Last year, I wrote a piece on lying to avoid mask mandates. I think it applies to two situations about vaccines. It is immoral to create fake vaccine cards and it is immoral to claim one reason for a vaccine exemption when you really want it for another reason. I will briefly note these two issues then refer you to that article to apply these principles.
New Issues with Honesty
I have seen people promoting both of these. Obviously fraudulent documentation creating a risk for oneself and others is unethical. I’ve run across several who are claiming that the remote abortion connection is why they are applying for a vaccine exemption; but then when I point out how astronomically-remote it is or ask about what they’d do if a vaccine with even less connection than currently approved ones is approved, they indicate that they are not vaccinating for some other reason. If you trust Andrew Wakefield, Sherri Tenpenny, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Del Bigtree, or Judy Mikovits more than the vast vast majority of medical experts or something similar, please be honest about it and apply for an exemption based on that.
Applying My Article about Honesty with Masks
Here are some key points from that article that apply to lying in these situations.
However, some people created online sites saying one could fake a disability and avoid wearing a mask. Faking a disability for this purpose breaks at least three commandments and probably four. […]
Thou Shall Not Kill
The fifth commandment is not just against killing but also includes things that will harm another or things that have a reasonable chance to harm or kill. Not wearing a mask when close to others is obviously in the last category. In fact, the Catechism says (2288), “Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good.” […]
Whatever you think of the scientific research, those who fake a disability are breaking two or three other commandments.
Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness
These people are obviously lying about disability to get a certain benefit. Not liking a mask is not a disability. Almost nobody prefers wearing them, but we do it to protect others from infection.
Thou Shall Honor Your Father and Your Mother
Catholic teaching has attributed obedience to legitimate authority under this commandment. Whatever you think of masks, the state and/or businesses can ask you to wear one because they believe in masks’ efficiency. (They slow transmission as noted above.) Wearing a mask is not an intrinsically evil act and a legitimate authority can ask a minor inconvenience based on what that authority understands will improve public health. […]
Thou Shall not Steal
This one might not seem as obvious. But when these people present these fake cards, they steal the time of two groups of people. First, they steal the time of the employee who needs to check regulations and explain to them that this isn’t valid. Second, when a person who legitimately has a disability comes in, it takes them (or their caregiver) extra time to get their accommodation acknowledged. A large number of fake claims leads stores to check more vigorously when a disabled person makes a claim.
I think the application of these points applies equally in both points about vaccines.
Honesty is the best policy. There is an extensive moral theology on mental reservation, where one does not say something or says something true that they suspect the hearer will interpret differently than the speaker meant it. But none of this justifies actively creating misinformation in legitimate authority. Let’s be honest about our vaccination status or reasons for refusal. Lying is intrinsically evil.
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