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Who Are the Religious Leaders Who Are Against Vaccines?

Since no major religion is against vaccines, why do we still sometimes hear about religious leaders who are against vaccines?

Well, maybe not leaders…

Who Are the Religious Leaders Who Are Against Vaccines?

It is important to understand that the great majority of true religious leaders advocate for vaccines.

The Catholic Church supports and encourages families to vaccinate and protect their kids.
The Catholic Church supports and encourages families to vaccinate and protect their kids.

And the ones who don’t aren’t following traditional teachings.

Is the National Catholic Bioethics Center misinformed about actual church teachings on vaccines when they say Catholics have "no proper grounds for refusing immunization?" Is the Pontifical Academy for Life???
Is the National Catholic Bioethics Center misinformed about actual church teachings on vaccines when they say Catholics have “no proper grounds for refusing immunization?” Is the Pontifical Academy for Life???

For example, Father Michael Copenhagen, a member of the Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton, directly contradicts what the Catholic Church has said about vaccines.

“Applying a thorough moral analysis, many Catholics and conscientious people see clear immediate forced cooperation in the intrinsic evils of theft, desecration, experimentation and trafficking of human remains obtained through violence to produce the product. And this is one of a number of complex moral issues, including STD vaccines, and those which constitute extraordinary means, defined as those where there is no moral obligation to receive them.”

Father Michael Copenhagen Testimony at NJ Senate Hearing—12/12/2019

Instead, he echos anti-vaccine talking points about forced vaccination and minimizes the danger that clusters of unvaccinated students have to cause outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases.

“Consent means nothing if there is no right of refusal, and you would make the price of refusal a permanent state of segregation, isolation, and banishment when there is not even a temporary claimed (public health or infectious disease) crisis.”

Father Michael Copenhagen Testimony at NJ Senate Hearing—12/12/2019

Father Michael Copenhagen is speaking for himself and not for the Catholic Church.

“These are not only principles of faith, or even ethics, these are principles of sanity. If you pass this measure, you bear for all time the full weight and moral responsibility for outlawing the full public practice of the Catholic Faith, for coercion which fundamentally subverts the moral law and rights of citizens, and undermines the very nature of your own elected office, which is to preserve the good, not to dissolve it.”

Father Michael Copenhagen Testimony at NJ Senate Hearing—12/12/2019

Speaking of ethics and morals…

“One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them.”

National Catholic Bioethics Center FAQ on the Use of Vaccines

Unfortunately, Father Copenhagan isn’t the only one out there distorting religious ideas about vaccines.

Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky has called vaccines a hoax.
Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky has called vaccines a hoax.

For example, while some Orthodox Jewish communities were recently trying to control their large measles outbreaks, there were a few rabbis, including Rabbi Hillel Handler and Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, who were actively advocating against vaccines!

“This is all being orchestrated by the drug companies, which are very close to the CDC,” Handler told the crowd in a gender-segregated room at a catering hall in the Midwood neighborhood. “The doctors all march in lockstep with the CDC. The doctors don’t think they’re marching in lockstep. They don’t understand that the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, is a totally corrupt swamp. … They are criminals.”

Gospels and child sacrifice: Inside a NYC ultra-Orthodox anti-vaccination rally

These outbreaks were the largest and the longest in the United States in at least 28 years.

And the overwhelming response from religious leaders were that those who were not vaccinating and protecting their kids were “Senseless! Heartless! Torah-less! and Reckless!”

“We are obliged by the Torah “Venishmartem Meod L’nafshoseichem,” – “to guard our health” and if the recognized experts are telling us to vaccinate, then we must do it.”

Der Yid Newspaper – Senseless! Heartless! Torah-less and Reckless

Hopefully everyone is getting that message and they aren’t listening to the very small minority of religious leaders who are against vaccines, even if they are quite vocal.

Gloria Copeland told her followers that they didn’t need flu vaccinations because Jesus already “redeemed us from the curse of the flu.”
Gloria Copeland told her followers that they didn’t need flu vaccinations because Jesus already “redeemed us from the curse of the flu.”

Because we know what happens when people do and they aren’t vaccinated and protected…

“Dr. Clymer was Director General of the Church from 1905 to his death in 1966. Following the footsteps of Dr. Wilder, in 1904, he authored his first text on this subject, Vaccination Brought Home to You. He further reiterated the Church’s tenet that immunizations are a form of spiritual blood pollution in The Book of Rosicrucaie, Volume II (1947) and the now out of print book, Age of Treason (1957).”

The Church of Illumination Tenet on Vaccination and Immunization

Are these really the religious leaders you want to listen to?

More on Vaccines and Religion

4 thoughts on “Who Are the Religious Leaders Who Are Against Vaccines?”

  1. I’d like to add some background information—I assume most of you know zero about the right-wing Orthodox communities in the US.

    Interestingly enough, Rav Shmuel’s own yeshiva (TYP=Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia) requires vaccinations. I have the impression that most of his 100-or-so grandchildren are vaccinated; the family that weren’t had their children kicked out of their schools last year. His views are strongly influenced by his wife who believes all modern medicine is a hoax and who reads all the quack literature. (They also do not believe in microwave ovens and pretty much anything that has ever had a health risk accusation.) In his 90s and barely slowing down, he apparently only goes to hospitals when his wife won’t notice. He certainly condemned in very strong and public terms the hysterical behavior of anti-vaxxers in Albany last year.

    There was a major mumps outbreak in 2009-10 that struck many NYC-area yeshivos, including his own. Modern medicine has only recently noticed that mumps vaccines are only good for about 10 years. (When I read a paper to that effect last year, and there was a mumps outbreak happening in my general area last year—in addition to the bigger measles outbreak—I got an MMR, as I have absolutely no idea of what I received as a child beyond smallpox and polio vaccines back in the 1960s.) The consequence of that outbreak and the apparent failure of vaccines to work means he feels fully justified for concluding vaccinations are a hoax.

    Also note the Hebrew date on the letter: Tishrei 29 5775 which was in October 2014. The letter specifically addresses the question of what to do when there is no outbreak happening. By date and content the letter has no bearing on 2019’s outbreak.

    Orthodox communities have a high 95% vaccination rate. The intensely strong community togetherness probably means that they need a higher vaccination rate to get herd immunity, so when 95% is seen to fail (as it did last year), Orthodox anti-vaxxers again get to jump to their ignorant conclusions that the mainstream doctors and scientists are lying.

    Rabbi Handler is a very loud nobody.

    Google “Doctor Richards gedolim letters”. He arranged for 100,000 24-page pamphlets on the very strong Orthodox support for vaccination, and sporadic weak objections) and all the major US Orthodox newspapers distributed them as inserts, and piles of them were left for pick up.

  2. I would really like to know why the Catholic Church continues to let this man (Fr. Copenhagen) to teach views that directly contradict the expressed teachings of the Church Hierarchy, with no restraint. I’ve written to his Bishop, my Bishop (when he testified in my state a few months ago in the legislature), and also his eparchy’s Judicial Vicar (kind of the Catholic equivalent to an Attorney General) to no response. It is infuriating. Particularly when I see my other Catholic friend regurgitating his BS on Facebook and passing it off as official Church teaching.

  3. Some Catholics, like myself, refuse all vaccines which were manufactured using aborted baby cell lines. By giving approval to vaccines which were developed using aborted baby cell lines, the Catholic Church gives approval to future use as well; and if only vaccine use, what about aborted baby parts for “saving” other lives? The Church will arrive at a very hideous and evil point. Thanks be to God for priests like Fr. Copenhagen and other Catholics who realize the wickedness of allowing aborted babies parts to become “useful” for society.

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