Judge Blocks Medical Worker Vaccine Mandate in NY State After Christian Health Care Workers Sue

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Christians are becoming famous not for the gospel or the love of Christ or clean, redemptive living, but for claiming religious reasons to oppose efforts to help people.  Critics were going to keep finding fault with our faith anyway, but do we really have to keep making it so easy for them?

When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?

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

No major religious denominations oppose the vaccines for religious reasons.  It is going to be hard for them to claim religious exemptions when no religion finds fault with the vaccines.  No major bioethics organizations see any issues with using the mRNA string of vaccines.  No aborted fetal tissue or tissue lines were used in their production.  Cells that were generated from aborted fetal cells from almost 40 years ago were used in some very early clinical testing.  But none of the mRNA vaccines that anyone is taking touched a fetal cell or originated from a fetal cell.  Sso I find the religious exemption a reach at best.  My gut says that the real concern is that they don't want to be told by the government to inject something into them, and they are finding this as a possible approach to reject the vaccine.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

dgszweda wrote:

No major religious denominations oppose the vaccines for religious reasons.  It is going to be hard for them to claim religious exemptions when no religion finds fault with the vaccines.  No major bioethics organizations see any issues with using the mRNA string of vaccines.  No aborted fetal tissue or tissue lines were used in their production.  Cells that were generated from aborted fetal cells from almost 40 years ago were used in some very early clinical testing.  But none of the mRNA vaccines that anyone is taking touched a fetal cell or originated from a fetal cell.  Sso I find the religious exemption a reach at best.  My gut says that the real concern is that they don't want to be told by the government to inject something into them, and they are finding this as a possible approach to reject the vaccine.

Seeing as how most evangelicals believe in soul liberty, it doesn't really matter whether any of the "major religious denominations" oppose or accept the vaccine, since they aren't the ones making decisions for most evangelicals.  And to be honest, most don't have the knowledge that you do or don't believe it when they are told that the vaccines have almost no connection to aborted fetal tissue, so their consciences are working on a different basis than yours (or, for that matter, mine) is.

I believe you are right to an extent about being "told by the government to inject something into them."  That's certainly a large part of my general objection.  However, I came to the conclusion pretty early on that I personally can't in good conscience try to get a religious exemption, for mostly the same reasons given here and in Tyler's post the other day.  I know four Christian nurses who work at one of the local university hospitals.  Two of them got the vaccination without much thought.  One sought and obtained a religious exemption, and the other thought about it, but decided she couldn't honestly say she truly had a "religious" reason to refuse.  That's a small sample, but I suspect it's pretty representative of the different views I've encountered from other Christians on this topic.

It's easy to say that the reasoning behind a religious exemption is "a reach at best" when it's not your personal conscience that is involved.  I don't buy the arguments for getting a religious exemption either.  For those that do, it's going to take more education, experience and persuasion to convince them, as preaching at them or berating them as stupid or ignorant won't do the trick.  Plus, they still may object on other grounds.

Dave Barnhart

dgszweda's picture

dcbii wrote:

It's easy to say that the reasoning behind a religious exemption is "a reach at best" when it's not your personal conscience that is involved.  

I agree with your comments.  I have often found this data also a bit funny:

92.6% of all children are vaccinated with Polio, a disease that hasn't been seen in the US for I think 45 years or so.

90.2% of all children are vaccinated from chickenpox, a disease that in the 25 years combined before the vaccine only killed 2,262 people.  Chickenpox was created using an aborted fetal cell line

People have an idea and they use the excuse that they feel best fits their ability to get out of what they don't want to do.  The same story as what kids do in kindergarten.  Nothing has really changed for most people from kindergarten.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

dgszweda wrote:

I have often found this data also a bit funny:

92.6% of all children are vaccinated with Polio, a disease that hasn't been seen in the US for I think 45 years or so.

90.2% of all children are vaccinated from chickenpox, a disease that in the 25 years combined before the vaccine only killed 2,262 people.  Chickenpox was created using an aborted fetal cell line

Well, I can tell you my thinking on the above.  Polio is indeed rare in the U.S., though according to the CDC it has been brought into the U.S. from foreign countries -- the last known time in 1993, the year my oldest was born.  However, I was born in the 60's and grew up in the 70's.  I still remember hearing my parents talk about cases, even though they were few and far between, and they of course knew people that had had it, and I certainly absorbed some of their thinking on it.  The point, though, is that the consequences of polio, including a pretty high fatality rate, and encephalitis and paralysis being common effects in survivors are enough to know that the risks from that disease are high if it's contracted.  Even if most cases in the world never make it to the U.S., that's not to say it could never happen.  And these days, illegal immigration is a bigger problem than ever.  I would never have skipped that vaccine for my children.

On chicken pox, I actually waffled about having my children get that vaccine.  Everyone I knew growing up had had the disease and survived it fine without side effects like those of polio.  The vaccine was relatively new at that time.  We were thinking about skipping it, but my wife and I eventually decided to have our kids get the vaccine, even though, at least back then, it wasn't one of the ones required by schools.  Although we went ahead and did it, I still wasn't convinced it was necessary.  It was just that it was convenient to do with the others and it was recommended by a doctor we trusted.  (And, I did a lot less research on my own for such things back then -- I didn't know about the fetal cell line connection.)  This one is definitely closer to Covid, with the consequences being much less than something similar to polio.  I'm sure some would consider the chicken pox vaccine a requirement, but I did not and still would not.

As to people using whatever excuses they can to do what they want, well I can't really disagree with you there.

Dave Barnhart

Don Johnson's picture

dgszweda wrote:

90.2% of all children are vaccinated from chickenpox, a disease that in the 25 years combined before the vaccine only killed 2,262 people.  Chickenpox was created using an aborted fetal cell line

As you know, I am with you on almost all points in the vaccinations issue, but curious on this statement. Do you mean to say the chickenpox vaccine  was created using an aborted fetal cell line?

Interesting if so. I think an ethical argument for using such materials is possible, so it doesn't bother me either way. I'd be interested in links to this info. (I'll do some searching too)

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Don Johnson's picture

I found a few articles on the subject. Interesting. I think it might be worth some discussion, but it might just stir up too much rage.

Anyway, as I understand it, lung cells from an aborted baby were used to culture and test the development of the vaccine, the vaccine didn't come directly from the aborted cells themselves.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

dgszweda's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

 

dgszweda wrote:

 

90.2% of all children are vaccinated from chickenpox, a disease that in the 25 years combined before the vaccine only killed 2,262 people.  Chickenpox was created using an aborted fetal cell line

 

 

As you know, I am with you on almost all points in the vaccinations issue, but curious on this statement. Do you mean to say the chickenpox vaccine  was created using an aborted fetal cell line?

Interesting if so. I think an ethical argument for using such materials is possible, so it doesn't bother me either way. I'd be interested in links to this info. (I'll do some searching too)

Sorry, meant the chickepox vaccine.

Bert Perry's picture

Part of it for my family is that we really don't like to be first adopters of anything--let the manufacturer sort out the quality problems for a little before we give it a try.  That was certainly our approach for Gardasil and the varicella (chicken pox) vaccines.  The former especially seemed to be pushed VERY hard for a vaccine that resolves issues that can be avoided by sexual chastity, and whose side effects that were known at the time were detectable by routine Pap smears.  Even now, we think it's odd that a vaccine whose benefits are proven mostly to about five years is offered at an age when most peoples' first sexual experience is 7-10 years away.

We decided to go fairly early for the 'rona simply because of the significance of the epidemic, but even then, we knew we were taking some risk because the standard ~ 5 year test hadn't been done.  Perhaps that test is overkill, but I like to think that a certain degree of caution is warranted.

It doesn't excuse the nonsense artists that are claiming all kinds of things without any evidence, but the principle of "don't be a first adopter" is well known.  It's not for no reason, for example, that our parents were told "never buy a car in its first model year."

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dgszweda's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

we knew we were taking some risk because the standard ~ 5 year test hadn't been done.  Perhaps that test is overkill, but I like to think that a certain degree of caution is warranted.

Bert, just as a side note, you were not taking any risks.  There is no standard 5 year.  Below is a good article, you can actually find the same study done elsewhere.  Practically all vaccine side effects throughout the entire history of vaccines have taken place in the first 6 weeks.  No new side effect has ever appeared and been shown to be caused by the vaccine has ever appeared after more than 8 weeks after the dose.  What people don't realize is that even more safety steps were taken in both the creation of the vaccine and the study of it in the wild.

Many people who have concerns over vaccines keep attributed "long term" side effects appropriated to drug regimes to a vaccine, and they are not the same.  What you need to be aware of is the "rareness" of a side effect.  That is what is most concerning around vaccines, since clinical trials may only employ 10's of thousands of volunteers, so side effects that might be 1 in a million are not found.  But here again you are safe.  The COVID vaccine has been tested for almost 18 months now, 42.6% of the earth's population has been given a shot and 5.82 billion doses have been administered.  Again, you are safe, because the only types of side effects that might have not been discovered is potentially a 1 in 10 billion chance of getting.  But statistically that is nearly impossible.

Rest assured, Bert, you took no risks in getting the vaccine because you didn't wait 5 years.  Now go out and spread this word with your circle who may still be concerned about long term side effects.  And educate them Smile

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/vaccines-are-highly-u...

 

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

More Christian heroes in the headlines...

Christian Rep. Lauren Boebert: I don't ‘give a darn about mask mandates’ because my colleagues are hypocrites, and Street preacher hails victory after case over breaking ‘draconian’ COVID regulations is thrown out

At least Boebert is transparent about her idiotic reasoning. 

  • Hypocrites are wrong
  • Hypocrites say A is true
  • Therefore A is untrue and I get to act like I'm brilliant and courageous for rejecting it

Consider reality....  there are doctors who smoke, cops who drive drunk, pastors who don't pray, and pro-life advocates who murder. We don't throw out every claim that has some hypocritical backers.

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.

Mark_Smith's picture

it seems the opposition to taking the vaccine is wanting to not participate in abortion. Did I read that correctly? Then there is a solution! The JJ vaccine does use material from an aborted fetal cell line, but Pfizer and Moderna do not. That is what I understand. So what is the issue here?

dgszweda's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

it seems the opposition to taking the vaccine is wanting to not participate in abortion. Did I read that correctly? Then there is a solution! The JJ vaccine does use material from an aborted fetal cell line, but Pfizer and Moderna do not. That is what I understand. So what is the issue here?

The loose argument (and I am not aligned to it) is that the mRNA used some cells that have their origin in the aborted fetal cells were used in pre-clinical testing.  I know this is getting to be larger and larger stretches.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

For what it's worth...

I remember hearing along the way, that this or that COVID response was overkill/sinisterly motivated because, "just look at how many people die in highway traffic accidents every year, and you don't see us  shutting down the freeways!"  etc.

Just read this at work this morning: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813149

They're still collecting data, but...

A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2021 shows that an estimated 8,730 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes.

We're currently losing about that many to COVID every week. At the peak last year, we were losing that many every three days.

So getting vaccinated, wearing a mask in some situations, it's really not worse than a seatbelt law or speed limit law or various other rules aimed at reducing traffic deaths. The "compare it to traffic" argument suggests Covid response has actually been disproportionaly small. (I don't think it has been, but my point is that the 'compare traffic deaths' argument doesn't work for the purpose people have tried to use it for.)

Objection: but covid deaths are inflated because people have other conditions...

This is also true of traffic crash fatalities or any other cause of death you want to name... including murder. Would Jack have died from the blow this thug dealt him if he hadn't had a pre-existing brain aneurysm? Would Jill have survived that plane crash if she hadn't had high blood pressure? Would Maynard have died from falling down the steps if he weren't, well, just really old?   My point is that it's really not relevant--in the sense folks are trying to use it. How many traffic deaths involved drivers and passengers with other health conditions that weakened them in some way?

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.

Don Johnson's picture

This article has a helpful chart:

The Leading Causes of Death in the US for 2020 | Cardiology | JAMA | JAMA Network

Heart disease and cancer at the top, then Covid, which accounts for most of the increase last year, regardless of counting methods.

Aaron Blumer wrote:
So getting vaccinated, wearing a mask in some situations, it's really not worse than a seatbelt law or speed limit law or various other rules aimed at reducing traffic deaths.

While this may be true as far as comparing with traffic deaths, I remain unconvinced that masks make any difference. Comparing infection rates for regions that had mask mandates and those that did not yield roughly similar results.

The fact is, I don't think anyone really knows what is effective as a counter-measure. Just my opinion, I know I'm not an expert.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Larry's picture

Moderator

This deeply grieves me. How did we get here?

What if we got here because people took our history seriously? And many today do not take it seriously. They seem to think our history can be easily discarded with no long-term ramifications. In history, many have been willing to give their lives for basic freedoms--both civically and religiously. But today, many are willing to jettison those freedoms for what is at best a temporary short-term gain. You can be pro-vax and reject the idea that the government can compel it.

Christians are becoming famous not for the gospel or the love of Christ or clean, redemptive living but for all this sort of nonsense.  Critics were going to keep going after our faith anyway, but that's no excuse for continually handing them good reasons to do so.

It is also interesting to me how many are willing to change fundamental historic Christianity in order to gain acceptance by the world around us. To consider Christian conscience and religious conviction a bad thing is troubling particularly for those claiming to be conservative. You can't be conservative unless you are actually willing to conserve. And yet now, many are not willing to conserve even the most basic parts of the Christian faith, that is, the individual right to conscience.

When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?

One could be forgiven for wondering. But what if this means exactly the opposite than you imply here? What "faith on the earth" is actually people who take their Christianity seriously enough not to let pressure from those outside the church redefine it? What if "faith on the earth" says "We can die of COVID is need be but what we cannot do is agree not to be a church"? Like so many emotional type arguments, these cut both ways. 

Rhetoric is strong but often logic and arguments don't support it. So again, I urge caution and let people disagree in good faith. 

Larry's picture

Moderator

No major religious denominations oppose the vaccines for religious reasons.

 Why is there this constant flurry of misunderstanding what a religious exemption? It seems like every thread in the past few days has said something very similar to this. And it's dead wrong. We even have one poster who is apparently very knowledgeable claiming this is cowardice and moronic. I am not sure how he came to that conclusion. 

The truth is that religious exemptions do not belong to denominations, churches, or other people. They belong to individuals. That's the point -- No one can coerce belief. If you are opposed to something for a religious reason, then that is entirely on you. No one has to agree.

With all the technical talk about vaccines and science, let's at least get the religion part of it correct. 

I find the fetal cell argument the least convincing of all. I think it is absolutely ridiculous and without merit whatsoever. But I don't get to make that decision for others. The bottom line is that the babies are already dead and not taking a medicine connected to them won't bring them back to life.

The strongest arguments, IMO, are the "temple of God" argument and the "freedom" argument. On the former, there is all kinds of stuff, including medicines, that Christians don't put in their bodies because they are temples of the Holy Spirit. This is not new. Nor should it be troubling. On the latter it is common to claim that all these vaccines are already mandated. But I have not seen anyone interact and whether they should be mandated. And what types of vaccines should be mandated. Should the flu shot be mandated? Most would say no. But why MMR and not the flu shot? Or why COVID and not the flu shot? Should a Z-pak be a government mandate? Should an employer require an employee to take Norco to deal with his pain so he can work and threaten him with termination if he doesn't want to? Should an employer be able to require an employee to take birth control pills so that she doesn't get pregnant and have to take a leave from a job that she was trained for at great expense? Most people would probably say "No" to the latter, but why? Where is this line drawn? Why employers with 100 employees and not 125? Or 75? Again, it seems to me that very little critical thinking is taking place. But all too frequently, that hasn't stopped people from talking.

T Howard's picture

Larry wrote:

No major religious denominations oppose the vaccines for religious reasons.

 Why is there this constant flurry of misunderstanding what a religious exemption? It seems like every thread in the past few days has said something very similar to this. And it's dead wrong. We even have one poster who is apparently very knowledgeable claiming this is cowardice and moronic. I am not sure how he came to that conclusion. 

Larry, the simple answer is that "Christians" using the religious exemption are often quoting Scripture out of context to demonstrate that God himself and their Christian faith doesn't allow them to get the vaccine. If you twist Scripture and pull the God card, other believers certainly can evaluate whether your use of Scripture is legitimate. It's called hermeneutics, and for the past 2,000 years the church has been evaluating and judging whether groups and individuals are rightly understanding and interpreting what Scripture says about God.

Again, if people don't want to get the vaccine, then don't get it. Just don't blame God for your decision. That is cowardice.

dgszweda's picture

Larry wrote:

No major religious denominations oppose the vaccines for religious reasons.

If you are opposed to something for a religious reason, then that is entirely on you. No one has to agree.

This is not always the case.  Lawyers are currently advising companies about the process.  Because you have institutions that are filling out religious exemptions en masse for people as a way to avoid the vaccine, some companies are starting to ask for better documentation to protect them.  You may start seeing more pressure.  Even the military issued guidelines around how to challenge people around religious exemption.

It should be a sincerely held belief, but with those requesting it, abusing it, you are going to see pushback and challenges to it.  In the past, many instances of religious exemption had strong backing around it from a denomination and religious institution, so that helped.  With all major denominations encouraging vaccines, it just makes the story a bit harder.  I don't know where it will fall out, but I would expect that there is going to be some level of challenge to the exemptions at some level.

Larry's picture

Moderator

That is cowardice.

So if I understand you correctly, it is impossible for anyone to disagree with you about vaccines in good conscience? They are all cowards? There is no chance that they, in good conscience, came to a different conclusion about what the Scripture requires of them?

I am still not sure how you came to that conclusion. Is there any chance that you might be wrong about their motives or their heart? Is there any chance that you are mistaken at all? In the end, it seems that at the very least you are confusing what it means to have religious truth with what it means to have religious freedom. The point of religious freedom is that people are allowed to come to their own conclusions and you (nor me) can impose belief on them?

What if I say you are a coward for your position? What if I can evaluate your use of Scripture and declare your position to be cowardice? 

T Howard's picture

Larry wrote:

That is cowardice.

So if I understand you correctly, it is impossible for anyone to disagree with you about vaccines in good conscience? They are all cowards? There is no chance that they, in good conscience, came to a different conclusion about what the Scripture requires of them?

Larry, what have I written? You're free to disagree with me about vaccines. I believe you should have the choice whether you receive the vaccine or not. Choosing to remain unvaccinated is not what makes you a coward.

Blaming God, Biden, Mexican immigrants, Andrew Cuomo, vaccine safety protocols, conspiracy theories, etc. for not getting vaccinated is what makes you a coward. At least have the courage to be honest with yourself and others.

Larry wrote:
In the end, it seems that at the very least you are confusing what it means to have religious truth with what it means to have religious freedom. The point of religious freedom is that people are allowed to come to their own conclusions and you (nor me) can impose belief on them?
 

Agreed. in the name of religious freedom, if you want to claim a religious exemption to the vaccination that's up to you. Just don't say it's based on your Christian faith as informed by Scripture. If you do, then you need to be able to defend your reasoning without resorting to "God told me" or twisting Scripture if you want other believers to take you seriously.

Of course, you may not care what other Christians think of you just as long as you have an excuse not to get vaccinated.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Larry, what have I written? ... Blaming God, Biden, Mexican immigrants, Andrew Cuomo, vaccine safety protocols, conspiracy theories, etc. for not getting vaccinated is what makes you a coward.

You have written that they are cowards. You have not yet argued the basis for calling them cowards. We can't really evaluate your argument. As of now, I have to agree that it appears to be simply name calling. What is cowardly about having a reason that is sufficient to yourself for an action? 

It is hard to imagine that you think everyone who disagrees with you is a coward and that there is no other possible explanation. 

Sure they might be wrong, but cowards? Why aren't the people who demand everyone get vaccinated cowards? Why aren't the people who want to shut everything down cowards?

you need to be able to defend your reasoning without resorting to "God told me" or twisting Scripture if you want other believers to take you seriously.

I agree with this. But the case doesn't require "God told me so" in some non-biblical way or the twisting of Scripture. Again, you seem not to consider that people could differ with you in good conscience. You seem, IMO, to perhaps have too high a view of your own conclusion.