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The Freedom to Harm is Not Freedom—It’s License—It’s Immoral

The Freedom to Harm is Not Freedom—It’s License—It’s Immoral September 10, 2021

Many Christians seem to believe in a concept of “freedom” that is more modern, Western, American, and individualistic than anything we find in the New Testament.

As modern, Western, American consumers we have been discipled to see our connections to others, to community, in the sense of individual rights rather than responsibilities. We have rights.  We have liberties. We are sovereign in our own sphere of physical existence. We are islands, even if surrounded by other islands.

Thus, it is easy for us to think in terms of an individual sovereignty. This mindset can become very defensive and guarded too. “Don’t tread on me” seems to be a common sentiment. Many Americans are suspicious of authority and don’t want to have their freedom infringed upon or challenged, even when it’s more an inconvenience rather than a true loss of liberty.

Whatever we might think about this conception of freedom, it is certainly not one found in the New Testament.

It is obviously wonderful to live in a free society, where certain liberties are guaranteed by law. However, even in modern Western societies, there are limits to personal freedom. And there are certainly limits to our freedoms if we claim to be followers of Jesus.

We need look no further than how some have responded to the Covid pandemic, vaccinations, and mandates to realize that too many American Christians would be more accurately described as followers of a Libertarian political philosophy or of Ayn Rand, than followers of Jesus.

We see the (meaningless by the way) incantation of “medical freedom” spouted by those who refuse to be vaccinated and are worried about it being mandated. That doing the right thing would have to be mandated is, rather, what should worry us.

I’ve been left wondering to myself: Have these Christians picked up a Bible lately? Ever? Are they familiar with basic Christian theology that puts our neighbor first?

Let’s be clear here: There is absolutely no widely accepted scientific/medical compelling reason not to get vaccinated. Zero. None. The great majority of epidemiologists/doctors/scientists, world-wide, both Christian and non-Christian, believe the positive benefits (like, living) of the Covid vaccinations far outweigh any negatives. Anyone still touting the idea the vaccines are unsafe, unproven, or even crazy nonsense like they are the “mark of the beast,” doesn’t know what they are talking about. They are either ignorant or worse. Many have simply been fed a steady diet of misinformation or conspiracy theories by social media, YouTube, or Fox News.

And for those who think eating healthy, exercising, and their positive thoughts will suffice instead of a vaccine may want to listen to this guy.

Many refusing vaccines will tell us they don’t trust the authorities in these areas. However, these same people, if they come down with Covid, will seek and trust the doctors, nurses, and science that ends up (we hope) saving their lives. Funny how that works.

The “logic” is appalling. Right, I won’t trust the established, widely respected, and highly educated epidemiologists/doctors/scientists out there, but I will trust some fringe, rogue doctor/person on social media or YouTube I know little or nothing about. Or I will believe some anecdotal something or other I heard once or read somewhere (can’t remember) from someone I barely know.

That makes perfect sense (not). Look, if you want to believe we didn’t land on the moon, or that 9/11 was an inside job, that’s cool. It’s crazy, but at least believing such nonsense isn’t going to get anyone killed. Not so when it comes to vaccines.

We are not “free” to harm others. Your freedom to swing your fists ends at my nose. Anyone refusing to be vaccinated, for any reason other than their doctor’s recommendation, is using their “freedom” to harm others. They are putting themselves, their spouse, their children, their grandchildren, their friends and neighbors, and their greater community in harm’s way.

They are also prolonging the need to wear masks, the need to social distance, and the atmosphere wherein people are hesitant to go to restaurants, theaters, concerts, and other communal gatherings. Many of the people who refuse to get vaccinated spend their time complaining about these very things.

I’m reminded of the man who was being sentenced for killing his parents. He pleaded for mercy citing the fact he was now an orphan.  Thus, we all suffer so those who refuse to be vaccinated can go on their merry way jabbering about their “freedom” and further creating the very conditions they complain impinge upon it.

How many people are still having to postpone weddings, funerals, anniversary parties, reunions, birthday parties, or family gatherings because people value their own personal “freedom” over how it affects anyone else? How many people are suffering or dying because there is no ICU bed for them—because it’s being used by a person who refused to be vaccinated?  There’s a word for that: Selfish.

During WWII, in England, once Germany started bombing London, there was a strict lights-out curfew after nightfall. Any light seen from above by enemy bombers was like a painted bullseye on targets below. Imagine though, if someone in your building refused to turn out their lights noting their “freedom” to do what they wanted with their apartment. Maybe they didn’t trust the authorities—maybe they didn’t believe German bombers could fly that far. In their selfishness and ignorance, they put everyone in harm’s way.

Those refusing to be vaccinated are doing the very same thing now. They are really no better than drunk drivers. Under the guise of supposedly not trusting the authorities or not trusting the science, I’m beginning to think what’s really going on is we live among too many people who just think the world revolves around them.

As a Christian, do you want to know what your “freedom” is all about?

Galatians 5:13 – For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

1 Peter 2:16 – Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

Matthew 22:37-40-   And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Please, get vaccinated. Act like a responsible, decent adult. If you claim to be a Christian, then act like one. When it comes to something like a pandemic that has taken over 600,000 lives, this isn’t a matter of personal opinion or a perverted sense of “freedom.” We are talking about living and dying. Do the right thing.

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