Religion and vaccines – current religious dogma about vaccinations review

religion and vaccines

This article, about religion and vaccines, shows that claims that religion is opposed to vaccinations are bogus. Recently, several states, like New York and Maine, have taken steps to limit and or eliminate religious exemptions to vaccines as a result of the abuse of the exemption.

A while ago, I wrote an article about a father who is suing the New York Department of Education to force a school to allow his unvaccinated son into school. The basis of his lawsuit is that vaccination is against his religious beliefs. 

The father is a Roman Catholic and claimed that his church was opposed to vaccines. As far as I could find, the Catholic Church strongly supports vaccines, even making it a moral and ethical issue by clearly stating that “there would seem to be no proper grounds for refusing immunization against dangerous contagious diseases…”

The Catholic Church even supports the use of those vaccines manufactured using permanent cell lines that derive from aborted fetuses. In other words, not only is the Catholic Church not opposed to vaccination, it seems to indicate that it would immoral to not vaccinate.

This all leads me to wonder if there was research into the relationship between religion and vaccines. Of course, researchers much smarter than this old dinosaur examined the issue – spoiler alert, religions broadly support vaccinations.

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Vaccines and Judaism – anti-vaxxer activists misusing religion

Dear anti-vaccine activists,

Please stop misusing Judaism in your efforts to prevent authorities from fighting the measles outbreak that is putting little Jewish children in hospitals. You’re not standing up for Jews when you do that. You’re exploiting them in a fight against preventing diseases.

The vast majority of Jewish theologians support vaccines. In the specific context of this outbreak, they call on people to vaccinate.

Pork gelatin in injected vaccines does not make them non-Kosher. That has been addressed.

The reason a minority of people in the affected neighborhoods are still not vaccinating and not protecting their children in the middle of an outbreak is not religious. It’s antivaccine misinformation: they were misled into fearing vaccines more than measles.

By people making arguments, the anti-vaccine movement fed them. They’re acting out of fear, not religion.

And if you think efforts to stop the outbreak may interfere with the Passover, having your child with measles certainly does. Having your child hospitalized with measles or in ICU definitely does.

Again: you’re not standing for Jews when you are making it harder to protect little Jewish children from ending in the hospital with measles. You really don’t.

Please conduct your fight to bring back diseases without exploiting Jews.

vaccines and judaism
Photo by Blake Campbell on Unsplash

Note

This is an open letter that Professor Dorit Rubinstein Reiss posted on her Facebook page and asked that I publish here regarding vaccines and Judaism. It is an ongoing message where anti-vaccine activists are misusing symbols of the Holocaust and other parts of Jewish history to push their false narrative about vaccines. 

Religious exemptions for vaccination – abuse and reform

In November 2013, the New Mexico Department of Health published the results of a survey examining people getting an exemption from school immunization requirementsThe survey found that most people getting an exemption – 54.9% – explained their reasons to be “philosophical” or personal belief, including concerns about vaccine harms, a preference for natural immunity, and a belief they could protect their children in other ways. 

The problem is that New Mexico does not offer a personal belief exemption. It offers medical exemptions and religious exemptions for vaccination only. In other words, these people got their vaccine exemption using an exemption that did not reflect their real reasons.

Our host, the Skeptical Raptor, invited me to describe an article I wrote on this that is forthcoming in the Hastings Law Journal. The article argues that: