We now know, months after the hectoring began, that the Christian Covid police were wrong. They were wrong on the science and they were wrong on the moral question.
Early in the history of Christianity a pattern emerged that continues to plague the church to this day. Like cicada hordes that emerge from the ground every 17 years, self-proclaimed Christians periodically descend upon the church, determined to lard up the gospel with burdensome extra-biblical obligations to the detriment of one and all.
In the earliest days of the church, this inclination exhibited itself most notoriously by the effort to obligate Christians not only to place their faith in Christ, but to have the foreskin of their penises cut off as well. These people, referred to as the "circumcision sect", decided that all these gentiles coming to Christ just weren't religiously up to scratch without a nip and a snip to their privates. At the time of this writing, it is unclear whether the proposed requirement of circumcision would have been binding on those who are men though identify as women. But one is haunted by the suspicion, in such a case, that both sides would have perceived the problem as running much deeper than the question of tidy genitalia.
If you think that this was some sort of academic dispute carried out with gentility, well, you would be wrong. The apostle Paul, with all of the authority attached to his office, expressed his wish that people who augmented the gospel in this way would not limit themselves to removing merely their foreskin. His hope was that they would go all the way and castrate themselves instead.
Historically, apostles took a very dim view of those doctrinal innovations that diminished, or made suspect, the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice on the cross.
More recently, 21st century Christians have been hectored and lectured, by their self-proclaimed betters, that Christians are obligated to receive the Covid vaccine because doing so constitutes an act of love toward their neighbors. If you Google the phrase love your neighbor alongside the word vaccine, you will find hundreds of thousands of articles on this subject. From Francis Collins, to Christianity Today, to the egregious David French, Christians have been the recipients of thousands of finger-wagging lectures regarding how their concerns about the vaccine were selfish.
We have been
accused assured that reluctance to being vaccinated reflected an essential lack of Christian love.
But for this to be true, it must be the case that being vaccinated reduces or eliminates one's ability to spread the disease to others. If the spread of the disease to others is not curtailed by the vaccination, then the choice of whether to get the vaccine is irrelevant to the question of loving my neighbor.
We now know, months after the hectoring began, that the
circumcision sect Christian Covid police were wrong. They were wrong on the science and, even worse, they were wrong on the moral question. Whether we get the vaccine is irrelevant to the well-being of our neighbor insofar as protecting our neighbor from Covid is concerned.
In the interest of full disclosure, I will offer that I am thrice vaccinated and have also had Covid. So my comments in this post have precisely zero to do with any personal fear of either the vaccine or, frankly, Covid itself. My comments revolve entirely around the vile and unconscionable practice of guilting people into receiving the vaccine by tarting up one's own preferred policy prescriptions as a spiritual and moral imperative.
The harsh truth is that the conflation of Christian love with vaccinations, by erstwhile Christian voices, had the very real effect of putting Christian virtue in service to the tyrannical impulse that is ever-present among those who love power. If we have learned nothing from the biblical teaching about the fall, surely we should have learned to perceive the sinful predisposition we all have to impose our will on others. The Christian Covid police put themselves in league with, and empowered, that very fallen inclination.
Pfizer executive Janine Small recently testified before the EU parliament that Pfizer had never tested the question of whether the vaccine affected transmissibility. Now, many have latched onto this as a smoking gun regarding some kind of legal or moral culpability on the part of Pfizer. I'm skeptical about that, to be honest. I think that there are understandable reasons why that testing may not have been done given the circumstances. I bring this up, though, because I think it reveals the bureaucrats and politicians, who pushed for mandatory vaccines, as particularly evil. It turns out that everyone inside knew that transmissibility was an open question even while they were arguing for mandatory inoculation. So they ran around telling us vaccines were critical for stopping the pandemic and that was never actually true. There are historical analogs for governments performing biological experiments on unwitting populations, and the comparisons are exceedingly unflattering to our current class of politicians and public health bureaucrats.
For a prudent and thoughtful analysis on the current state of our understanding regarding the Covid vaccines, I recommend this discussion.
The fact of the matter is that all of these supposed Christian thought leaders, who went galivanting around pointing their fingers at other (especially evangelical) Christians, accusing them of not loving their neighbors, owe everyone an abject apology. What I'm hearing from them right now, instead, is crickets. Until such apologies are forthcoming, the Christian Covid police should be considered untrustworthy - sinister in motive and intent.