking either of these vaccines.  I see significantly more ethical and moral concerns laid out in Scripture for not taking the vaccine.  This is probably less rooted in religious exemption and more the resistance of the government telling someone what to do, and using a religious exemption to cloak that concern.

Jim's picture

My harsh take ...

If someone doesn't want to receive the vaccine, I'm fine with that ...

And if they die of COVID .. that's their choice. (I know of several)

 

 

Larry's picture

Moderator

The only real moral concerns have been the use of aborted fetal cells. 

That's not the only real moral concern. There is also the moral concern of injecting something into our body about which there is no data concerning longterm effects. Many Christians, in face most Christians and a large number of non-Christians have been historically cautious about introducing certain substances into the body. There is the moral concern of governmental or employer authoritarianism. To dismiss these as not "real" seems both uninformed and shortsighted to me.

Larry's picture

Moderator

So, to the degree Christians should be chasing after "freedom" at all, it's as a way to promote the good of those around us, not as a "moral objection" to authority.

The good of those around us seems promoted by freedom. If we have seen anything over the past year, it is that many have little to no discernment about these kinds of things. We seem not to be able to see past the immediate fears into the longer term. 

I think the idea that a church would issue a letter of religious exemption is a continued demonstration of bad ecclesiology and bad civics. The religious exemption belongs to the individual as a matter of conscience. No one else can make that argumnent for them.

dgszweda's picture

Larry wrote:

The only real moral concerns have been the use of aborted fetal cells. 

That's not the only real moral concern. There is also the moral concern of injecting something into our body about which there is no data concerning longterm effects. Many Christians, in face most Christians and a large number of non-Christians have been historically cautious about introducing certain substances into the body. There is the moral concern of governmental or employer authoritarianism. To dismiss these as not "real" seems both uninformed and shortsighted to me.

Larry, I wouldn't classify your other concerns as "moral" in nature.  And I would almost classify them as uninformed concerns, but that probably sides on being too prejudicial.   

G. N. Barkman's picture

Uninformed because...you have factual information that these vaccines do not cause long term issues?  Hmmm.

G. N. Barkman

T Howard's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

Uninformed because...you have factual information that these vaccines do not cause long term issues?  Hmmm.

Death is pretty long term. These vaccines do reduce the risk of death from COVID. That is factual.

dgszweda's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

Uninformed because...you have factual information that these vaccines do not cause long term issues?  Hmmm.

Vaccines don't have long-term side effects.  It is a misconception amongst many people that confuse therapeutic medicines with vaccines.  Therapeutic medicines are meant to stay in the body and can be stored to accomplish their effect.  Vaccines are eliminated fairly quickly.  Side effects almost exclusively show up in less than 4 weeks, and in most cases show up in a few days.

The mRNA vaccines are even safer than previous vaccines because they use your own body and natural steps to create the protein and then uses the natural steps to eliminate the vaccine.  The biochemistry is well understood and in animal studies it was very easy to tag and track all of the elements of the vaccine and how they are eliminated.

This is why the FDA can give full approval to a vaccine.  It took time after the emergency approval, to build up enough of a population of data to understand the prevalence of side effects.  Phase 1 through Phase 3 Clinical Trials don't provide enough of a population to understand all side effects, only enough statistical data to show serious side effects that may be more common.

But there is so much misinformation out there, that it will be almost impossible to convince anyone otherwise.  Just like people are still clinging to vaccine caused autism.

G. N. Barkman's picture

According to a recent SI article by Gene Veith, the greatest resistance to Covid vaccines among the well educated are those with Ph.D.'s.  It's also notable that one of the largest groups of resisters is medical professionals.  I don't claim to understand all the scientific details, but the report of who is hesitant should make everyone a bit cautious.  I don't think anyone should be overly dogmatic that these vaccines will not cause any long term problems.

That said, I have decided to get the vaccine.  Having recovered from COVID, I probably have strong antibodies that make the vaccine unnecessary.  However, I have decided to take it anyway for a number of reasons, but I remain respectful towards those who are holding out.  They may prove to be wiser than I.  Time will tell.

G. N. Barkman

dgszweda's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

According to a recent SI article by Gene Veith, the greatest resistance to Covid vaccines among the well educated are those with Ph.D.'s.  It's also notable that one of the largest groups of resisters is medical professionals.  I don't claim to understand all the scientific details, but the report of who is hesitant should make everyone a bit cautious.  I don't think anyone should be overly dogmatic that these vaccines will not cause any long term problems.

That said, I have decided to get the vaccine.  Having recovered from COVID, I probably have strong antibodies that make the vaccine unnecessary.  However, I have decided to take it anyway for a number of reasons, but I remain respectful towards those who are holding out.  They may prove to be wiser than I.  Time will tell.

You have to be very careful with Gene's analysis.  He does source his data, which is good.  And I don't dispute the data.  What is challenging is that it is singular in its slice.  We are not just defined as a health care worker or a PhD.  We can also be a Qanon follower, white evangelical, Republican, anti-vaxxer, foreign national....There are other elements that can define us as vaccine hesitant that is more definitive than our educational status.  So we have to be careful when the analysis pick data from different sources, combines it together to create a singular conclusion.

It is 100% right to be concerned about putting something into your body.  And it is 100% right for someone to be hesitant and want to do research.  I would encourage anyone to do that.  And at the end of the day there are some legitimate reasons not to take the vaccine or any vaccine.

I would not be 100% dogmatic, but I have a high degree of confidence to feel safe about them.  My respect begins to wane when the concern is supported by disinformation.  Almost all of the disinformation on social media platforms is coming from 12 sources or from foreign governments.  They get spread and supported further by different personalities and social media further reverberates it through the echo effect that we are all bombarded by.  Unfortunately people have lost the perspective of what is a trusted source and what is not a trusted source, but that is across the entire spectrum of news and information, not just vaccine.

Fortunately my background is in vaccines and my wife's is in virus growth and development, so it helps us when we read the studies.  I would never instruct anyone to get a vaccine without talking to their own physician to discuss the pro's and con's in their particular situation.  All I can say is that the science behind the mRNA vaccine is truly amazing and ground breaking and it offers an extremely high level of safety, beyond what we have seen in other forms of drugs and drug delivery.  What we will most likely find in the coming years is that COVID has had a greater impact on drug development than probably any other event in modern history.  But I won't be dogmatic on that, time will tell.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Larry, I wouldn't classify your other concerns as "moral" in nature.  And I would almost classify them as uninformed concerns, but that probably sides on being too prejudicial. 

So you don't think that care for the body or government power is a moral issue? What kind of issue is it then?

Uninformed? To the first (care for the body), yes it is absolutely is uninformed. That's the whole point. We simply don't know the long term effects yet. Later you say, "It is 100% right to be concerned about putting something into your body.  And it is 100% right for someone to be hesitant and want to do research." It sounds like you agree with me on this. 

As for the second (government power), we are pretty informed about government power. Recently reading "Live Not By Lies" which is a fascinating read in many respects. It isn't uninformed to be cautious about government power. That's not conspiracy kind of theory stuff. It's historical and it's common sense in a lot of ways.

To disagree on the substance of the concerns is one thing; to claim these are non-moral issues is quite another, IMO.

dgszweda's picture

Larry wrote:

As for the second (government power), we are pretty informed about government power. Recently reading "Live Not By Lies" which is a fascinating read in many respects. It isn't uninformed to be cautious about government power. That's not conspiracy kind of theory stuff. It's historical and it's common sense in a lot of ways.

To disagree on the substance of the concerns is one thing; to claim these are non-moral issues is quite another, IMO.

The government (across both parties), worked with the private sector to fund the development of a vaccine for a national health crisis.  The FDA, created over 100 years ago, and responsible for the approval of drugs, followed their normal process to give emergency approval (as they have done numerous times before) and subsequently full approval of a vaccine(s) to combat the national health crisis.  Private insurers have agreed to pay for the vaccine, and the proper government agencies have recommended that people who meet certain conditions should get the vaccine.  That is where it stands now.

Given that, what in that process or the state that we are in today, creates a moral dilemna?  Not a perceived government over reach (which is not taking place right now), but how the government is operating as it stands.  And if Scripture is our ultimate moral authority, what Scriptural basis indicates that the government is currently not acting morally?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

dgszweda wrote:

You have to be very careful with Gene's analysis.  He does source his data, which is good.  And I don't dispute the data.  What is challenging is that it is singular in its slice.  We are not just defined as a health care worker or a PhD.  We can also be a Qanon follower, white evangelical, Republican, anti-vaxxer, foreign national....There are other elements that can define us as vaccine hesitant that is more definitive than our educational status.  So we have to be careful when the analysis pick data from different sources, combines it together to create a singular conclusion.

Of course any comprehensive analysis must be multivariate.  However, no study that can actually be accomplished, especially in a reasonable amount of time, will include all variables.  That simply isn't realistic.

I'd be curious just how many medical professionals or PhDs are in the categories of "QAnon followers" or "anti-vaxxers."  Of course I don't know either, but I'd be willing to put money on that being a tiny number, just from common sense.  Nowhere near all hesitancy comes from those categories.  It's interesting to actually listen to medical professionals.  My wife just finished a doctor visit, and the nurse (and this is at Duke University, hardly a backwater medical institution), after asking her about Covid vaccination status, mentioned that if she were not required to have it, she wouldn't have done so either.

I myself have not gotten the Covid vaccine, but I neither follow QAnon, nor am I an anti-vaxxer.  I have had most vaccines, and my children got all of the ones offered, except HPV, which, at the time the doctors were offering it, was too new for my comfort.  I'd probably have thought differently of it if it had had 10 or 20 years of use.  Getting the various vaccines comes down to a relatively simple cost/benefit analysis.  Polio and smallpox are obvious choices.  So is rabies if one is exposed.  The dangers are far too high to worry about side effects or long-term effects.  Frankly, Covid is not in those categories.  It doesn't even compare to SARS or MERS from a few years back in how dangerous it is to the vast majority of those infected.  No one has long-term experience with any of the Covid vaccines, and they won't for years.  It's easy to say that vaccines won't cause long-term problems until we encounter one that does.

Further, it seems from the categories you list above. and how you expressed them, that you are considering them essentially equivalent, or at least, extremely likely to occur together.  I.e. white evangelical is most likely an anti-vaxxer is most likely a QAnon follower is most likely a Republican.  I realize that that is how many on the left or in the media paint it, but of course, that is nonsense.  Doing so is just a way of dismissing actual concerns.

It's good that you are comfortable with making the choice to get the vaccine.  Most of those who haven't (unless they were unable for some reason) are also comfortable with their choice and the risks it could entail.  This isn't simply a matter of "those who understand" vs. "the unwashed masses."

Dave Barnhart

dgszweda's picture

Quote:

Frankly, Covid is not in those categories.  It doesn't even compare to SARS or MERS from a few years back in how dangerous it is to the vast majority of those infected.  No one has long-term experience with any of the Covid vaccines, and they won't for years.  It's easy to say that vaccines won't cause long-term problems until we encounter one that does.

I think you are looking at this a bit incorrectly.  MERS and SARS may have been more deadly but were not nearly as contagious or widespread as COVID.  COVID on the other hand is very pervasive.  While statistics are great to look at, if you are the one dying from it, the statistics don't really matter.  They shouldn't be the sole source for making individual personal decisions.  I know that you are concerned about long-term problems, but you are confusing medicines with vaccines.  When we visit our doctor and they prescribe a medication, we do not always question long term effects and such.  With vaccines it is more about the prevalence of side effects than it is about long term side effects.  The importance to understanding side effects is to have a large population size in order to capture the 1 out of a million side effect.  After 100 years of vaccines, long term side effects don't show up.  Even with ones that have bad side effects.

Quote:
This isn't simply a matter of "those who understand" vs. "the unwashed masses.

I am not saying that this is the case for everyone, but it is for many.  Many are just repeating massive disinformation elements, such as the vaccine has biochips in them.

I am not trying to convince anyone to take the vaccine, just trying to throw out data so that people can make decisions.  I am not sure why the nurse said what she said.  Very odd in my opinion, as the general consensus of the medical community is that they are safe.  Even the Duke University Medical Center's official position after review of the by their vaccine experts stated that they are safe.  But a nurse is just someone who went to college for 4 years, they are not vaccine experts or epidemiologists.

dgszweda's picture

Quote:
It's easy to say that vaccines won't cause long-term problems until we encounter one that does.

Just for education sake, maybe for those that read this.

The mRNA vaccines contains two key ingredients.  A RNA chain and a series of lipids.  The other ingredients are just to support the suspension and are naturally ocuring or consumed on a regular basis within the body.  Think of the lipids as cholesterol or what you might find in the eggs that you have for breakfast.

The RNA chain contains the instructions to create a spike protein that "looks" like the spike protein found around the COVID virus.  RNA is very fragile.  The lipids create a structure to protect the RNA chain and help it to enter the cell wall.  The vaccine is injected into the muscle of the patient.  It isn't injected into the bloodstream, it wouldn't last long in the blood.  Once injected the lipids around the RNA protect it and allow it to enter the cell wall.  The RNA does not and cannot enter the nucleus, so it cannot impact the DNA.  The RNA is read and a protein is created by the cell.  Once the RNA is read it is naturally destroyed by the cell through a naturally ocurring biochemical process.  If the RNA were to escape (which it can't) it would be destroyed by the natural enzymes in the body that destroy RNA.  The RNA can last as little as 2-4 hours and as long as 4 days.  But it is practically all gone in about 8-12 hours (thus why people feel side effects in 8-12 hours).

After the spike protein is released, the bodies immune system identifies it as a foreign substance.  The protein itself can't really do anything to the body.  The immune system creates antibodies and those antibodies naturally destroy the spike proteins.  These spike proteins are typically all gone in about a week from the body, but could last up to 4 weeks.  The spike proteins are created naturally by your body, and the RNA and spike proteins are eliminated naturally by the body.  The vast majority of all injected substances and created substances don't leave the injection site.  The small amount that does is transported to the local lymph nodes where it is naturally removed.

None of it gets stored in any organs.  Unlike medicines that are injected into the blood they do not travel around the body and they do not get stored and released by other organs such as the liver.  

What is unique is that it uses each individuals natural body processes to create the immune response and to create immunity.  Which is very different from past vaccines which often injects the actual virus or virus that has been inhibited into the body.

IF you don't want to take the vaccine that is fine, just wanted to throw this out there.

Kevin Miller's picture

dgszweda wrote:

After the spike protein is released, the bodies immune system identifies it as a foreign substance.  The protein itself can't really do anything to the body.  The immune system creates antibodies and those antibodies naturally destroy the spike proteins.  These spike proteins are typically all gone in about a week from the body, but could last up to 4 weeks.  The spike proteins are created naturally by your body, and the RNA and spike proteins are eliminated naturally by the body. 

This is the part that i have questions about. If the spike protein is created by our own bodies, then it isn't exactly a foreign substance, is it? Instead of being a virus-produced spike protein, it's a human-produced spike protein. When you say "the protein itself can't really do anything to the body," are you saying that, for sure, the protein becomes completely inert and has no functioning capacity whatsoever? Since a spike protein is meant to bind with cells, isn't it possible it could be doing some damage to cells before it gets eliminated by our antibodies? Once the protein is eliminated, that damage, if it occurred, would still remain.

dgszweda's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

This is the part that i have questions about. If the spike protein is created by our own bodies, then it isn't exactly a foreign substance, is it? Instead of being a virus-produced spike protein, it's a human-produced spike protein. When you say "the protein itself can't really do anything to the body," are you saying that, for sure, the protein becomes completely inert and has no functioning capacity whatsoever? Since a spike protein is meant to bind with cells, isn't it possible it could be doing some damage to cells before it gets eliminated by our antibodies? Once the protein is eliminated, that damage, if it occurred, would still remain.

No, although there is some misinformation spread around this.  Individuals have to realize there is tremendous research going on in this area.  There are hundreds of studies on all nuances of how the vaccine works.  Not to get too technical here, but the vaccine is injected into the muscle in order to stay in that local area.  It does not enter the blood stream and travel the body.  It stays on the muscular cell walls or travels to the lymph node under your armpit or delta/pectoral node.  As a result there are no ACE2 receptors it comes into contact with in order for it to bind.  Those are found in lungs,kidneys, livers....  The spike protein stays anchored to the cells in which the mRNA was absorbed into.  You may ask, so how sure are we?  Well they attached radioactive labels to the mRNA and injected them into mice, series of other rodents and monkeys to track exactly where every single mRNA traveled and which cells it attached to.  They did this across multiple studies and populations.  It is very well studied. 

 

I think a lot of people feel that this was rushed, scientist don't really know what they are talking about or doing, and then someone posts something that looks serious and then it gives credence to the concern.  Not saying that you are doing this here, but this is how these concerns spread in general.

Kevin Miller's picture

dgszweda wrote:

  The spike protein stays anchored to the cells in which the mRNA was absorbed into.  You may ask, so how sure are we?  Well they attached radioactive labels to the mRNA and injected them into mice, series of other rodents and monkeys to track exactly where every single mRNA traveled and which cells it attached to.  They did this across multiple studies and populations.  It is very well studied.

So does the radioactive label on the mRNA also make each human-produced spike protein also radioactive and trackable?

Quote:
I think a lot of people feel that this was rushed, scientist don't really know what they are talking about or doing, and then someone posts something that looks serious and then it gives credence to the concern.  Not saying that you are doing this here, but this is how these concerns spread in general. 
Sometimes, however, legitimate concerns can be swept under the rug because of financial or political interests. Not saying that you are doing this here, but this is how cover-ups happen in general.

Joeb's picture

Jim I pretty much agree with your stance and I'm fully on board with what Aaron is saying.  Problem is what about Unvaxed children and Grandchildren.  If they pass it to another political antivaxer I could careless it's the innocents and the potential they're creating a another more dangerous variant I'm worried about.  Just a thought.   
 

Also these people taking up all the ICU Beds and denying an innocent that care ie heart attack etc.  It's my position that these political Antivaxers should be at the back of the bus for healthcare.  One state took that into consideration and held out a certain percentage for innocents which is the way it should be.  Why should an innocent have to take a helicopter ride for an ICU bed.  Plus that's usually a charge one pays out of pocket for.  I say a red state should pick up that cost if they're not setting aside ICU beds for innocents.  

dgszweda's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

dgszweda wrote:

 

  The spike protein stays anchored to the cells in which the mRNA was absorbed into.  You may ask, so how sure are we?  Well they attached radioactive labels to the mRNA and injected them into mice, series of other rodents and monkeys to track exactly where every single mRNA traveled and which cells it attached to.  They did this across multiple studies and populations.  It is very well studied.

So does the radioactive label on the mRNA also make each human-produced spike protein also radioactive and trackable?

 

 

Quote:
I think a lot of people feel that this was rushed, scientist don't really know what they are talking about or doing, and then someone posts something that looks serious and then it gives credence to the concern.  Not saying that you are doing this here, but this is how these concerns spread in general. 

Sometimes, however, legitimate concerns can be swept under the rug because of financial or political interests. Not saying that you are doing this here, but this is how cover-ups happen in general.

The spike protein does not need to be traceable.  It doesn't leave the cell.  It presents itself as an abnormal intrusion on the cell as a spike protein.  It is anchored to the cell and doesn't float around the body.  What does move is the mRNA.  So it is traced.  The cell that it enters is the cell that ultimately will have the spike protein.

In terms of coverups.  If this was a big multi-national company that was conducting all of the research, I would definitely have concerns.  What we have in reality is a lot of research across many groups across many countries studying this.  The technologies and chemicals that are in the current mRNA vaccines have actually been developed in some cases over 2 decades.  It was the coming together of these different technologies that made this unique.  If COVID had happened a few years earlier, we might not be in the same place as we are today in terms of the vaccines.

If you look at the arguments against vaccines, there are practically none of them that are legitimate or have any rooting in reality.  If there was some truth to the concerns than you would start hearing arguments that were cogent.  It doesn't have tracking chips, it doesn't have the virus, it doesn't change your DNA......  There is so much noise out there and people want to have concerns so they grasp onto that noise to then support that concern.

There are some legitimate reasons not to get the vaccine, but those are almost never talked about.  It is typically more of this nonsense.  I have known so many people in the last 6 months who have died from this disease because they were anti-vax.  Their death was statistically speaking 100% preventable, but they chose ignorance that lead to their death.

dgszweda's picture

I will give you one example.  My mom who is 74 years old, contracted Guillain Barre syndrome a few years ago.  She recovered from it successfully, and has not had it come back.  She is otherwise extremely healthy.  People who have GB, can see it return and sometimes in a chronic state, after something like a vaccine.  It can be very debillitating and can cause death.  So getting the COVID vaccine is definitely a concern in this case.  Because she is extremely healthy, she was working exclusively from home, and she was having everything delivered to her house, she was literally not in contact with anyone.  So given her safety from COVID and the real risk of GB, we decided to hold off getting the vaccine for a couple of months, just to see the prevelance of the issue.  She subsequently got the vaccine and had no problem.  But that would be one example where there is a legitimate concern that should be taken seriously.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

That's not the only real moral concern. There is also the moral concern of injecting something into our body about which there is no data concerning longterm effects. Many Christians, in face most Christians and a large number of non-Christians have been historically cautious about introducing certain substances into the body. There is the moral concern of governmental or employer authoritarianism. To dismiss these as not "real" seems both uninformed and shortsighted to me.

While some aspects of this contorversy get debated over and over, some are not being debated at all, and they're important upstream questions:

  • What are the limits of an employer's right to tell employees what to do? What sort of principles would define the boundaries of what's appropriate vs. what's "authoritarian"?
  • Same questions regarding government and public health. We actually did debate seatbelt laws when I was on college debate team, and along the way I argued both sides, so that made it quite interesting. I see many parallels between vaccine and mask laws and seatbelt laws (though also dissimilarities). Similar arguments were made in those debates as well.
  • How much information is needed in order to be confident that an injected substance is likely to be safe in the long term? (How is injecting a thoroughly tested vaccine different from eating a food you've never eaten before? In the latter case, you are injecting something you haven't personally verified the long term effects of. I hear "That's different" coming. Yes it is. But how is it different and how is it the same, and why?)

Given what we know about mRNA (it's so fragile, it has to be kept deep frozen in the vaccines or it doesn't work at all within a very short time), how is concern about long term effects "moral"? How is it even rational?

It's not exactly a sin to be irrational--at least, not always. But when does it stop being innocently irrational and start being foolish and/or stubborn and/or worrying and/or rebellious?

(For context, I say this as a guy who transgresses by being irrationally foolish, stubborn, worrying, or rebellious at times. We all do. I'm not making a claim to personal superiority. I'm making a claim that on this particular question, the essential facts are not seriously in doubt, and the concerns are, at the very least, innocently irrational... but I think not usually innocently, this far along.)

I think a lot of people feel that this was rushed, scientist don't really know what they are talking about or doing

I think I partly understand their point of view, but the facts are so accessible, it's hard to sympathize. For example, on the 'rush' aspect, you can read all about how they did it faster. a) overlapping study groups instead of strictly sequential ones (this doesn't compromise the testing at all, and should be how it's always done. Why isn't it? It's more expensive.)  b) mRNA lets the body make the spike proteins rather than synthesizing them in the lab... which is way slower.

Much of the angst about the science involved is indeed rooted in lack of education. It's a situation where knowledge gaps are having moral and spiritual consequences, so Christian leaders really need to take more initiative to fill those gaps--one of them being how to evaluate the quality of sources.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Aaron Blumer wrote:

Given what we know about mRNA (it's so fragile, it has to be kept deep frozen in the vaccines or it doesn't work at all within a very short time), how is concern about long term effects "moral"? How is it even rational?

Simple.  Even if the mRNA doesn't last long, we have a huge amount of hubris to think we can entirely control its effects.  Sure, it's designed and programmed to do only one thing.  However, due to the fall and our genetic variability, which means considering whatever genetic defects each one of us have that may differ from anyone else's, we have no idea if the mRNA programming will, in some cases (perhaps just a tiny number, maybe none, or maybe more than we know), cause some defective spike proteins to be created that may either be undetectable (since they are not being looked for with the current antibody tests), or cause an attack against them from our own bodies to be started that 20 years down the line results in terminal cancer or some type of autoimmune condition.  (Just in case I have to say this, I'm not a conspiracy theorist, and I don't believe that the mRNA programming is designed to be malicious, or that it carries something malicious, like nanites).

I know, someone is going to tell me that I don't understand the science, and that that CAN'T happen.  I've heard such before.  Frankly, however, we still don't know the long-term effects of using this type of vaccine (note that I did NOT say that the vaccine itself would last long-term).  Because these mRNA vaccines have only been studied for just over a year, even if the technology has been around much longer, no one knows what the long-term effects will be.   It's easy to accept the unknown for something that presents a certain amount of danger in the present.  We all make similar calculations every day, particularly if we frequent fast food restaurants every day for lunch rather than eating salads, for example.  As I mentioned before, if I'm already dying of cancer, using an mRNA cancer therapy that has had no long-term testing but does have some promising early results  is an easy call.  It's less easy for something that has as low an overall fatality rate as something like Covid.

I personally don't think that you can judge reasoned Covid vaccine resistance to be immoral any more than you can judge simply accepting it as moral.  I know some do, but I refuse to accept those terms, or any of the argumentation making vaccine acceptance of every kind of vaccine the only moral choice.

Dave Barnhart

Joeb's picture

Funny these Evangelical Christian Nationalists TRUMPERS love to rewrite history to fit their narrative regarding the founders of our Country.  Like saying Thomas Jefferson was a Baptist vs the truth a Theist.  Of course when you bring up that Jefferson forced his 16 year old slave into a physical relationship proven by famial DNA they go crazy. Good enough in court for a death sentence yet they'll deny it.  Just like they spent all that time DEFENDING RAVI ZACHARIAS.  It never changes with these people. 
 

Now down to business.  How do they Reconcile George Washington ordering all his Troops to get vaxed for small pox.  Ooooops they missed that one in their foolish endeavors not to get vaxed and prove them selves right.  What I can't understand is how guilible these people are.  No wonder they followed Trump and the misinfo put out by Trump's Minions.  Fools even unto death sadly.  

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Simple.  Even if the mRNA doesn't last long, we have a huge amount of hubris to think we can entirely control its effects.  Sure, it's designed and programmed to do only one thing.  However, due to the fall and our genetic variability, which means considering whatever genetic defects each one of us have that may differ from anyone else's, we have no idea if the mRNA programming will, in some cases (perhaps just a tiny number, maybe none, or maybe more than we know), cause some defective spike proteins to be created that may either be undetectable...

Sounds like you're talking about a distant future, but mRNA breaks down very quickly... hence the need for two shots and probably boosters eventually. It's not like the mRNA vaccines didn't go through all the usual trials. It's true that even meds that go through the FDA process occasionally turn out later to have unexpected side effects, but two things about that:

  • That sort of risk exists with everything from penicillin to acetomenophin.
  • A widespread logical error here is assuming that not taking a vaccination is neutral and taking is a risk. Reality is that when a contagious disease known to kill people is spreading, not getting vaccinated is also a risk. The question here would be, which is the greater risk?

People make the mistake all the time of thinking that passivity is not action as far as ethics goes. But if we reflect on it, we know better. Standing by and doing nothing while muggers beat someone up is action, ethically speaking: the action of not doing anything.

We are called to love God and neighbor; we are called to care for the temple of our bodies. We aren't called to put authorities in their place. So which way should Christians lean?

Another factor not widely acknowledged among mRNA vaccine detractors...

mRNA vaccines weren't invented in 2020. I easily found studies going back as far as 2008 (see reference 9).

Also relevant: Novavax's vaccine uses the more traditional approach and might be moving forward soon. Hard to say when it's likely to complete trials, etc. Novavax has a history of work on SARS vaccines, so they were able to leverage some of that experience, otherwise they wouldn't even be as far along as they are. But what I wonder: will a significant number of the vaccine hesitant really get on board with more traditional (aka make the spike protein the hard way) vaccine? Is the novelty of the mRNA approach really the issue?

All responses to health concerns carry risk. I just want to emphasize that part. Doing nothing carries risk, taking rumor-driven alternatives certainly carries risk (!), and yes, of course, vaccines carry risk. Nobody is denying that.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Dan Miller's picture

The “Fool” thread notwithstanding, 

I would not defend Jefferson's inward faith or his conduct. But I view his contributions to our independence movement as good as well as his presidency. His ownership of other humans and his sexual abuse of (probably 15 year old) Sally were evil. But they do not make me wish he had not had a hand in our county's founding. Jefferson stands as yet another model of the idea that statesmanship does not depend on an upright character. 

As for Trump, the push for the quick development of a vaccine is one his successes as president and, unless I missed it, he has uniformly encouraged vaccination.  

G. N. Barkman's picture

I'm not terribly surprised to read columns by avowed Liberals claiming that vaccine hesitant people are primarily Trump followers.  That's what they want to believe, and facts seldom persuade people who have an agenda.

As Gene Veith documented in a recent article posted on SI, some of the highest hold-outs on the vaccine are Blacks, Hispanics, "Nones" (regarding religious affiliation), and PHD's.  That should cause anyone interested in truth to demonstrate a bit of caution before linking this to Trump.  Is the anti-Trump sentiment so strong that even people who are capable of thinking logically become disabled on this issue?

G. N. Barkman

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Aaron Blumer wrote:

All responses to health concerns carry risk. I just want to emphasize that part. Doing nothing carries risk, taking rumor-driven alternatives certainly carries risk (!), and yes, of course, vaccines carry risk. Nobody is denying that.

I agree.  I'm not denying that either.  I'm only arguing that each should be allowed to weigh his own risk, and that preaching that either one or the other side of this is "the only moral choice" is a waste of time and effort.  It's easily seen through by those who are willing to think and do some digging on their own, and only adds to the unhelpful noise, of which there is already plenty on this topic.

Dave Barnhart

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