It seems like a lot of people are finding religion lately. It’s their excuse not to get vaccinated.
The hypocrisy of it all is mind blowing.
I don’t believe religion should be a reason to get out of any mandate issued by the government or a private employer.
Whether anyone ought to have a vaccination as a condition to go to school, work, attend a group event, or participate in some activity is a different topic.
Fortunately, simply saying you are refusing to get the shot because of religious reasons is not enough. Employers have different criteria for prove the person isn’t falsely hiding behind religion as the reason to not be vaccinated.
“Does this person have a demonstrated history of vaccine refusal because of religious beliefs? Have they refused the flu vaccine or any other kind of vaccine before based on religious reasons?” Monica Gandhi, an infectious diseases doctor and professor at UC San Francisco, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “These are the questions I’d be asking.”
Twice the U.S. Supreme Court has taken up the topic of “forced” vaccinations.
The first was in 1905 when Henning Jacobson refused to get inoculated against smallpox. He was living in Cambridge, Mass., which at the time mandated people get the vaccine. The Supreme Court in Jacobson v. Massachusetts sided with the state when it essentially said vaccinations could be mandatory for the greater good of society.
Then in 1922 the jurists ruled in favor of a school district in San Antonio, Texas, that refused admittance to a student who would not get vaccinated.
What could protect the current anti-vaxxers is the 1964 Civil Rights Act which includes provisions for protections against religious discrimination. Using this legal route is not automatic, though.
Even more important, though, is to remember that the United States is not a theocracy. This means we are not governed by the rule of god.
While people keep invoking their religious freedoms as a reason to avoid getting vaccinated, the irony is major religions are advocating parishioners and others get jabbed.
Pope Francis in a public service ad released in September said, “Getting the vaccines that are authorized by the respective authorities is an act of love. And helping the majority of people to do so is an act of love. Getting vaccinated is a simple yet profound way to care for one another, especially the most vulnerable.”