Should Christian Leaders Use their Public Platform to Endorse Their Vaccination Preferences?

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Do Christians have a responsibility to vaccinate their children? Is this a matter of religious liberty? Should Christian leaders use their platform to influence us in this health matter?

vaccines church leaders 5116249876_84663fc237

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It seems that we have been getting barraged with religious leaders trying to convince us one way or the other on the recent vaccine issue in the news as Measles has made a comeback with a recent outbreak.  I was surprised to see numerous tweets from religious leaders and wondered what you thought about this.

Below are just some of the tweets and articles, including some excerpts I have found.


And Now a Brief Word on Vaccines – by Doug Wilson

The claim I am making here is very limited. If a person has decided personal convictions about the contagious disease he is carrying, the society in which he lives has an equal right to have decided and contrary convictions about that same contagious disease he has. And if there is an outbreak of such a disease, and the government quarantines everyone who is not vaccinated, requiring them to stay at home, the name for this is prudence, not tyranny.

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3 reasons Christians should vaccinate with confidence by Justin Smith of ERLC (The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission)

In the midst of all the confusion about vaccines, I believe that Christians don’t have to be the ones who are confused. We can use the gift of vaccines with confidence knowing that, ultimately, our lives and our health are in the hands of our Father.

Cripplegate is blog with 4 contributors who seem to have connections with John MacArthur’s seminary/church. This article was posted on Cripplegate:  Anti-vaxxers and epistemological narcissism

Take note at how they use scripture to justify vaccinating:

  1. Vaccines are a form of common grace that have dramatically changed the world for the better (Gen 3:18; Ps 145:9-16; Matt 5:44-45; Acts 14:16-17). Participating in the blessings of common grace in a post-Babel society means that we bond together as nations, and we use common grace to make quality of life better (Gen 9:6, 2 Kings 12:2, Luke 6:33). We work, we marry, and we protect each other. A basic way to do that is to be vaccinated against diseases that plague the cultures that don’t vaccinate.
  1. Thus, being vaccinated is a form of loving your neighbor (Lev 19:18; Matt 5:43,Rom 13:8-10, Jas 2:8). Knowing that some are too little, too young, or too weak to be vaccinated, we protect the weak by being vaccinated.

The last paragraph admits this is gray area which is bizarre because if it truly is a gray area, can you really use scripture to 100% back up your stance?

I recognize that this is a Christian gray-area, and it goes beyond what is written to say that a person is sinning by being an anti-vaxxer. But it does not go beyond what is written to appeal to believer’s discernment: don’t undo one of society’s crowning scientific advancements because of epistemological narcissism.


Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Executive Religion Editor for the Huffington Post posted an article and a podcast at Huffington post.  (The podcast will start immediately as soon as you open the page, but you can turn it off and read the article:  Love Thy Neighbor: Vaccinate (All Together Podcast).  Dr. Claire McCarthy, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s hospital, Dr. Robert Klitzman,  professor and Director of the Bioethics Program at Columbia School of Public Health, and Sally Steenland, Director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress, were on the podcast and discussed why this is not a religious liberty issue. Paul concludes:

Jesus commands to love our neighbor as ourselves. This gets to the heart of the vaccination issue. It’s not just about loving your own family. It is also about caring for the well-being of your neighbors and your community. Everyone should vaccinate their children as an act of love.

In this case, we have a reverend with a highly visible position in public media using his platform to push his agenda. Is this okay?


Pat Robertson Says He’s Against Vaccination Mandates:

I’m sure that there’s some serious consequences to measles, and perhaps vaccinations is the answer, but I don’t think any parent should be forced by the government to vaccinate.


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If I looked longer, I’m sure I could find even more articles from religious leaders. I have some questions:

Is it a religious leader’s responsibility to inform private citizens about their views on immunizations?

At what point do religious leaders cross the line when it comes to health concerns and using their position of authority/celebrity-ism to influence?

How much credence do we give to religious leaders on issues of health?

As you can see above, some say this is a gray area or a religious liberty area, where others say it is not. Do you think we can discuss this topic, specifically the bolded questions without getting personal and debating the pros/cons of vaccines?  Please exercise caution when commenting. I specifically would like to keep it to the subject of Christian leaders pushing their health agendas using their public platforms.  

 

 

photo credit: Flu Vaccination Grippe via photopin (license)

317 comments on “Should Christian Leaders Use their Public Platform to Endorse Their Vaccination Preferences?

  1. And you say the government is not getting into our business-
    thefederalist.com/2014/10/22/california-orders-churches-to-fund-abortions-or-else/

    something to think about and research a little more.

    Like

  2. Trust4HimOnly

    Your 7:37 comment

    I’ve asserted myself pretty boldly on this thread, I know. But there is a reason.

    You had said:
    ” So are you coming in love or for your own preservation of what you have been taught?”

    Believe it or not, I learned, I was taught very little. But, you might be surprised that what I learned lines up with the NON-C church’s, and as you prior comment to me, we agree. For the most part, in all of this blog, we agree, except for a few minor things.

    I didn’t even begin going to church until about 3 years into studying the Bible. When I first saw Galatians 5, I wanted to know what that freedom thing was all about. Then I thought of the word Freedom in regards to America. I used to be in the US Navy, so this topic intrigued me. And that is where it all began with me, and then studying out the controversies of other denominations and sects who call themselves Christians, but are either classified as cults, or fringe, or…whatever.

    I challenge people. Some victims of abuse, even tho they were abused, still hold on to the doctrines that they taught, even tho they left that abuse. And they are still afraid, or scared to find out the “other side of the story”, to find out what other denominations, or people believe, I use scripture as well as logic to counter that. They just know that there is no pastor/preacher/elder, all the way down to the usher that can be trusted. Ever.

    Well, that just doesn’t make sense to me. So…here I am.

    Lydia is another great one on here, as she brings in the historical aspect, and she is extremely great at what she presents. We’ve had our issues recently, but that does not diminish my respect for her.

    Julie Anne is the reason for this blog, and we are friends that spent time together a couple of years ago in Seattle at a volley ball game for her daughter. I have also met Barb and spent the day talking with her as well in Seattle (I’m just across the Puget Sound from Seattle).

    There are many others on this blog that I have deep respect for.

    If you click on my name, go to my about page, then also read the comments on my about page, you will see that I have experience, and it is a hobby, to find out why people believe in what they believe. For instance, I didn’t study Jehovah’ Witnesses for six years to be one, just to find out what makes them tick. Well, if you know what the C word is, I was in the midst of studying them for about 6 months prior to knowing who Julie Anne was. And the more that I learned of her, I saw what I was studying so clear.

    Ed

    Like

  3. Ann

    You ask what sounds reasonable @ FEBRUARY 11, 2015 @ 10:06 AM…
    “…how do you find a congregation that is safe?”

    For me, there are NO congregations, NO christian leaders, that are “Safe.”

    IMO – The only place you, or anyone, can be “Safe” is in Jesus Christ.
    To be one of His Sheep, one of His Disciples, one of His Servants…
    Hearing His Voice, and Following Jesus. John 10:27 KJV.

    Some may look “nice” at first, but the only real test is the test of time.
    How do the pastors react, treat you, when you dis-agree about something?

    Will the pastor/leader “Lord it over” you? A Big No, No. 1 Pet 5:3 KJV
    Does the pastor/elder “Exercise Authority?” A Big No, No. Mr 10:42-44 KJV

    In my experience, having been ordained, in leadership…
    No matter how loving… eventually…
    No matter how humble… eventually…
    No matter how much a servant… eventually…

    Those who have the “Title” pastor/leader/reverend…
    Those who have the Power, Profit, Prestige, that comes with that Title….
    Will “Exercise Authority” like the Gentiles.
    And *Lord it over* God’s heritage.

    And, that is always the beginning of “Spiritual Abuse.”

    “Pastor/Leader” = exercise authority = lord it over = abuse = always
    ———–

    This has also been my experience…

    Jer 17:5 KJV
    Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man…

    Ps 118:8 KJV
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

    Pro 21:31 KJV
    The horse is prepared against the day of battle:
    but “Safety” is of the LORD.

    If you want “Safety?”

    Look to…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  4. Ann

    As you can probably tell…
    I am NOT of fan of “Today’s Abusive Religious System.”
    It took a long while but I am now “None” and “Done” with The System.
    And, alive and well in Jesus, as The ONE Shepherd, The ONE Leader.

    In the Bible, WE, His Ekklesia, His Church, His Servants, are warned about…
    1- False apostles. ————— 2 Cor 11:13, Rev 2:2,
    2- Many false prophets. —– 1 John 4:1, Mrk 13:22, Mat 7:15, Mat 24:11, 24,
    3- False teachers. ————— 2 Pet 2:1,
    4- False brethren. ————– Gal 2:4,
    5- False Christ’s (false anointed ones). — Mat 24:5, Mat 24:24, Mark 13:22,
    6- Deceitful workers. ———- 2 Cor 11:13,
    7- Evil workers. —————- Phil 3:2,

    WOW – Lots of bumps and potholes on this path to Jesus… 😉

    These “False guys” are NOT found in the “Local Bar” teaching falsely. 😉

    These “False guys” will be found *in,* and around, what many today call, the “Local church.” A term NOT found in the Bible. 🙂 These “False guys” will be found *in,* and around, what many today call, “Christian Leadership.” Also a term NOT found in the Bible. 😉 And, in the Bible, NOT one of His Disciples called themselves “Leader.”

    Hmmm? Has adding these terms to the Bible been helpful or harmful?

    I have met quite a few of these “False guys” masquerading as pastor/elder/overseers/leaders, in the 501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax $ Deductible, Religious $ Corporation, that the IRS calls church. But, in the Bible, I can NOT find one of His Disciples who called themselves pastor/leader/reverend. Or, one of His Disciples who had the “Title” pastor/leader/reverend.

    Today’s Abusive Religious System is good at making up Titles and Terms NOT found in the Bible. But, have these Titles and Terms helped? Or harmed?

    I wonder what His Disciples knew 2000 years ago?
    That those who call themselves pastor/leader/reverend miss today?

    But, hey, that’s just silly me…
    Looking in the Bible to see if these “Traditions of Men” are in the Bible?

    Mark 7:13
    NLT – you “cancel” the word of God… to hand down your own tradition…
    KJV – Making the word of God of “none effect” through your tradition…
    ASV – Making “void” the word of God by your tradition…
    NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Loves me this I know… 😉

    Like

  5. And Ann

    If you are feeling you must “go” someplace?
    If Jesus is asking you to “go” someplace?

    And, If you must “go to church?”
    Even though, in the Bible, His Disciples did NOT “Go to church?”

    Here is a short list of hints to see if they qualify for your trust and money. 😉

    When you “go” take your time, even years, to determine how this place operates. It often takes time to get to know these folks. And see how they act under pressure. How they act when you dis-agree. ALL believers have this right to check them out.

    1 Thes 5:12 KJV
    And we beseech you, brethren, to *know them (*perceive, notice, discern,)
    which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord,
    and admonish you;

    Is this congregation, those who claim leadership in this congregation…
    Living examples of…

    1 – NOT lording it over “God’s heritage?” 1 Pet 5:3 KJV
    2 – Lowliness of mind? Phil 2:3 KJV
    3 – Esteeming others “better” than themselves? Phil 2:3 KJV
    4 – Submitting “One to Another?” Eph 5:21 KJV, 1 Pet 5:5 KJV
    5 – Prefering others before themselves? Rom 12:10 KJV
    6 – By love “Serve one another?” Gal 5:13 KJV
    7 – Laying down their lives for the brethren? 1 John 3:16 KJV
    8 – NOT speaking of themselves, NOT seeking their glory? Jn 7:18 KJV
    9 – NOT “Exercising Authority” like the Gentiles?” Mark 10:42-43. KJV
    10 – Being clothed with humility? 1 Pet 5:5 KJV
    10 – Humility – a modest, or low opinion of ones own importance.

    Hmmm?
    How many of today’s pastor/leader/reverends, are clothed with humility?
    Having a modest, or low opinion of ones own importance? 🙂

    Seems Jesus, as man, humbled Himself, made Himself of NO reputation…
    And took on the form of a “Servant.” Phil 2:7-8 KJV

    And when someone takes the “Title” pastor/leader/reverend…
    They now have a reputation whether they want it or NOT.

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16 KJV

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  6. Trust; notice that the links you provide are in two categories, monitoring of electioneering by churches (a point I already conceded), and California, which is its own critter/beast and not applicable to the 501C3 issues.

    Now if you think it’s objectionable that the IRS prevents electioneering in return for tax exemptions, that’s fine and to a degree I agree with you. But really, apart from brazen attempts by lawless states to violate the 1st Amendment, I don’t see a lot else going on on this front.

    Like

  7. Oh A. Amos Love,

    How I could just give you a big Amos Hug! For you, my friend are spot on concerning your study of the New Testament Ekklesia/called out ones and I humbly agree with you. Jesus, our True Shepherd, has such compassion for all of the mankind that He humbly and willingly suffered the cross for us.

    Excellent Bible Study Amos, simply excellent. Preach and teach it my friend! God be with you!

    Like

  8. Katy

    Thanks for the kind words. And – All Hugs are much appreciated. 😉
    Like many today, I had to learn these things the hard way.

    Isa 48:10 KJV
    Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver;
    I have chosen thee in “The Furnace of Affliction.”

    Heb 5:8 KJV
    Though he were a Son, yet learned He obedience
    by the things which He “Suffered;”

    When disappointed, abused, by pastor/leaders, again and again…
    You learn to ask different questions – And get different answers.

    It was tough going through those days of darkness, loss, and pain…
    But – Today I can thank Jesus for the Affliction, the Suffering…

    It brought me closer to Jesus. 🙂
    And Jesus is the best.
    ———

    It was after I left “The Corrupt Religious System” of today, tore up my papers, and walked away from “Church Leadership,” that I realized Isaiah, had prophesied about my “Leadership skills.” And the “Leadership skills” of the rest of todays “Christian Leaders.” 😉

    Isa 3:12 KJV
    …O my people, *they which lead thee* cause thee to err,
    and destroy the way of thy paths.

    Isa 9:16 KJV
    For *the leaders* of this people cause them to err;
    and they that are led of them are destroyed.

    Some legacy todays “Church Leaders” are creating for themselves…

    I’m in agreement with King David…

    The Lord is my Shepherd. 🙂

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  9. Katy – Gary W

    Katy – You might also like this… I did… 😉

    Gary W, much agreement @ FEBRUARY 10, 2015 @ 10:11 AM…
    “The question is whether Christian leaders should engage in certain conduct. On reflection, I suggest that any Christian that considers themselves a leader is disqualified. Jesus came as a servant of all. Anybody who leads rather than serving is putting themselves above Jesus. Once again, they are disqualified.”
    ————

    Yes – Jesus, taught His Disciples NOT to be called “Leader.”
    For you have “ONE” Leader – Jesus. And NONE did…
    In the Bible, ALL of “His Disciples” called themselves “Servants.” 😉

    Mat 23:10-12 NASB – New American Standard Bible
    Do NOT be called leaders; for “ONE” is your Leader, that is, Christ.
    But the greatest among you shall be your “Servant”.
    Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled;
    and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

    The Message – Mat 23:10-12.
    And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them.
    There is only “ONE” Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
    **Do you want to stand out? – Then step down. – Be a servant.**
    If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you.
    But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

    Why would a Christian call them self a Church Leader? Christian Leader?
    Allow others to call them Leader? Church Leader? Christian Leader?

    When Jesus taught His Disciples NOT to be called Leaders?

    When, in the Bible, NOT one of His Disciples called them self Leader?
    Or, Church Leader? Christian Leader? Spiritual Leader?

    Could it be? Todays Christian Leaders? Are NOT His Disciples? 😉
    At best, they are dis-obedient Disciples… 😉

    Yes – Gary
    “I suggest that any Christian
    that considers themselves a leader is disqualified.”

    Seems, lot’s of guys, who puffed themself up, calling themself leader…
    Are getting the wind knocked out of them and shall be humbled.

    Katy – Gary W – All wanna-be leaders…
    “simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.”

    Like

  10. Katy – Gary W

    You might also like this… I did… 😉

    “The Rise of the Dones” – 450 comments
    http://holysoup.com/2014/11/12/the-rise-of-the-dones/

    Many excellent comments.
    Many very sad comments.

    There are lots of folks “Done” with Todays Abusive Religious System.
    The 501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax $ Deductible, Religious $ Corporation…
    That the IRS calls church.

    But, still going strong with The “ONE” Shepherd… The “ONE” Leader…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  11. Amos,

    Thanks for the link. I’ll have to try to remember I’ve clipped it to my Evernote account.

    Yup. I’m done. And while there may be various categories of Nones, and maybe the article you point to makes a useful distinction by naming some of us Dones, I’ll stick with thinking of myself as a None–as one who, when it comes to matters of faith, disclaims all allegiances excepting only Jesus. I am a Yeshuite None (not to be confused with Jesuit Nun), I am one who looks to None but Jesus.

    Like

  12. Gary W

    A couple of weeks ago – If I remember correctly… 😉

    Did you say you were on your way to visit a Sunday Morning service?

    Was wondering how it went?
    Do you have a report?
    How did it go?

    If you do not feel like talking about it – I understand. 🙂

    Like

  13. Amos,

    I did indeed attend our local United Methodist Church. The service had barely gotten started when it was commandeered by somebody who had a testimony to share. Now, I should preface what I say here by saying that this person who had a need to share truly does count as one of “the least of these,” and it will not be surprising should it turn out that his place in the Kingdom is greater than mine. Still, he went on and on and on and . . . well, on.

    The preacher, a woman, found a pretty good balance between being gracious and finally setting limits (as in cutting off a speech–actually a mostly incoherent ramble–that likely would otherwise have gone on for twice or thrice the 20 or 30 minutes it had already gone on). And keep in mind this was at a stayed and sober sort of Methodist Church where the idea of giving a testimony has to be about as foreign as foreign can be.

    In other words, it turned out to be about as good an example of the body being the body as one could probably ever expect within the context of what is designed and expected to be a well-structured and no-surprises liturgy.

    Smiles.

    Like

  14. I’m sorry if I’m on the wrong thread, I think this is where I saw Ann state (I lost my place on this blog when I went from lurking mode to had to re-log in to post a comment):

    “I have learned to stay away from mega-churches, but my husband and I (both church attenders since birth) quit church several years ago. We aren’t looking for perfection, just tired of political, self-promoting leaders.”

    In my problems holding on to the Christian faith the last couple of years, this is something I run into A LOT.

    I mean, the come back, when you tell another Christian, “I am having doubts about God and if there is one, and is the Christian faith true,” and the Christian asks, “What in particular is causing these doubts?”

    And you reply, “It’s many things, but one of them is the hypocrisy of most Christians I know or meet, and some self professing believers act like big jerks. That is one reason, but not the only one.”

    I’ve had one online Christian friend and a few others tell me: “You cannot and should not expect perfection from Christians or any church you attend.”

    No kidding! I never said I wanted perfection. I do not expect perfection.

    I would settle for what appears to be heart-felt, sincere devotion to Christ and an honest attempt to live Christ’as teachings consistently.

    I know every Christian is going to mess up a tiny bit every so often, but when I look around the world today, it looks like most Christians are doing whatever they want, when they want, however they want –

    Including but not limited to, exploiting people for whatever purpose, hurting people (financially, emotionally, or physically), ongoing sexual sin, covering up for pedos in churches, etc.

    When I’ve approached Christian family for emotional support after my mother died, I was shamed for it (I’m supposed to ignore my sadness and just suck it up and move on,not receive compassion for it), or, some have dismissed me as an annoying buzzing fly at a picnic. I’m treated – by other Christians even in my family – like a burden, and I’m not asking for much.

    I don’t expect constant perfection but maybe an honest attempt at trying to live up to what the Bible says would be so appreciated, even the basics, like loving your neighbor as yourself, doing unto others.
    (And I am not suggesting legalism, either. That’s another extreme of the faith.)

    Like

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