Rabbi and pastor discuss religious exemption from vaccine
RALEIGH, NC – More employers and organizations are implementing COVID-19 vaccination requirements, raising the subject of medical and religious exemptions. But what is a religious exemption and what do religious leaders have to say about it?
What would you like to know
- Religious exemption from vaccine implies “sincere religious belief”
- A common reason for this exemption is when fetal cells are used to research, test or produce vaccines.
- Raleigh rabbi and pastor agree benefits of vaccines outweigh other concerns
The Government of the United States says that a âsincere religious beliefâ qualifies for a religious exemption, but that ultimately depends on your own personal beliefs. A common reason for a religious exemption is when fetal cells are used in research, testing or production of vaccines.
While everyone’s views are different, a rabbi and pastor in Raleigh agree that the benefits of vaccines outweigh other concerns.
âWe don’t really see a religious exemption for the vaccine. We see a religious obligation, âsaid Pastor Greg Moore of Edenton Street United Methodist Church.
Moore says the COVID-19 vaccine has sparked new conversations in his church. âWe’re a big congregation, and therefore, we have people who are of course all over the map on any given issue and vaccines are just like any other issue,â Moore said.
Rabbi Eric Solomon has heard similar sentiments from members of the Beth Meyer Synagogue.
âI would say that in our own congregation, there were no official exemptions, strictly speaking. They are just anecdotal. People let me know or ask for my opinion. Some of these people chose not to come to public services or events out of respect, âSolomon said.
When it comes to religious exemptions, do their teachings or their sacred texts offer reasons not to be vaccinated, especially with regard to the scientific use of fetal cells?
“Will access to this science make people do harm in the future?” However, you want to define âdoing harmâ. The answer for us is no. Having access to these stem cells is actually going to protect us and help us do no harm, do good, and be able to keep God’s ordinances, âsaid Moore.
Solomon said choosing life is the highest commitment for Jews, and in Judaism life begins outside the womb.
âWhile this shouldn’t be taken lightly, we don’t have a problem with the fetal cells. In fact, we see it as an opportunity to extend life, âSolomon said.
A common thread running through many religions is caring for others. âLove your neighbor, this mitzvah or commandment means that I have to worry not only for my health but also for my effect on others. This is what this crisis has really brought to the heart spiritually. Not just what is happening to me, but what is my obligation to others in society, âSolomon said. “Those who are not vaccinated, as far as I’m concerned, certainly potentially commit the sin of hurting themselves, but they certainly potentially commit the sin of hurting others.”
âA religious exemption appears to be a great performance in individualism as opposed to participation in the community,â Moore said.
According to Moore, the concept of being a part of something bigger than yourself can shed light on what really exempts someone from getting the vaccine. âRather than thinking about what the religious exemption might allow me not to do,â said Moore, âI would like people of all faiths who are charged with caring for their neighbor, to ask themselves what religious obligation is. they called to do?
As for the use of fetal cell lines in vaccines, according to the North Dakota Department of Health, they were developed decades ago in a laboratory and used to develop and test the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
As for Johnson & Johnson, fetal cell lines have been used in the production of this vaccine. However, the vaccines themselves do not contain any fetal cells.
âA vaccine with more than 90% effectiveness is a modern day miracle. Sometimes we find it difficult to trust new miracles because we have already been disappointed. But now we have a safe, effective, and life-saving miracle in our hands. Anyone who refuses to be vaccinated chooses stubbornness over life and chooses a longer pandemic for everyone, âsaid Pastor Daniel Pugh of Christ the King Cary.
The following statement is available on the Diocese of Raleigh website, Bishop Luis believes that obtaining any available COVID-19 vaccine should be seen as an act of charity as, together, we seek to help end the pandemic, protect our vulnerable neighbors and maintain our healthy communities. He calls on worshipers in eastern North Carolina to continue taking action to protect their health and that of their neighbors, including getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as they are eligible. “