Can you use a religious objection to receiving the Coronavirus vaccine?

I’ve been writing religious exemption letters for the folks that need them.

I’ll be happy to write one for you but there are a few rules.

First, you must have a sincerely held religious objection. That might seem obvious but it can’t be reducible to a purely medical or scientific objection.

Second, those two can overlap or both be true but I’m not qualified to speak to the medical concerns and so those won’t be mentioned in the letter. This means you might need an additional letter from your doctor or medical professional.

Third, a religious objection to this vaccine and no other vaccine might be hard to argue. I’m just telling you the way the government or a corporation pressured by the government might read your letter. The idea that this vaccine is special has not been a very successful angle.

Fourth, the use or aborted fetal tissue and the cell lines of aborted infants can be included as part of or as a basis for a sincerely held religious concern but if you willingly, knowingly received other such vaccines would be hard to argue. Unless your conviction about such things has recently changed.

Fifth, just so we’re clear a religious concern is ultimately a moral concern. You are arguing that your religion does not allow you to take this vaccine in good conscience. That in your understanding your relationship with your God would be damaged by your reception of the vaccine. In shorthand, that it would be a “sin”.

In brief, if you don’t think it would be morally wrong your objection is probably not religious.

If you think it would be morally wrong but are not a religious person the same would apply. That would be an ethical but not a religious concern.

If you are thinking you have a religious objection but your particular faith, religion or denominational setting has no history, background or theology of the importance of divinely granted rights of conscience, bodily holiness or the limitations of the use of technology in regard to human well being, think about how you will argue that your concern is sincere.

Thankfully, you may not need to explain as the United States Constitution has been interpreted as that the government is barred from inquiring as to the merits and nature of an individual’s religious belief. Private employers and corporations tend to blur those lines. If that’s your situation you might need to get a lawyer involved.

If you’re a Protestant, as most Christians in the United States are, remember that we have a deeply held and long standing tradition of freedom of conscience. We believe it is taught in the Bible. This freedom that we believe was granted by God himself stands against other persons, governments and even the church.

These religious liberties are so important to us that they eventually made their way into the Constitution itself and the Bill of Rights, that when rightly interpreted means, a person’s religious conscience shall not be violated by state action.

In 1517 Martin Luther, a father of ours in faith and ministry stood before the church and the state, before Cardinals and Kings and said, “Unless I can be convinced by scripture and sound reason, my conscience is held captive by the word of God. To act against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me God.”

At that time his stand was considered immoral by many and certainly illegal but sometimes doing what is right according to one’s conscience before God is going to have consequences.

Still, to act against conscience is neither right nor safe.

So here you might have some hard decisions to make.

I will be praying for you.


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