Christian groups, including Answers in Genesis, ask Supreme Court to stop Biden employer vaccine mandate

"The First Liberty Institute, a legal nonprofit specializing in religious liberty cases, filed an emergency application for stay with the nation’s high court over the weekend on behalf of multiple faith-based organizations, arguing that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration vaccine mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act." - CPost

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Lots of weighty arguments can be made against a federal employer vaccination mandate, but I'm really not seeing what this has to do with religious freedom. Spurious legal appeals to religious liberty only weaken it.

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:

Lots of weighty arguments can be made against a federal employer vaccination mandate, but I'm really not seeing what this has to do with religious freedom. Spurious legal appeals to religious liberty only weaken it.

I agree.  The concern that I really have is when we will have a situation where religious liberty is truly at stake.  If we base our fights on these types of issues, it waters down the value in future arguments.  I am not a big fan of government mandates, but I fail to see a very strong tie between this mandate and an actual religious liberty issue.  I think the public sees even a weaker tie when every religious institution has come out and stated that there are no religious issues associated with the vaccine.

WallyMorris's picture

They are arguing on the basis of what the Supreme Court itself has said that "religious conviction" and "religious liberty" are. A "religious conviction" is any belief which a person holds to "religiously", whether or not that person's belief involves a deity. The Sup Crt's rulings on this go back to at least the early 1960s. Additionally, some believe that to "mandate" a vaccine which some think has a connection to aborted baby tissue violates "religious liberty". The issue is not whether you or I think that the "abortion connection" is legitimate or not. The issue is that some do and therefore oppose being forced to receive a particular vaccine.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Larry's picture

Moderator

The concern that I really have is when we will have a situation where religious liberty is truly at stake.  If we base our fights on these types of issues, it waters down the value in future arguments.

Of course it might be the opposite, that you give it up little by little and when "religious liberty truly is at stake," it is clear that no one cared up til now so why now? It is these small things that set the stage for bigger things. I think it is a mistake to reserve "religious liberty" only for the things you personally care about. It's much bigger than that.

I have repeatedly asked here for those of you who think religious liberty has not been crossed when that line would be crossed. But no one answers. Churches were forbidden to practice their religion and yet religious liberty was not infringed upon. Churches were treated differently than other organizations yet religious liberty was not infringed upon (even though courts have repeatedly said differently). Christians were/are required to inject something into their body that they believe might harm their bodies that they believe belong to God yet religious liberty is not infringed. 

So when will religious liberty be infringed upon? What is the line? And why must everyone else hold to your line?

The religious liberty argument is crystal clear. It is hard to imagine people saying they can't see it. I will assume good faith in those statements but it strains credulity to be sure. I think people continue to think that their conscience should be forced on everyone else. So if Person A doesn't have a religious objection then no one else can because it isn't legitimate since Person A doesn't have it. 

dgszweda's picture

Larry wrote:

The concern that I really have is when we will have a situation where religious liberty is truly at stake.  If we base our fights on these types of issues, it waters down the value in future arguments.

 

I have repeatedly asked here for those of you who think religious liberty has not been crossed when that line would be crossed. But no one answers.

For me they would be:

  • Permanently unable to meet to worship
  • Unable to preach the gospel message as found in Scripture
  • Dictate how to operate a church or church service that is in contradiction to that which is outlined in Scripture
  • Unable to practice my religious beliefs as outlined in Scripture at home

I don't believe that we have an inherent right to religious freedom that is guaranteed.  I believe the Constitution gives us that right, but I don't believe it is guaranteed or necessary in order to worship Christ and be faithful to Him.  The constitution does not give us the absolute protection around practice, only the protection around beliefs.  This was played out when polygamy was banned.

For me, the temporary restrictions around gathering for health reasons and the vaccine mandate are not a red line, nor for me personally, do I think they erode any freedom.  Mostly because we have had the exact elements seen during this pandemic, throughout the history of the United States and they were never permanent nor did they erode religious freedom.  I view what we have in the US as a contradiction of history and society in general.  It will not last.  So I don't know what a "red line" is at the end of the day.  Some day it will be crossed, when it does I am doubtful that I will take up arms or join an insurrection.  Right now we live in a Nirvana of sorts when it comes to religious liberties.  Our Christian forefathers for the most part were never granted this, nor will our descendants.

dgszweda's picture

WallyMorris wrote:

They are arguing on the basis of what the Supreme Court itself has said that "religious conviction" and "religious liberty" are. A "religious conviction" is any belief which a person holds to "religiously", whether or not that person's belief involves a deity. The Sup Crt's rulings on this go back to at least the early 1960s. Additionally, some believe that to "mandate" a vaccine which some think has a connection to aborted baby tissue violates "religious liberty". The issue is not whether you or I think that the "abortion connection" is legitimate or not. The issue is that some do and therefore oppose being forced to receive a particular vaccine.

Not entirely true.  I am not aware of every court case since the 1960's.  But Reynolds v. US outlawed Polygamy.  The foundations of some of the reasoning went to the founding fathers and their perspective on what religious liberty really meant.  There is a distinction between religious belief and actions that flow from the religious belief.  I am not saying someone does or doesn't have a right to use a religious exemption when it comes to a vaccine, only that there are limits to the actions that may result from religious beliefs.  The government can't dictate whether you do or don't believe that your first born should be sacrificed, only that you can't act on sacrificing your first born.

There are two COVID vaccines about to hit the market where no aborted fetuses were used in the development, manufacturing or testing of the vaccine.  So those concerned should be able to rest easy and now they can take the vaccine  Lastly, there is no definitive proof that the HEK-293 cell line used in a pre-clinical trial test of the Moderna mRNA came from aborted fetus.  No matter what some doctor or site says, there is no proof.  That is already very well documented.  The only conclusive evidence is that they were fetal cells that originated from a female.  The HEK-293 cell line today are not considered fetal cells.

dgszweda's picture

I am still struggling after reading the entire court filing.  They claimants say that the rules will put undue burden on them, but I fail to see how this is any different of a burden than OSHA's safety requirements and mandates that they are already under.  I remember institutions complaining 30 years ago when OSHA mandated that every chemical that existed anywhere on premise of an institution required to have MSDS sheets on file, readily available to any employee and a hotline to call if there were problems.

There are a ton of requirements that are imposed on these religious institutions that could impact someone's religious beliefs today.  For example, I know some Christians who believe a Social Security number is a sign of the mark of the beast.  The do not obtain a Social Security number.  In return religious institutions must require all employees to obtain a Social Security number regardless of their religious beliefs (https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterjreilly/2014/07/16/social-security-num...).  This has not held up in court.

I don't necessarily disagree that they don't have a case, but I don't think the wording in the case that was filed really holds up well.  I think they could have better arguments.  The wording in the ruling for the most part is focused on an imposition of a rule that may impose on the religious convictions of their employees.  They don't spend practically any amount of time on what specifically around the mandate impacts religious beliefs.  The focus on imposing a ruling that may impact religious convictions of their employees weakens their argument because there are religious convictions round many mandates that these same institutions impose today (i.e. SS numbers).

As an FYI, Novavax is now authorized in a number of countries including, just the other day, the EU.  It is coming increasingly close to approval in the US, potentially before the end of the year, and more than likely before the end of January.  This vaccine has absolutely no connection to any fetal cell line whatsoever (whether elective aborted or not), in any stage of its development or manufacturing.  This will remove a significant number of religious exemptions.  The small number that resists vaccination on religious grounds (estimated at less than 3% of the population) will be faced with evaluating their stance.  If this was truly their reasoning, than they should be willing to accept the new vaccine.  My guess, is that most will now move to another line of arguments and will align with what Wally is saying, which is that I can have a religious exemption to anything, without it really being a religious exemption and that thought process can't be questioned.  The other ones will continue to hold to something along the lines that any medicine impacts their religious beliefs.  96% of the military combined has been vaccinated and this is a population that is typically conservative and wary of government intervention.  It is expected based on the current rate that about 99% will end up being vaccinated and only 1% will be let go from the armed services.

 

Larry's picture

Moderator

Thanks for the response.

Permanently unable to meet to worship

Why only permanently? That doesn't seem to be a biblical standard.

Dictate how to operate a church or church service that is in contradiction to that which is outlined in Scripture

This actually happened when churches were told that they could not sing in contradiction to Scripture and that they could not observe communion in contradiction to Scripture. They were also told how big they could be, how close they could sit, etc.

The constitution does not give us the absolute protection around practice, only the protection around beliefs. 

No, the exercise of religion, not the beliefs. Furthermore, beliefs require expression or practice. A belief that cannot be practiced is no belief at all. It is true that religious exercise is not a free for all, but no one is claiming that.

There are religious exemptions that have nothing to do with fetal cells. I always thought the fetal cell objection was weak. But there are others so even if Novavax has a vaccine without fetal cells, it doesn't change the situation much for many people.

WallyMorris's picture

dgszweda: The case you cited illustrates that religious conviction/freedom is not an absolute right/freedom that always supercedes every challenge or situation. But the Sup Crt generally works to defer to the 1st Amendment. Which is one reason why people are challenging the mandate on religious grounds.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

They are arguing on the basis of what the Supreme Court itself has said that
"religious conviction" and "religious liberty" are. A "religious conviction"
is any belief which a person holds to "religiously", whether or not that
person's belief involves a deity. The Sup Crt's rulings on this go back to at
least the early 1960s.

Since we're talking about Christian organizations, the legal validity of their argument isn't primary. The more fundamental question is whether there's any Christian/biblical reason to see this as a religious liberty issue--with the understanding that when a Christian organization makes a religious liberty claim, they're implying this is a matter of their Christian faith.

Which is why it's hard to not take this sort of thing personally. The Christianity I know and believe seems to be besmirched by this sort of thing.

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.

WallyMorris's picture

Various people posting on SI can debate extensively on the merits of these cases. Although it may make for interesting discussion here, the only aspect which matters is the Supreme Court's history of ruling in religion cases. The litigants believe they have a good possibility of winning their case based on that history. For a good review of Sup Crt rulings in this area, see Abraham and Perry, Freedom And The Court, pp. 255-366, 8th edition.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Robert Byers's picture

dgszweda wrote:

I don't believe that we have an inherent right to religious freedom that is guaranteed.  I believe the Constitution gives us that right, but I don't believe it is guaranteed or necessary in order to worship Christ and be faithful to Him. 

This is a common error, but it deserves to be corrected.  The Constitution does NOT give us the right to freedom of religion (or anything else).  The Constitution restricts the government to keep them from infringing on the rights we already have apart from government. Our rights come from, as Jefferson put it in the Declaration "the laws of Nature, and of Nature's God."  We do indeed have an inherent right to religious freedom, not because of the Constitution, but because of the way God made us.  Having those rights restricted or removed requires the government to defend the reason they are doing so, not us having to defend the reason they shouldn't.  The burden of proof rests with them, not with those who object to their actions.  Yes, we certainly can worship God without religious freedom as many have done throughout history.  But why on earth do you want to if there is an alternative?

dgszweda's picture

Larry wrote:

Thanks for the response.

Permanently unable to meet to worship

Why only permanently? That doesn't seem to be a biblical standard.

Dictate how to operate a church or church service that is in contradiction to that which is outlined in Scripture

This actually happened when churches were told that they could not sing in contradiction to Scripture and that they could not observe communion in contradiction to Scripture. They were also told how big they could be, how close they could sit, etc.

The constitution does not give us the absolute protection around practice, only the protection around beliefs. 

No, the exercise of religion, not the beliefs. Furthermore, beliefs require expression or practice. A belief that cannot be practiced is no belief at all. It is true that religious exercise is not a free for all, but no one is claiming that.

There are religious exemptions that have nothing to do with fetal cells. I always thought the fetal cell objection was weak. But there are others so even if Novavax has a vaccine without fetal cells, it doesn't change the situation much for many people.

Permanently because there will always be legitimate scenarios where permanent doesn't work.  Has your church ever in its history cancelled a service?  What happens if the church building burns down?  We met at a daycare one time and it flooded and we weren't able to meet.  I am not sure the church is in sin,  if an emergency cancels a specific church service.

I never said I agreed with laws that prohibited singing and/or communion.  But I believe the church has a responsibility to reasonably accommodate some potential short terms scenarios.  Every church building has a limit to how many can sit in the building legally and we abide by that every day.

No, not all excercise of religion is not absolutley protected.  Child sacrifice and polygamy are religious activities that are not protected by the Constitition.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

They were also told how big they could be, how close they could sit, etc.

This is not new. In many places, fire codes have told churches how many people can be in their buildings for lots of years. Several other aspects of COVID restrictions have near-parallels in history. Of course, one could counter that "Well, we were wrong to accept these government limitations in the past," but I'm generally not hearing that argument, which is interesting.

Similarly, the argument could be made that "A church closing its doors temporarily is different from the gov. telling them to close their doors," but usually the argument is: "Scripture requires churches to not cancel services so we can't obey the government," or something along those lines. But this is weak, because there's no biblical prohibition against conforming to a government order to do what you could do anyway, when circumstances seem to warrant it (like a weather cancellation, or building destroyed, etc).

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

WallyMorris wrote:

dgszweda: The case you cited illustrates that religious conviction/freedom is not an absolute right/freedom that always supercedes every challenge or situation. But the Sup Crt generally works to defer to the 1st Amendment. Which is one reason why people are challenging the mandate on religious grounds.

I have talked to many, many people who hold a "religious" conviction around the vaccines.  This includes most of my extended family as well.  Practically all of them say it is a religious right, but in reality it is only a belief they have that is disguised as religious conviction.  The second you start discussing with them, it always reverts to something around Biden, government mandates, fake science, Fauci is a liar......  But because they are a Christian, they feel that they can take all of that and wrap it around a religious liberty bow.  It doesn't bother me that people may have religious grounds to refuse the vaccine.  And it doesn't bother me if the Supreme Court supports that.  It bothers me that out of every 100 people who claim religious grounds, it is actually maybe 1, and the rest are abusing it.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Practically all of them say it is a religious right, but in reality it is only a belief they have that is disguised as religious conviction.  The second you start discussing with them, it always reverts to something around Biden, government mandates, fake science, Fauci is a liar......  But because they are a Christian, they feel that they can take all of that and wrap it around a religious liberty bow.

This has been my experience as well.

We often hold other people's views to rigorous biblical-validity standards but lower the standards quite a bit (or chuck them entirely) when the view is something we've already decided. (So what's going on here a good bit of the time is a gut reaction with a biblical rationalization.)

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.

T Howard's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

Practically all of them say it is a religious right, but in reality it is only a belief they have that is disguised as religious conviction.  The second you start discussing with them, it always reverts to something around Biden, government mandates, fake science, Fauci is a liar......  But because they are a Christian, they feel that they can take all of that and wrap it around a religious liberty bow.

This has been my experience as well.

Same for me.

However, I've already said my piece about all of this and won't rehash. BTW, there are several families in the church we're attending who have a loved one in the hospital on a ventilator who refused to get the vaccine. I want to be compassionate, but I'm having a hard time feeling sorry for them. They chose to ignore or reject the warnings, and now they are suffering the consequences.

It's like the Yellowstone tourists who ignore all the signs warning them to keep their distance from wildlife and then get gored, trampled, or thrown into the air by a wild buffalo because they wanted to get a selfie with it.

Okay, I'm done. I promise.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

“Unlike the previous vaccines authorized by the FDA for use in the United States, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine uses decades-old, abortion-derived cells in its design, development and production, as well as its testing.”

https://www.baptistpress.com/resource-library/news/despite-ethical-quest...

You may or may not think that makes a difference, but the connection to abortion seems to be a fact.  Those who do think it makes a difference have my respect. 

David R. Brumbelow

dgszweda's picture

David R. Brumbelow wrote:

“Unlike the previous vaccines authorized by the FDA for use in the United States, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine uses decades-old, abortion-derived cells in its design, development and production, as well as its testing.”

https://www.baptistpress.com/resource-library/news/despite-ethical-quest...

You may or may not think that makes a difference, but the connection to abortion seems to be a fact.  Those who do think it makes a difference have my respect. 

David R. Brumbelow

J&J, yes that statement, is more or less correct.  For something like Moderna, which used the HEK-293 cell line in pre-clinical testing only, the link to abortion is not a fact.  Where the HEK-293 came from is unknown.  Abortion linked vaccine opponents will say that since the lab in the Netherlands often used cells from aborted fetuses, there is a high likely hood that the cells that HEK was derived from were from an elective abortion.  But there is not one shred of evidence that it came from an abortion.

Like Moore, I struggle with the ethics of this.  While I am 100% opposed to creating a scientific environment that pushes for abortions to promote science, something like the Moderna vaccine becomes a stretch.  Even when you add on Moore's comments, I struggle with whether a few pre-clinical tests that used HEK-293 promote abortion or reward abortion.  Cells derived from aborted cells were used in the testing of the MMR vaccine, yet 92% of parents give their children that vaccine.   If someone wants to hold to that, I do have a certain level of respect.  Although in the end, like I said above in the next 30-60 days there will be COVID vaccines with no connection to aborted fetal cells, so the argument pretty much goes away at that point.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Has your church ever in its history cancelled a service?  What happens if the church building burns down?

Of course (our church actually burned down on a Saturday night in 1942 I think and they met the next morning anyway in some way I am told), but these aren't the same, right? I don't get why these things are being brought up as if they are the same kind of things? Having some sort of tragedy or natural disaster that prevents meeting for a week or even two is a whole lot different than the government telling healthy people that they cannot meet in any way.

I never said I agreed with laws that prohibited singing and/or communion.

You said there were no religious liberty lines crossed and a line would be for the government to "Dictate how to operate a church or church service that is in contradiction to that which is outlined in Scripture." I was simply pointing out that a line you identified as a line had already been crossed, yet you still claimed there were no lines crossed. Yet the courts have said that lines were crossed.

  But I believe the church has a responsibility to reasonably accommodate some potential short terms scenarios.  Every church building has a limit to how many can sit in the building legally and we abide by that every day.

Again, this simply a mixing of issues.

I think I have been consistent that believers can, in good conscience, deal with this scenario in different ways. We did stop meeting for a time, against my better judgment because I was putting people in the place of violating their own conscience about church. 

My problem is that there are still people who claim that there were no religious liberty issues and that government was entitled to do what it did, in spite of both Scripture and the fact that government has repeatedly lost court cases about this. 

I think we need a better ecclesiology.

AndyE's picture

David R. Brumbelow wrote:
You may or may not think that makes a difference, but the connection to abortion seems to be a fact.  Those who do think it makes a difference have my respect. 
I've been trying to figure out what the exact moral issue is with taking a vaccine that has a connection to abortion.  If someone needed a transplant, would they object to getting an organ from someone who was murdered?  I could see an objection if you murdered someone so you or a loved one could get the organ. I would also see an objection if people were being murdered to increase the general supply of organs, because that would be supporting or encouraging a wicked practice, even if for a general good.  In regard to abortion and vaccines, none of the babies aborted were aborted so that there cells could be used for medical research (that I am aware of).  The use of these cell lines does not contribute to further abortions or the funding new abortions.  Just like the person getting an organ from a murder victim is not responsible for that murder, or encouraging murders, or funding murders, neither is the person benefiting from a vaccine that may have been developed using a cell line originating from an abortion.  Someone made the point that if you get information about a potential bombing threat via unethical torture, you don't just let the people potentially impacted by that bomb threat die because the information was gathered in an immoral way. No, you work to stop the immortal way of gaining information, but you don't further the wrong by allowing the people to die. Note, I realize that in our law system, some evidence is not admissible if it is gathered illegally, but that is done to protect people's rights in general. That illegally-gathered information would not prevent authorities from trying to stop further crimes using that information. 

I'm just trying to think through this issue to know what the exact moral objection is. If anyone can explain the objection that would be helpful for me.

Larry's picture

Moderator

In many places, fire codes have told churches how many people can be in their buildings for lots of years.

Aaron, you are big on critical thinking and discernment and you write about it here often. And that makes this comment really strange because I see no evidence of critical thinking or discernment in it. These things simply are not similar. Building codes are entirely different than the COVID restrictions. A church can get a bigger building or divide into two churches or three or whatever. Under COVID, they could not meet at all. So these things are not the result of critical thinking and comparison.

Several other aspects of COVID restrictions have near-parallels in history. Of course, one could counter that "Well, we were wrong to accept these government limitations in the past," but I'm generally not hearing that argument, which is interesting.

That argument has actually been made in several places and I would make the same argument. I think it dead wrong to say, "Well, we have always enforced vaccines so it is right to do it now" or "Everything shut down in 1919 during the Spanish Flu therefore it's good to do it." Imagine applying that to other issues: "Well, you know black people have always drunk from a different water fountain and ridden on the back of the bus." Anytime you appeal to history, critical thinking and discernment should require us to go back and ask a bunch of questions. 

Similarly, the argument could be made that "A church closing its doors temporarily is different from the gov. telling them to close their doors," but usually the argument is: "Scripture requires churches to not cancel services so we can't obey the government," or something along those lines.

Again, Aaron, I am not sure you are being fair to the argument here. First, the argument has consistently been made that closing doors temporarily is different than government requiring it. I have made that argument and that's exactly what we did. Second, I have never seen the argument that "Scripture requires a church to not cancel services." Everyone has acknowledged (to my knowledge) that there are times to cancel services. 

So I think you have misrepresented the arguments here.

But this is weak, because there's no biblical prohibition against conforming to a government order to do what you could do anyway, when circumstances seem to warrant it (like a weather cancellation, or building destroyed, etc).

First, there is the civic issue of religious liberty. That is not a distinctively Christian argument though I think it is biblical to be sure since Christianity requires the freedom of conscience for all, not just for Christians. Second, everyone agrees that it is okay to cancel services when circumstances seem to warrant it. So again, I think with all your talk about critical thinking and discernment, you are still missing the boat on this one. The point here is entirely different and that is the government's mandate to shut down churches and regulate religious practices in churches. It should be the easiest thing in the world to acknowledge that as questionable, at best. In the very best and most generous reading, it was questionable to do that. And I would point out that the courts have sided against you in this regard. They have agreed that the government did not have the right to do all that they did and in fact some governments are paying big bucks to settle lawsuits for these things.

Again there are good reasons and plenty of room for Christians to disagree about exactly how to walk through this. But let's be careful not to minimize the real issues, not to misrepresent people's arguments, to not require that other people's conscience match ours, and to give grace to those who differ.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Although in the end, like I said above in the next 30-60 days there will be COVID vaccines with no connection to aborted fetal cells, so the argument pretty much goes away at that point.

But only for those whose sole objection is abortion/fetal cell related. That does nothing for those whose objection is different.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

T Howard wrote:
BTW, there are several families in the church we're attending who have a loved one in the hospital on a ventilator who refused to get the vaccine. I want to be compassionate, but I'm having a hard time feeling sorry for them. They chose to ignore or reject the warnings, and now they are suffering the consequences.

The fact that it is sometimes hard to be compassionate about others' choices doesn't mean that we shouldn't.  If one of your church teens, in spite of all advice, goes out and drives stupidly (drunk, or speeding 100mph, etc.) and ends up in the hospital, would you have no compassion for that teen or their family because of the circumstances (the teen "chose to ignore or reject the warnings" and is now suffering)?  It is certainly a human reaction to think that way, but hardly, as I read scripture, the right one or one we should defend, just because somehow "Covid is different."

Dave Barnhart

dgszweda's picture

Larry wrote:

Although in the end, like I said above in the next 30-60 days there will be COVID vaccines with no connection to aborted fetal cells, so the argument pretty much goes away at that point.

But only for those whose sole objection is abortion/fetal cell related. That does nothing for those whose objection is different.

I understand, but out of the few that have religious objections, this is a very large part of them.  Most of the other ones that I have ran into, and that others have confirmed was their experience, are not based on sincerely held religious beliefs.  They are upset with government control, Fauci, Biden.... and they then convey that as a religious belief.  I have no problem with a sincerely held religious belief, but in my opinion that number is incredibly small in real life, and is not indicative of the numerous people are using it as a way out of the vaccine.

Again, back to the original post, AiG and others in their suit are very much unclear as to why this goes against their beliefs, and I think that is indicative of the broader scope of those who are against the vaccine for religious purposes.

dgszweda's picture

AndyE wrote:

I'm just trying to think through this issue to know what the exact moral objection is. If anyone can explain the objection that would be helpful for me.

I struggle as well.  I have searched high and low on the internet and the best arguments out there around this topic, appear to be very weak and inconsistent, such as the areas that you pointed out.  The arguments put forth have just grown weaker over the years.  Even Christian Scientists who are typically opposed to vaccines are supportive of the COVID vaccine.  What is surprising to me is that all of the religious denominations that are opposed to abortion for any reason, are entirely supportive of the COVID vaccines.  Some of these denominations have strong and robust ethics departments/institutions that spend a great deal of time dealing with ethics and religion/their denomination.  In the end, I think it is just another layer of misinformation or lack of understanding that is spread throughout our society in general.

Jay's picture

Color me skeptical that this injunction will be granted on 'religious freedom' grounds.  I simply don't see SCOTUS wanting to take that issue up because they would need to get into the business of determining valid vs. specious religious beliefs.  Maybe that's just because I haven't read deeply about this case but I just don't see it. If I remember correctly, this has already been litigated (and Christians/Churches lost) in the courts last year during the pandemic.

What I am surprised about is how the 14th Amendment guarantees women the right to privacy over their own bodies but does not guarantee anyone else the right for the same when it comes to vaccines (pro or against it). I know that several labor unions and large associations have also been fighting this in court and I would imagine that issue will end up at SCOTUS eventually.  We can thank the Court for that ruling in...yep...Roe v. Wade.

For the record, NYC has begun mandating vaccines for any businesses over 100 people.  I expect that will be tied up in litigation forever but we'll have to see what the new mayor of NYC (Eric Adams) decides to do once he takes office in a few days.  Either way, vax fatigue is real and I expect that the mandate is unenforceable because people are not going comply for whatever reasons, similar to Prohibition.  

The reckoning of the Christian Right is here.  Sadly it's just going disgrace the Gospel. 

Nailed. It.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

dgszweda's picture

Here is where I think it will come out.

  • Government mandates for federal employees including military will be upheld in court.  The vaccine rate, inclusive of those seeking exemptions is a little over 97%.  I think it is clear that the government has broad say over their own employees and in particular even greater latitude when it comes to the military who has had vaccine mandates almost since the founding of this country.
  • State and local government mandates for their respective employees will be upheld in court.
  • Private employers vaccine mandates will be upheld in court.
  • Government mandates across private citizens will be struck down in court.

In reality, this was less about the government giving a mandate that would stick and more about giving cover to private employers to begin setting mandates and having them stick.  

T Howard's picture

dcbii wrote:

 

T Howard wrote:
BTW, there are several families in the church we're attending who have a loved one in the hospital on a ventilator who refused to get the vaccine. I want to be compassionate, but I'm having a hard time feeling sorry for them. They chose to ignore or reject the warnings, and now they are suffering the consequences.

 

The fact that it is sometimes hard to be compassionate about others' choices doesn't mean that we shouldn't.  If one of your church teens, in spite of all advice, goes out and drives stupidly (drunk, or speeding 100mph, etc.) and ends up in the hospital, would you have no compassion for that teen or their family because of the circumstances (the teen "chose to ignore or reject the warnings" and is now suffering)?  It is certainly a human reaction to think that way, but hardly, as I read scripture, the right one or one we should defend, just because somehow "Covid is different."

1 Cor. 13:11

Larry's picture

Moderator

1 Cor. 13:11

Is that a confession? Or an attack?

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