There is a strong movement in the U.S. in which vaccine mandate policies for COVID-19 are being adopted by corporations, businesses, schools, and many others. About a month ago, the largest university system in the U.S., the University of California (UC), adopted such a policy. It states that no one can set foot on any of their many campuses if they have not been vaccinated for COVID-19. However, this policy has one exception; it does not apply to anyone who says their religion forbids them to take the vaccine or they have a health complication that might endanger their life if they took the vaccine. The same thing is true of policies being adopted regarding mandates requiring the wearing of masks again in public places and doing social distancing. That is, they also may have this exception clause. Yet there is no law in the U.S. or legal precedent that legally requires such an exception clause for religion.
Furthermore, some Republican state governors have implemented legislation preventing local municipalities from requiring COVID vaccinations or mask wearing. Yet the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1905 that, due to smallpox ravaging the Northeast starting in 1901, the federal government could mandate the vaccine for smallpox, and it did. This lawsuit was brought by a Christian pastor immigrant from Sweden. He argued it violated his right to make personal health decisions as well as being an affront to his religion. The Court ruled that, in order to protect the health of the larger community during a public health crisis, it was “reasonable” for government to infringe upon the personal freedom of people by fining those who refuse a very efficacious vaccination for the disease. In this case, the smallpox vaccine worked like a miracle and thereby eradicated the disease. That smallpox killed 30% of all people in the U.S. who contracted it.
Today, Indiana University won a court-of-appeals ruling in which eight of its students had sued the school for its recent mandate, like UC, of requiring all of its students to be vaccinated against COVID for the fall semester. They had alleged that this mandate violated their personal rights and their religion. Six of them already had requested the religious exemption, and the school had granted it. Apparently, the policy also requires that such unvaccinated students wear masks in public places on campus and be tested regularly for COVID. The court’s written judgment states that one of the plaintives “says he has a deeply held religious objection to wearing a mask and being tested.”
Apparently, there is no legal requirement for such entities that mandate vaccination also include an except clause for religion. Moreover, how can such a thing be if one of the main purposes of most religions, including Christianity, is for its practitioners to do good to their fellow human beings. It is doing just the opposite, doing evil, to fellow human beings to be unvaccinated for COVID and thereby endangering peoples’ lives with this most horrendous and deadly coronavirus that has in 18 months killed over four million people worldwide, with over 600,000 of them being Americans. Therefore, I think those entities that adopt such vaccination mandates should not include an exemption for religion. What do you think?