If things were alright in Christendom, this article would largely be unnecessary. Orthodox believers happily admit the existence of that which is ἀδιάφορα (adiaphora), or indifference, in the Greek tongue. The concept refers to that which is neither necessarily right, nor necessarily wrong (like hairstyles, food choices, or eating meat sacrificed to idols).
But thanks to the infiltration of Social Religionists into American evangelicalism who are happy to abusively eisegete the Scriptures to promote whatever insanely radical soapbox they are standing upon at the moment, there is a bevy of articles circulating the Internet from Scripture-twisting daisies who fancy themselves experts at finding hidden Biblical Easter eggs that promote their own trite perspectives.
Take, for example, an interview with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) president and Democrat activist, Russell Moore, which was published five short days ago. Moore, whose job is to promote Christian religious liberty, has repeatedly chastized churches for remaining open during the COVID lockdowns, has promoted mask-wearing a “pro-life issue,” and generally has been a Quisling apologist for whatever unnecessarily stringent standards have been imposed upon people of faith.
The leading Southern Baptist, who once said he wishes his wife was more like Hillary Clinton (gross), repeated the Bible-molesting notion that “loving thy neighbor” requires following whatever guidelines a government-funded board of bureacrats tell us to do, despite whether or not competing scientific data says it’s stupid.
Far from an expert on health matters – Russell Moore seems only an expert on Critical Theory – he claimed multiple times “we have adequate data” to substantiate the necessity of the COVID-19 vaccine. It leaves one to wonder who the “we” is and whether or not Moore received a medical degree in between bashing pastors for not closing their churches and lobbying for Mosques to open.
As a pastor of 20 years, the publisher of major and impactful Christian news publications, and a theologian and polemicist, let me opine on the subject. After all, I received my medical degree from the same school as Russell Moore.
THERE IS NO CHRISTIAN ARGUMENT AGAINST VACCINES PER SE
First things first, there is no Biblical prohibition against vaccinations. At least, there is no prohibition against the mere concept of vaccinations. While some fringe religious cults, for example, the Church of Christian Science and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, forbid injections or transfusions and other such medical treatments, orthodox Christianity has never opposed Western Medicine. Several religions with dietary restrictions, such as Judaism and Islam, take into consideration whether or not vaccines are Kosher or Halal. Christians, who were instructed to reject dietary restrictions in Acts 15 and the Galatian epistle, have no such restrictions forbidding us from vaccinations for such reasons.
There are, of course, some ethical considerations for the Christian, based upon the vaccine being considered. Most ethicists, and I concur, would reject outright any vaccine that actively uses material procured from babies murdered in abortion. Some vaccines, commonly taken in America, fit this description. Some other vaccines are derived from cell lines originally procured from murdered infants, but do not use dead babies in their production. In the former case, Christians should reject such vaccinations. However, in the latter – vaccines derived from babies who have been aborted, but which do not require newly murdered babies to produce them – is a trickier subject.
Several COVID-19 vaccines were produced using cell lines HEK-293 from a baby murdered in 1973, and PER.C6, a retinal cell line from a murdered baby in 1985. However, these vaccines did not and do not require newly acquired baby corpses to produce the vaccines injected into your body. In other words, no babies had to die in order for you to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Christians rejecting the vaccines because murdered infants played a part in their development post-mortem should be honored and their opinion respected. Christians who would argue that because no additional babies had to die, and using the cell lines does not require additional deaths, the vaccines are ethical.
I am of that number that laments the deaths of those babies and can call it murder, but would not reject subsequent research and vaccine development procured from those wicked tragedies. I fall into this category because “inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument” and many life-saving medical discoveries were made possible by the horrible and inexcusable experiments conducted upon innocent people at the hands of the Nazis. While we do not and must not excuse what happened in the Final Solution, once in existence, treatments for various ailments can be used without guilt being imputed to the sick who have benefited from that inexcusable behavior. And it should be needless to say, but I will say it, that no amount of potential health benefits justifies taking a single innocent human life.
Although Christians, like myself, are supernaturalists – believing in the power of God to work miracles – it does not discount the blessings of Common Grace that allows men the intellect to develop life-saving medicine. Christians praise and glorify God for giving men the ingenuity to develop scientific and medical advancements that save lives and give a better quality of life. Ergo, being vaccinated is not a sign of a faith deficiency.
THERE IS A CHRISTIAN ARGUMENT AGAINST SOME VACCINES, PER QUOD
However, just because the Bible does not explicitly condemn vaccinations, does not mean that every vaccine is ethical or wise. Neither does it imply that Christians have a duty to vaccinate, just because Christians have the right to vaccinate. This is where the Social Religionists like Russell Moore err. Chiefly, it’s this; just because we are not forbidden from vaccinating, it does not imply we must vaccinate.
The Bible is explicitly clear that God created man with a capacity for free will, at least within reason and a necessary asterisk* included. We are free, as Luther would argue, to do that which is in accordance to our nature, the only thing to which our will is in bondage. While man’s will is always somewhat thwarted by the nature of sin in which he was born, God has granted to men what we Baptists call soul liberty. This concept – soul liberty, or sometimes called soul competency – implies that God has granted men the capacity (and responsibility) to choose rightly. This concept, soul liberty, is why Baptists, in particular, believe in the Separation of Church and State (so long as that term is properly understood in its original context). We would argue that men cannot coerce or force other men to believe what they ought to believe. God is the ultimate judge of men, and he shall coerce them in his own due time (Philippians 2:10-11).
When determining whether or not we should vaccinate, presuming the vaccination in question presents no real ethical dilemma, Christians are free under God’s Law to weigh the costs and benefits of each vaccination and to determine if it is right, or helpful, for ourselves and for our children.
One might at this point ask why a Christian would choose not to vaccinate, if God allows it. As the expression goes, “There are no dumb questions,” but this one fits the description. It would be like asking why we would not choose to eat pickled pigs’ feet if we are allowed by God to do so. While it’s allowable, it may not suit our pallet.
For example, the HPV vaccine is beneficial in stopping the development of the human papillomavirus, most often caused by sexual promiscuity and leading predominately to cervical cancer in women. While this seems beneficial, the HPV vaccine also has side effects that include some long-term consequences. The side effects are rare, but possible according to the CDC and FDA. As a Christian man in a Christian household, I believe that my household is better served by teaching my daughters not to be promiscuous whores than by injecting them with a vaccine that presupposes they’ll eventually become one. And as a free man with soul liberty, that’s my rightful choice. I recognize the pagan culture presumes my daughters will eventually be wayward, like their own, but I will take that risk and presume upon the kindness of Christ it is not so.
But in regard to the COVID-19 vaccine in particular, other principles apply. The FDA has approved the three COVID-19 vaccines used in the United States under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), and not under conventional licensing which ordinarily takes two years to determine through extensive testing whether or not the vaccine is safe for the general public.
The FDA warns that the COVID-19 vaccine is “an investigational vaccine not licensed for any indication.” Furthermore, all vaccines must be distributed with the warning, “promotional material relating to the Covid-19 Vaccine clearly and conspicuously … state that this product has not been approved or licensed by the FDA, but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA.”
Ergo, when health officials tell us that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, they are guessing. None of the regular protocols in place by the FDA to ensure a pharmaceutical drug or vaccine is truly safe is in place. The vaccines created out of a program called “Operation Lightspeed” have circumnavigated virtually all the regular protocols to ensure their safety.
While I do not fault the FDA for granting an Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 vaccines given the panic surrounding the virus, it is simply factually untrue that the vaccine has been vetted in any of the usual ways vaccines are vetted. In short, if you take the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s the equivalent of being in an experimental study that usually takes place before a vaccine is released to the general public.
Combined with the reality that only .06% of those who test positive for COVID-19 die from the virus, and that the vast majority of them are geriatric, and that the median age for death from COVID-19 (78-years-old) is the exact same age as the median lifespan in the United States, a coherent cost-benefit analysis does not justify vaccination for young and healthy people.
Typically, evangelical Christian leaders who are demanding we vaccinate ourselves against the novel coronavirus do so while quoting Dr. Anthony Fauci, the CDC, or the World Health Organization as though they were the 13th, 14th, and 15th Apostles of Christ. But unlike the inspired authors, these men and organizations have been fantastically wrong on very significant points regarding COVID-19 repeatedly. Among those evangelicals telling us it’s our duty to vaccinate, scarcely can you find one to honestly acknowledge that these “experts” have been wrong on almost everything, from the beginning.
The Christian disciple, however, intuitively “tests all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We believe the Holy Bible not out of mere blind faith or helpless fideism, but because we believe that the Scripture’s testimony accords to history and objective reality. Christianity is an intellectual, thinking man’s religion. It is against our nature to hear truth claims – whether made by “experts” or not – and to take them at face value without careful investigation. After all, even the disciples personally inspected Jesus’ empty tomb before they reported his resurrection.
Watching evangelicals, like Russell Moore (above), quote the CDC or WHO as though they were inspired apostles leaves a bad taste in the mouth of genuine believers. Their affection, zeal, and doting admiration for Anthony Fauci render him a messiah figure to the evangelical left that surpasses even their appreciation for the Lord Christ.
Most of all, Christians must reject the notion that the vaccine is the key to “getting life back to normal.” Moore said in his interview…
I think that the emphasis ought to be on what’s possible, if we get vaccinated in large numbers, the way we actually can get back to — we want to be together again. We want to be able to get as close back to normal as we can. And that’s probably especially true for people who are religious communities, because we believe we ought to be congregated together.”
JD Greear, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention and leader in its leftward sojourn, also said something similar when he tweeted out a photo of himself receiving the vaccine, claiming that medical science would “allow us to get back to normal.” It was nearly identical to a tweet of Russell Mooore – wearing two face masks alone in his car – made on the way to receive his vaccination.
Christians must take exception with this notion, that vaccinations are the key to living a victorious, normal life. Greear shut down his church through the entirety of 2020, even while abortion clinics, bars, and marijuana dispensaries were open in his church’s neighborhood. In the plainest of possible terms, the church never needed to close to begin with (the facts on COVID-19 asymptomatic transmittal and its mortality rate demonstrate this irrefutably) and the only thing keeping churches from meeting is not the lack of vaccination, but the gutless cowardice of fake shepherds who are afraid of chest colds.
The Christian church is not dependent upon vaccines to “get back to normal.” Christian churches never should have ceased to begin with, and we rightly reject the abject cowardice of pastors who only obey Jesus’ commands when the health department tells them it’s acceptable.
And finally, we Christians have to take into account our own conscience, which ought to be pricked by the agenda of masking and forced vaccinations. Much of what we have been told about the necessity of masks, for example, have been outright lies. It is not as deadly as what we were told. It does not spread asymptomatically as we were told. It does not spread by surface contact as we were told. To wear a mask, when we do not believe it is necessary based upon science, is to bear false witness.
I, for one, do not wear a mask because I don’t believe in violating the Ninth Commandment. I do not believe that the CDC, WHO, or Dr. Fauci have been honest with the American people, primarily because Dr. Fauci has – on multiple occasions – bragged about lying to the American people because “it was for the common good.”
Dr. Fauci admitted in June of last year that when he told the public in March that, “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask” and cautioned that “there are unintended consequences” he was “selectively telling the truth based upon the needs of the American public.”
He admitted to lying then. Is he lying now? I have no idea, but there is enough that doesn’t make sense, too many regulations that don’t accord to the scientific findings, to make me skeptical. Genuinely, I believe the entire Great Coronavirus Panic of 2020-21 is fundamentally rooted in lies (with perhaps a kernel of truth the very middle). By wearing a mask, or taking a vaccine, I believe that I would be taking part in a system of lies and systemtic dishonesty. I refuse on the grounds that I’m a Christian.
I – and every other Christian – ought to reject the over-simplification of the pseudo-Christian argument that “loving thy neighbor” requires doing whatever it is that Big Pharma wants us to do. There is no reason to believe the Bible requires obeying suspect and largely unnecessary guidelines as means to obey what Christ called “the second greatest commandment.”