Alberta Politics
Alberta Health Services President and CEO Verna Yiu at yesterday’s COVID-19 briefing (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

Churches big and little weigh in: religious COVID-19 vaccination exemptions aren’t going to be easy to get

Posted on October 15, 2021, 1:40 am
12 mins

Unfortunately for Canadian anti-vaxxers, it takes time and a certain amount of ingenuity to establish a new religion, which has considerably complicated the task of getting religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

This factoid came to mind during Alberta’s daily COVID-19 update yesterday, when Alberta Health Services President and CEO Verna Yiu revealed that about 750 of AHS’s more than 100,000 employees have sought exemptions from their employer’s vaccine requirement, about half of them on religious grounds. 

A smiling Pope Francis, head of the world’s largest Christian denomination, the Roman Catholic Church (Photo: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk, Creative Commons).

The other half have, she said, sought exemptions on medical grounds, and a few brave or foolish souls have tried to claim they qualify for both. 

The thing is, medical exemptions are hard to get, but not completely impossible. The caveat is that the employee must be able to prove a legitimate medical reason, such as a severe allergy to something in the vaccine or a current diagnosis of inflammation of the heart muscle. Such reasons are exceedingly rare. 

But a religious exemption will be even tougher to get, owing to the fact that none of the existing major world religions practiced in Canada forbid getting vaccinated against disease. 

This has created a problem for vaccine refuseniks motivated by conspiracy theories, politics or whatever, who thought it would be a snap to get a religious exemption and dodge the shot.

This is because folks claiming exemptions based on religion or other protected human rights grounds are going to have to produce solid evidence that their religion actually prevents them for being vaccinated. 

This point is being made over and over again these days as legions of employment lawyers for corporations, governments and unions scour legal precedents to guide them in how they can respond to the considerable number of people in the West determined to spurn a life-saving vaccine. 

And what this means is that if you’re seeking a religious exemption, you’re not only going to have to show that you’re religious, but you’ll have to prove your religion says no to vaccines.

An unsmiling David Climenhaga, a member of an Anabaptist sect even smaller than the Mennonite Church Canada, who doubtless would have had no time for vaccine refuseniks were he still around to weigh in on the matter (Photo: Some forgotten shirttail relative of the author).

If you’re nominally a Christian affiliated with one of the plethora of denominations large and small found in Canada – whence come the majority of anti-vaxxers in this country – this doesn’t make it easy.

For example, if the vaccine dodger in question is a Roman Catholic, they’re clearly out of luck. Pope Francis has spoken and what he had to say last April is that “getting vaccinated is a simple yet profound way to care for one another, especially the most vulnerable.”

“Thanks to God’s grace and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from Covid-19,” he also said, making it pretty clearly where he stood on the matter. Given the authority of the Pope in the Catholic Church, that’s about as definitive as you can get.

Now the Roman Catholic Church is not only big – including about 13 million Canadians a decade ago – it’s hardly a hotbed of anti-vaccine nutters.

This isn’t necessarily so for some small Protestant sects. Consider the Mennonite Church Canada, which has also spoken up on this issue, with a message not all that different from the Pope’s.

Despite the fact the denomination has only about 30,000 members, this is significant because it is part of a broader but still small Anabaptist community that for whatever reason nowadays harbours many people inclined to want to claim a religious-based exemption from taking the COVID vaccine. 

So what do their church leaders have to say about this? “For a religious exemption to be granted, rationale for exemption must be clearly indicated within our sacred texts or confessional statements,” a statement signed by Mennonite church leaders from across Canada said last month.

“We wish to clarify that there is nothing in the Bible, in our historic confessions of faith, in our theology or in our ecclesiology that justifies granting a religious exemption from vaccinations against COVID-19,” they wrote. (Emphasis added.)

This is a point that bears repeating. If you’re a Christian, there’s no scriptural basis for turning down COVID vaccines, despite a considerable amount of disinformation doing the rounds these days about how some vaccines are made.

“We have heard concerns from some members of our constituency regarding the vaccines,” the Mennonite statement continued. “However, we do not believe these concerns justify an exemption from COVID-19 vaccinations on religious grounds from within a Mennonite faith tradition.”

Echoing the Pope – although perhaps not intentionally given their church’s origins – they went on: “From the earliest Biblical writings, in the words of Jesus Christ and in ecclesial writings since Jesus’ ascension, the command to love God and love our neighbour is paramount.”

Vaccine resistors who hoped to use a religious exemption are virtually certain to have to find another excuse.

About those $100 incentives for vaccine refuseniks

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

Also at yesterday’s Alberta COVID update, as happens increasingly often nowadays, a reporter boldly asked Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw if there’s any actual evidence that Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s $100 incentive to get vaccine refuseniks to take their jab has actually worked. 

“You said that you believe it has led to more people getting vaccinated,” said Kevin Nimmock of CTV News about the $15-million-plus Kenney brainstorm. “What evidence do you have to reflect that?”

Here’s Dr. Hinshaw’s answer: “So we have received reports in some particular populations where, ahh, you know, we’re working, kind of with our colleagues on the ground, where individuals, again, where resources are part of challenges that they face, we have heard that in some of those groups that the access to compensation has made a difference in their deliberations.”

Evidence? Not much. 

Vaccine status becomes a political issue in St. Albert

Meanwhile in St. Albert, the little Edmonton area city said to have the highest percentage of fully vaccinated citizens in Alberta, the question of whether or not politicians have had their jabs has become an issue in Monday’s municipal election. 

St. Albert resident Dan MacLennan – opening the door to divisiveness? (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

A mischievous citizen submitted a question to the local weekly newspaper, which dutifully passed it on to candidates. “Have you been vaccinated with both shots against COVID-19?” asked Dan MacLennan. “I think this is a fair question for anyone seeking a leadership role during the fourth wave of a pandemic,” he added.

Three of four candidates for mayor said yes – Mayor Cathy Heron, David Letourneau, and Bob Russell. Candidate Angela Wood skirted the question, saying she supported vaccinations but adding nothing about her own vaccine status.

Seventeen of the 20 city council candidates who responded: Wes Brodhead, Gilbert Cantin, Sandy Clark, Mike Ferguson, Ross Guffei, Kevan Jess, Natalie Joly, Rachel Jones, Donna Kawahara, Mike Killick, Shawn LeMay, Ken MacKay, Wally Popik, Louis Sobolewski, Isadore Stoyko, Joseph Trapani, and Leonard Wilkins.

The reactions of the other three, though, were interesting:

Former Wildrose candidate Shelley Biermanski and Councillor Sheena Hughes, best known for her mid-pandemic Mexican vacation last winter, both accused Mr. MacLennan of being divisive. 

“I feel this question to be nothing but divisive,” said Ms. Biermanski. “To proudly flaunt personal vaccines would immediately be abandoning those who cannot have a vaccine for various reasons. I will vote for compassion and respect of privacy.”

“This question only encourages division in our community,” huffed Ms. Hughes. “It violates health and privacy laws, which work to protect individual personal information, and should not be superseded by curiosity. Some have made assumptions about others, including myself, based on a willingness to defend what little is left of our constitution and health privacy laws.” 

Jennifer Cote was a little less confrontational, saying she supports “the use of vaccinations,” but … “the choices people make in maintaining good health are personal and should remain that way.” 

She too cited health information and privacy laws, none of which, it must be noted, prevent a citizen from asking about a candidate’s vaccination status in an election taking place during a pandemic. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story indicated mayoral candidate Angela Wood said she was vaccinated. Your blogger was fooled by some ambiguous language. The story has been edited to more accurately reflect Ms. Wood’s statement. DJC

31 Comments to: Churches big and little weigh in: religious COVID-19 vaccination exemptions aren’t going to be easy to get

  1. Dave

    October 15th, 2021

    It is perplexing to me that some people are so fearful of a vaccine, but not of the disease it prevents or mitigates. Far more people have already died from COVID than the vaccines against it. I suppose this is the first sign of irrationality here.

    I suspect some people just have a fear of getting shots in general and I wonder if all the pseudo science or pseudo religion is just a cover or a way to try avoid this. Perhaps some are also hopeful that if everyone else gets the shot, they will not have to. If they wait long enough perhaps they can become free riders. Unfortunately the numbers are not there yet to allow many free riders.

    There is also a point where people convince themselves of the conspiracy theories they go looking for, where they transition from being vaccine hesitant to hard core anti vaxers. I suppose we already had anti vaxers for a long time already, for instance there are people against measles vaccines. The difference being measles is not a public health crisis or threat at the same level as COVID.

    You also have to wonder how far some people will take all this. I have already heard of people being excluded from family gatherings and of course many jobs are making being vaccinated a requirement. Perhaps such pressure will just make some more entrenched in their anti vax views, but doing nothing will not encourage the hesitant to get vaccinated either.

    We are in a situation for which there is not much precident. I suspect there is no easy way to get through to the most vaccine resistant. I suppose the best we can hope for is most will eventually come to realize they are not making the best choices, either for others or themselves.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    October 15th, 2021

    There still is the question as to how many in the UCP party have gotten the Covid-19 vaccine. If they haven’t gotten the vaccine, what’s their excuse? These pretend conservatives and Reformers are so desperate to cling to power, that they must use Ralph Klein type tactics and bribe Albertans using their own money to do it. Also, I think there may be a 5th wave of Covid-19 coming in Alberta, and it will be extremely bad.

    Reply
  3. Bill Malcolm

    October 15th, 2021

    The way I look at it, if all the crybabies, nutbars, religious wazoos, anti-vaxxers ‘cuz, and the other assorted detritus of society who were otherwise perfectly capable of doing their civic duty, had stepped up and got their jabs, this epidemic would be over now. Finished, done gone with. What, do these people honestly believe government was out to poison them? That’s paranoia beyond reason, and it’s BS. No, they’d rather argue over picayune points than see the big picture or give a ratsass about their neighbours. “I got my rights to be annoyingly stupid,” they say. Sure, this time. Next time, perhaps society will be likely to be less tolerant and more authoritarian — paradoxically caused by the silly people who chose to push too far this time making the average person unwilling to tolerate such bullsh!t again.

    Speaking of geniuses, Dr Hinshaw should come and give us downeasters a lecture on how the Mighty West handles a pandemic the Right Way. I presume she’s double-vaccinated and could get into Nova Scotia no problem. She’d get her head chewed off by actual medical professionals with a clue in the Q & A session afterwards. How did Alberta get saddled with such a politically servile schmuck as Chief Officer of Public Health? Beyond my ken.

    The other thing is about the Covid hospital situation in Fort Mac, where Newfs have gone to help out, and subject of a CBC news report last night. Apparently the area is rife with ex-pat Newfs working the tarsands. Checking vaccine stats, Newfoundland and Labrador is WAY out in front of every other province — 86%of the eligible double-vaxxed, 93% single vaxxed and shortly to get their second dose. Are Newfies regarded as bovine rule followers? Not in my experience; three in one room is the call for a party! But they have common sense. So what happens when they go to work in Alberta’s north? I wonder, uncharitably, if they get hit with the same stupid stick that affects so many other rural Albertans, northern BCers and people from Saskatchewan. There appears to be a swath of Western Canada where normal logic and reason simply does not exist.

    Screw ’em if they don’t like vaccine passports. That’s payback for being anti-social stumblebums, and prolonging society’s misery far longer than necessary, while putting medical healthcare workers throiugh the wringer to save their sorry asses.

    Reply
  4. Ben

    October 15th, 2021

    A) the vaccine HAS killed people you insensitive prick.

    B) I didn’t get vaxxed until the Kenney bucks were announced, so there’s your evidence it worked.

    C) the pope doesn’t make the rules on HOW a Catholic forms a relationship with God, so his views on vaccines are pointless.

    D) calling people refuseniks is still name-calling you petty asshole.

    E) I fucking hate you and your opinions are garbage.

    Have a great fucking day.

    Reply
    • Athabascan

      October 15th, 2021

      Right on Ben,

      I hear from a friend of a friend who is my second cousin that he got the vaccine and he grew a tail, and on quiet clear nights he can tune into a local FM station. That’s all the scientific proof I need.

      I’m with you, if anyone says differently, they too are insensitive pricks. Yeah and also calling people assholes is not name calling, it’s perfectly legitimate it’s in the bible look it up.

      Reply
    • Albertan

      October 15th, 2021

      Nonsense.

      Reply
    • Abs

      October 15th, 2021

      Ben, if Daddy Steve sent you here, don’t worry. Your job is still safe, even if your Best Summer Ever campaign belly-flopped. You’re still very young. Live and learn, lad. Live and learn. Feel free to move on to blogs where you will find the kind of rhetoric that supports your world view. Wishing upon you what you wish for others.

      Reply
    • John T

      October 15th, 2021

      Wrong.

      Reply
    • tom in ontario

      October 15th, 2021

      Hey Benny, save your energy for your inflatable date.

      Reply
    • Bob Raynard

      October 15th, 2021

      DJC, you have occasionally alluded to the garbage you have to plow through when you are moderating comments, and after reading the above comment I want to give you my sincere thanks for the work you have to do in order to create a finished product list of comments that are thought provoking, and interesting to read.

      Thank you so much.

      Reply
      • David Climenhaga

        October 17th, 2021

        Thank you, Bob. usually I send such comments to the trash bucket, but now and then I feel there is value in lettering my readers see what the lunatic right in this province is thinking and saying. At least this interlocutor was on topic. DJC

        Reply
    • Death and Gravity

      October 15th, 2021

      Gentlefolk, I give you the UCP.

      Get help, buddy.

      Reply
  5. Abs

    October 15th, 2021

    Here, let me run that through my Abs-o-matic21 translator device: “No”.

    Reply
  6. Simon Renouf

    October 15th, 2021

    Our dogs “proudly flaunt personal vaccines”. They get nice little metal tags from the vet when they get their rabies shots. We tell them they’re medals for bravery, and on to the collars they go.

    Reply
  7. Bruce Turton

    October 15th, 2021

    Shelley Biermanski, “I will vote for compassion…”
    Sheena Hughes, “based on a willingness to defend what little is left of our constitution…”
    So then, where is the “compassion” of those who refuse vaccination for those others all around them? Seems to be a one way street. Still waiting for the outbreak of those who do not use their seat belts!!!
    And then there is the complete confusion of Canada’s constitution which does include social rights versus that of the Excited States that does not do so and emphasizes first property rights and secondly, individual rights. Bringing up this confusion of two different entities is at best disingenuous and utterly ignorant of what our constitution is about.

    Reply
  8. brett

    October 15th, 2021

    There is no mystery. Like everything else in life this boils down to choices.

    You make your choice and then live with the consequences.

    Blaming others for those know consequences get no mileage with anyone.

    Reply
  9. Just Me

    October 15th, 2021

    The US experience in regard to vaccine refusal is interesting and highly-informative.

    The effort to refuse the jab has taken on an organized temperament, where various social-media outlets are serving as platforms to organize vaccine-strikes. The states of Texas and Florida already have executive orders in place were all vaccine mandates, regardless of their origin, are unlawful. In Texas, the governor has already gone into a war with two airlines based in Texas for their respective vaccine mandates. Since they are federal contractors and carriers, they intend to follow and impose the mandate on their employees. The Governor of Texas has denounced this action as “Anti-Freedom” and promised swift and brutal action against the airlines management. Taking this example into the streets of Texas, employees are refusing their employers’ vaccine mandates, declaring they will all walk off the job. Clients of these employers who oppose the mandates have already made it clear they will severely punish any contractor that imposes mandates on their employees. Exactly what form this punishment will take remains to be seen, but given the hyper-temper in Texas, and the belligerence of the Governor, the organized opposition could serve as a flashpoint for further troubles to come.

    The state leadership in the so called Red States are paying close attention to the events in Texas, as well as the actions of the opposition in their own respective states. Since many of these state GOP elected officials fear they will be primaried out of their nominations for compliance with the mandate, things will begin to heat up soon.

    Need more popcorn.

    Reply
  10. Carlos

    October 15th, 2021

    Churches should have no say at all on these issue. The Catholic Church and others are pedophile clubs that somehow never get banned. Another 200 thousand kids abused in France by 3000 clerics. Amazing and no one says anything other than ‘it is horrible’. Any individual in any civilized country is sent to jail if charged, the Church just breezes through it as if it is their right. WE ARE SORRY. I wonder who are they serving other than them?

    Reply
  11. Phlogiston

    October 15th, 2021

    There appear to be two or more camps of the vaccine hesitant. There are the faux vaccine hesitant people — those who are cynical and know better but view vaccine hesitancy as a means to drive people to a more favorable view of authoritarian and illiberal governance, often racist in nature, by exploiting algorithms in Facebook and other social media platforms. I really have a beef with this category of malcontents and refuseniks.

    Then, there are the truly hesitant – those who fear putting foreign substances into their bodies or who have been manipulated to believe that the science is false, that the efficacy of vaccines is exaggerated, that the virus is no worse than the flu, that the virus is fake, and so on by the former category of cynical malcontents. I count Kenney in this category because of his earlier pronouncements comparing Covid to the flu to his actions that gave oxygen to the nutbars in his caucus.

    We are all subject to cognitive dissonance – the feeling of discomfort we all feel when confronted with new knowledge that contradicts our beliefs. Cognitive Dissonance has been a well establish theory in Psychology when it was first observed and documented by Leon Festinger 64 years ago (https://www.apa.org/pubs/books/Cognitive-Dissonance-Intro-Sample.pdf).

    Understanding this phenomenon is, considering the recent anti-vax movements, even more urgent. There is a social and evolutionary aspect component to it — consider that you belong to a tribe that has certain well-established beliefs.
    If you deviate in your beliefs from those of the tribe, it might be an evolutionary advantage to feel discomfort when the two contradictory beliefs collide, since adherence to contradictory beliefs might result in shunning or expulsion, lessening the chances of survival.

    Consider the plight of the vaccine hesitant. They feel uncomfortable putting a foreign substance into their bodies, which is both a natural and a rational response. At the same time, they are also recruited into tribes that reinforce the idea that vaccines are bad, etc. To entertain the thought that vaccines are good might create a significant amount of discomfort. It is a double whammy.

    For an interesting discussion on the latest research into cognitive dissonance, here is an informative podcast: https://peterattiamd.com/caroltavris-elliotaronson/. For a truly scary descent into the crazy world of the anti-MMR vaxxers, here is another: https://peterattiamd.com/briandeer/.

    It is difficult for anyone to overcome cognitive dissonance. We should really have no sympathy for the manipulators of this dissonance but retain some sympathy for those who are genuinely fearful. I am not sure how far to go with this latter category as their refusal to get vaccinated puts the health of me, my family, and friends in jeopardy as well.

    As for those who hide behind privacy and refuse to declare their status, declaring vaccination status is quite different from declaring you have cancer, diabetes, syphilis, bi-polar disorder, or other medical condition. Vaccination status is not a medical condition and never has been. It is pure sophistry to afford it the same kind of status as a medical condition.

    Reply
    • Manda

      October 19th, 2021

      So let’s say you have a person that doesn’t trust the government/large organizations, so they are vaccine-hesitant. Do you think coercive mandates from the government/large organizations are going to make that person trust the government/large organizations MORE, and convince them to take the shot? Of course not! They are going to even MORE distrustful and unwilling. Clearly policy-makers have no sense of logic or human psychology

      Reply
  12. Bob Raynard

    October 15th, 2021

    Thanks for another great column, David. As usual, it gives me a good think while I enjoy my morning coffee. Although you didn’t specifically bring it up, I found the issue of ‘what if a legitimate, vaccine resistant religion should materialize’ to be really interesting, from both the perspective of AHS and the faith itself.

    The first thing that comes to mind is what sort of requirement AHS (and all other vaccine mandated industries for that matter) will require to determine if a person applying for a religion-based exemption is in fact a legitimate member of that faith. Given the work that AHS has put in to developing their vaccine mandate I would really hope they would require some form of documentation from an official of the church stating that the applicant is truly a member of the faith. Requiring a copy of a donation receipt from a previous year would also be reasonable.

    I am certainly not a student of world religions, but I became aware of the process to become a Catholic while I was at university studying to be a teacher. (Catholic school boards usually require teacher applicants to submit a letter from their parish priest as part of the application process, so being Catholic greatly increases a job searching teacher’s employment prospects.) Before being baptized as a Catholic, the prospective member must attend a year long course, during which they will presumably be regular attendees at church.

    I also met a woman once who told me she was ‘studying to join the witnesses’, so it appears there is a process to go through to become a Jehovah’s Witness. I assume all religions have some form of initiation ritual a new member goes through as they officially join their religion. It would be more than fair for AHS to require confirmation that someone applying for a religion-based exemption has in fact gone through this process if they are going to truly qualify for a religion-based exemption.

    Another issue that also needs to be considered, is that if there is a legitimate religion out there that is opposed to vaccines, they probably don’t want anti-vaxxers joining them just on the vaccine issue. In addition to the anti-vax new member all but certainly not believing in the other more fundamental tenets of the faith, it is quite unlikely a free-dumb loving anti-vaxxer would be willing to accept the other restrictions their newly found religion expects of its adherents. (Think abstaining from alcohol).

    It should be quite manageable to give religious based exemptions to legitimate members of a vaccine opposed faith and still keep out the faith-of-convenience anti-vaxxers.

    Reply
  13. Anon.

    October 15th, 2021

    You obviously haven’t read what the Supreme Court of Canada had to say about requiring religious leaders permission to practice your religion how you want to.

    One does not “have to prove your religion says no to vaccines” as you have said, but rather as the Supreme Court says “that a claimant need not show some sort of objective religious obligation, requirement or precept to invoke freedom of religion”. Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem, 2004 SCC 47

    Reply
  14. Scotty on Denman

    October 16th, 2021

    I confess: when I got those first four vaccinations, I just didn’t know—I hadn’t yet started saying “Merry Christmas” again and again, again. The shot I got yesterday, the fifth one since in the ides of Covid , felt just like the the other ones—except it came with a bill!

    Oh, yes, I’d heard the warnings—even herd them on the hoof, shouted out in front of the hospital the other day. But did I listen?…a hundred and twenty bucks! I looked up from the inscription in my hand and beseechingly thought to myself: “Good Gawd!! They’re out to get me!”

    It was like walking in an open field with lightening beating down like chains while balancing the Sword of Damascus on the point of my head. I mean, the flu-shot and both Covid shots were free. I shoulda listened: once they get you hooked to the harder stuff— the 19-different-pneumococcal vax—man! Look out!—that C-note and double saw-buck went bye-bye.

    Gawd!—just remembered I have another flu-shot appointment next week—and a 19-pneumococcal booster sometime after that!

    I wonder if it’s too late to get an exemption— or if atheists can get one? Awww, it’s gotta be, the rite of equality, right? But is there a test? Lord help me if there is!

    Reading this article got me feeling the spirit. I kid you not: I stood up and felt I was floating like a blind man in the dark, my arms reaching out, then touching something—something familiar—a binding on something heavy. Then I saw the light —as I turned on the floor lamp. I found myself standing in front of the bookshelf wall, my hand on a Bible like some kinda miracle! Really started to feel like I coulda got an exemption—things are lookin’ up!

    Definitely felt some kinda invisible force as I pulled the big old KJV out; it got stronger, pulling downward with more and more force each time I selected a concordance or two from among the four or five dozen Bibles on the shelf—not including special dictionaries, and sundry apocrypha also occupying a large section of my modest library—almost as if mine eyes had been opened and I could finally see the forest for the trees.

    Somehow I was inspired to look under the heading of “healing”, knowing, I guess, that the Good Book was written before vaccinations were invented. Then I marvelled at the Ouija-like magnetism guiding my fingers as they flipped through the pages. Suddenly, there it was: out of 1340 pages the word “Healer” appeared right in front of me—right after “G” and right before “I”, just like magic. Only then I realized that, immediately beside me, my “New Testament From 26 Translations” wasn’t 24, as I had mistakenly remembered it. It couldn’t be denied any longer: this was a call to mission-quest.

    In addition to the different translations and compositions of Bibles, the text of any one of them, even word by word, can be very broadly interpreted. Whole provinces can be anointed with Big Oil, for example, and it will piously cite the very first commandment, Genesis 1:28, ordering humans to multiply and “subdue the earth” and “master it”—quite unimaginative. There’s one particular interpretation so broad it spawned The Book of Mormon.

    Unlike other Abrahamic faiths which require more or less strict codes of conduct or ritual, Evangelism instead requires simply the emotional, “born again” experience and “salvation” from hell by faith alone. It’s congregational form easily accommodates both austere Quakerism and batshit crazy “snake-handlers”, each with its own interpretations of certain cherrypicked passages of the Bible. Black Southern Baptists were organized for protection against militant, starts-with-a-K, racist whites, their co-evangelists. Lately white evangelism has accommodated the high emotions of resentment and anger at the advancement of non-whites which they perceive as at the expense of privilege. Evangelism has adopted Covid Anti-vaxxerism and proclaimed its God-given “right to worship”, a euphemism non-Christians perceive as an exception of privileges. Rapturous, no?

    Pseudolegalism is inspired by Bible inerrancy—not belief in the ethics of the Bible but, rather, its long-redacted, cogent and all-encompassing scope into which justification of just about anything can be read as the sighted novice reads Braille. Not only can passages be picked out to gnore or ignore, Bible-like texts can be appended like the “First Ten” amendments of the US Constitution, claimed to represent the supposed purity intent of the Founding Fathers (stopping short of emancipation and abolition of slavery, human rights for all, and a mechanism to get rid of a crazy president). Redoubter movements which seek to stake out exclusively pure white enclaves in the USA are overtly Christian in faith; they depend heavily on more primal frontier and racial tropes of the Old Testament. Surely that warrants an exemption.

    Asking for a friend: can an atheist get a —I guess you’d call it a retro exemption?

    Sending prayers direct-express, my friends. Stay safe.

    Signed, CryptoVax

    Reply
  15. Just Me

    October 16th, 2021

    Regarding the emergence of an Anti-Vaxx religion, this may be underway in the US among the various Pentecostal and charismatic evangelical churches, not to mention the weirdness that is Scientology. If the IRS recognizes these religions as real for tax purposes, there is little stopping the avalanche of court challenges to vaccine mandates on religious grounds in the offing.

    Claims from many pulpits that the vaccine is the ‘Mark of the Beast’ gives strength to the resistance that will reach far beyond this year, perhaps into the 2024 election year. I can imagine the GOP campaigning against the COVID vaccine, even going so far as to declare it a globalist conspiracy to make Americans godless.

    Reply
    • Manda

      October 19th, 2021

      I would say that pro-covid-vaccination is more of a fervent religion than the beliefs of those who are skeptical of the pro-covid-vaccination religion

      Reply
  16. Pietro Wislon

    October 17th, 2021

    The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is “offering official letters for those Pastafarians who would like to be exempt from working in proximity to the unvaxxed.”
    One of the saner “faith communities” in my view.

    Reply
  17. Manda

    October 19th, 2021

    This article was written disgustingly, with thoroughly biased language and assumptions. The author should be ashamed of himself and should call himself an authoritarian puppet rather than erroneously consider himself a journalist

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      October 19th, 2021

      Manda: In case you missed it, this is an commentary blog. A certain point of view, call it a bias if you wish, is essential to political commentary. As for the rest of your comment: Pfffft! DJC

      Reply
  18. DAVE

    October 25th, 2021

    Since it is clear that anyone who visits this site has absolutely no clue whatsoever of the reasons anyone would be hesitant about the current 1st gen covid vaccines I’ll try to educate you all. I know it will be difficult for some to look past what you hear on your TV and mainstream media.

    1. We never seen in the history of vaccines any vaccine as dangerous as these covid vaccines. VAERS 30 year history with vaccine reaction including flu vax that is administered to 170 million per year to Americans, combined totals from all vaccines in 30 years does not come close to the totals seen for deaths and reactions with these 1st gen covid vaccines and studies show this represents between 1%-10% actual cases. Current reactions 818,042 / deaths 17,128. WHO VigiAccess database of vaccine reactions currently reports 2,344,240 adverse reactions.

    2. All vaccines are currently in clinical trials. Pfizer expected completion date of July 30, 2023. (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04848584)

    3. Natural immunity obtained by recovering from covid has been shown to present far better immunity than that obtained by vaccines. This has been proven over the years time and time again with all vaccines.

    4. There has been many highly effective prophylactic treatments as well as early treatments. (https://c19ivermectin.com/) for covid that are being suppressed and censored even to the
    point of outright banning doctors using or even mentioning them and Canadian customs confiscating any such medication shipped through the mail. Even if the medication has been in human use for over 20 years
    with over 4 billion doses globally and with a safety record better than aspirin. Such drugs have been described as miracle drugs with the likes of Penicillin and aspirin and the inventors all winning
    Nobel Peace prize and have been should to provide strong antiviral properties.
    India Uttar Pradesh pop 240mil – eradicates Covid19 – https://www.thedesertreview.com/opinion/columnists/indias-ivermectin-blackout—part-v-the-secret-revealed/article_9a37d9a8-1fb2-11ec-a94b-47343582647b.html

    5. Many healthcare workers have been speaking out against the current vaccines. Willing to be fired from their jobs rather than be coerced into taking the shot. These are people who will loose everything for their beliefs they feel so strongly about. Because they believe in science not propaganda.

    That’s probably a good start.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      October 27th, 2021

      I will allow one comment of this type, which is rife with misinformation, on this story as part of my commitment to fee speech. This is it. Readers are advised not to take its claims at face value. DJC

      Reply
  19. Kiki

    November 23rd, 2021

    I am indegenous, I wont get vaccinated because of my religious beliefs. Who the hell are you to tell me I need some church leaders approval to have the relationship I have with my religion? The way the author speaks about religious people, like mindless sheep who rely completely on what the leader of some congregation says.

    This article is clear propaganda, painting religious people as antivaxers.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

  • (not be published)