Tag: Torah

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

What Does the Torah Say About Vaccines?

Even though I grew up in Borough Park section of Brooklyn, this is probably the last article I ever thought I would be writing…

From the P.E.A.C.H. anti-vaccine magazine.

After all, what do I know about the Torah?

What Does the Torah Say About Vaccines?

Fortunately, it isn’t hard to find experts who have answered the question for us.

“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

There are many people in the Orthodox community warning the parents who aren’t vaccinating their kids that they are on “the wrong path.”

Their choice to skip or delay vaccines and put their kids at risk is not about religion

“There are halachic obligations to care for one’s own health as well as to take measures to prevent harm and illness to others, and Jewish law defers to the consensus of medical experts in determining and prescribing appropriate medical responses to illness and prevention. Therefore, the consensus of major poskim (halachic decisors) supports the vaccination of children to protect them from disease, to eradicate illness from the larger community through so-called herd immunity, and thus to protect others who may be vulnerable. The vaccination of children who can medically be vaccinated is absolutely the only responsible course of action.”

Statement on Vaccinations from the OU and Rabbinical Council of America

Again, Orthodox Jews are not against vaccines.

“Getting vaccinated according to recommended guidelines is not only vital for the health of both our community and the public-at-large, but it is also our halachic obligation.”

Rabbi Hyim Shafner

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are obviously necessary. For all of us.

More on What the Torah Say About Vaccines