Kudos to Christianity Today for their May 2015 cover story, “Why Christians of All People Should Get Their Vaccines” by Matthew Loftus (the link only gives you a preview at this point unless you’re a subscriber).
The article makes a number of important points.
Scientific research (including that sponsored by the CDC) continues to repeatedly refute the study that suggested a link between autism and vaccination.
More generally, the risks entailed in getting a vaccine are less than the risks associated with failing to be vaccinated.
What does this have to do with being a Christian?
Vaccines are not just about personal health. They are about public health. Susceptible persons can bring a disease into a community and spread it to other susceptible persons.
In any given population, there will not be a 100% vaccination rate. Some people, particularly those of lower socio-economic standing, will not have had access to basic medical care. If everyone around them is immunized, there is a level of “herd immunity” that lowers the risks for those who are untreated. If people start making choices not to vaccinate, disease rates can skyrocket.
Vaccinating is a way to love our neighbor as ourselves.
I see Christians’ reluctance to vaccinate as potentially feeding off of a larger narrative.
Some Evangelical Christians, in particular, have created a strangely antagonistic posture toward science over the past several generations. That tribal posture we talked about a couple days ago has kicked in here: evolution arrived as the marker of “their tribe” versus “ours.”
We need to be careful with our self-definitions–including what marks who we are not.
To be “not them” can mean claiming that they are skewing the evidence about global warming, that they are trying to seduce us with lies in their summons to vaccinate our kids.
This has the power to make us bad neighbors.
Our “tribe” is the just and the unjust alike. And to be like our Father in Heaven is to care for the just and the unjust by bestowing life-giving blessings.
This probably includes vaccines.
Good job taking this stand, CT.
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