LEADERS SPEAK OUT
After much silence during the continued six month COVID-19 saga, religious leaders are finally beginning to add input to the conversation, particularly surrounding the questions of vaccination.
Three of Australia’s most senior archbishops have recently written to Scott Morrison to raise concerns about the vaccine being developed at Oxford University, which they said made use of “a cell line cultured from an electively aborted human foetus”.
Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies and Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Australia Makarios Griniezakis, raised concerns about the deal with AstraZeneca that would ensure Australians would be among the first in the world to receive the Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine.
The letter had three demands of the government: that the Oxford vaccine not be made mandatory, that people who decline it for religious beliefs not be punished and that the government ensure a different “ethically uncontroversial” vaccine also be made available.
The letter from the religious leaders said some Australians may be concerned “not to benefit in any way from the death of the little girl whose cells were taken and cultivated, nor to be trivialising that death, and not to be encouraging the fetal tissue industry.”.
The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils also signalled its “profound concern” over the use of foetal tissue in vaccine development. President Rateb Jneid urged Morrison to reconsider accessing such vaccines, but instead to invest into Australian research into ethical alternatives.
Vaccines in Australia use the human diploid cell lines, which are originally derived from human foetal tissue. Several licensed vaccines have been manufactured using this ingredient, including vaccines against rubella, hepatitis A, varicella (chickenpox) and rabies.
The vaccine being developed by Oxford University has similarly been developed from a kidney cell line (HEK-293) taken from an aborted foetus.
It is about time we have started to hear from religious leaders on this issue, as these institutions remain some of the best chances the public has of ensuring a COVID-19 vaccine remains optional.
THE POWER OF RELIGION
Whether you are a fan or religious institutions or not, it is important to understand that the fundamental concepts religious freedoms were based on — and the protections that come along with them — are very much needed as Australia continue through this unprecedented period.
With Morrison recently proclaiming he wants 95% of Australians to take a future COVID-19 vaccine, this will raise significant issues of freedom of religion.
For example, there is no recognised right to objection to vaccinations under Australian law. Therefore, any person who is not willing to be vaccinated cannot merely argue an ‘objection’ to it.
A religious body, however, may be able to argue a federal compulsory vaccination policy interferes with the freedom of religion protections under the Australian constitution.
The starting point in any discussion about religious freedom in Australia is Section 116 of the Australian Constitution:
“The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.”
It should be noted that these prohibitions apply only to the Commonwealth, and not to the States. The Constitution contains no direct protection from State laws which may restrict religious freedom.
However, challenges could be made to any compulsory state COVID-19 vaccination policy under various human rights charters, especially in Victoria, Queensland and the ACT. These aim to protect rights such as freedom of expression, thought, conscience, religion and belief.
Let’s not forget: One religious group did successfully claim an exemption to mandatory childhood immunisations in 2015 — the Christian Scientists.
As a result, ‘conscientious objection’ exemptions were removed in 2016. Despite this, it does provide an example of how religious organisations can influence the law.
Jews and Muslims also object to vaccines that contain pork products, for example. In 2018, Indonesia’s top Islamic body issued a fatwa, declaring that the rubella-measles vaccine was religiously prohibited (haram) because it contained “traces of pork and human cells”.
Indeed, religious institutions wield massive power and must use it for good during these times.
Senior religious figures in North America are currently raising similar ethical concerns across the continent, scientific research publication ScienceMag reported. Australian leaders must follow.
The input of religious organisations and leaders must not stop here. Writing concerned letters is just the beginning step. A very complex legal period approaches, in which everyone will be needed.
MUCH MORE IS NEEDED
Concerns about the ingredients of vaccinations is an important avenue to take, as many are unaware of some of the concoctions that are used during vaccine manufacturing processes.
Even the Archbishop of Sydney is backtracking his comments by reassuring he will support an ethical alternative vaccine. He must be one.
However, it also seems as if religious leaders are overlooking another key element that was raised in their letter to the PM: Compulsory measures against the will of the people.
In a post to his Facebook fans, head of the Australian Christian Lobby — Martyn Illes — said that he was ‘assured by the government’ the vaccine will not be made mandatory. He used this opportunity to dismiss fears of his religious followers. This is a deception leaders must snap out of.
Although not ‘compulsory’, we are about to enter an era of mass vaccine coercion, in which all resources will be exhausted to ensure those who oppose have little options to choose from.
Mass coercion is no different to compulsory requirements in practice, yet religious leaders seem to be ignorant to the implications that punitive vaccine measures will have on society.
Australians are likely to face having their welfare payments withheld if they refuse to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has warned.
Small business groups are also calling for workplaces to sack employees who refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination when one becomes available in Australia.
The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia has issued a proposal that includes a call to expand ‘No Jab, No Job’ restrictions beyond ‘high-risk workplaces’.
The enduring appeal of fascism is that it requires so little from people. So little independent thought, just their basic belief and adherence to a limited set of popularly-shared directives and narratives.
Continual propaganda is there to reassure society that they are complete, that they know all that is important to know and that the establishment is rational, pragmatic and moral. The science has been settled and we are all a part of something noble by following directives.
Propaganda is, of course, the life-blood of authoritarian control. Religious leaders must become aware of the full story now and not fall into the trap of establishment propaganda.
To move forward, it’s important the public works with religious leaders — not against them — to ensure Australia is equipped with a full arsenal of defence when a COVID-19 vaccine comes out.
This includes making them aware of the full dangers of this push. This also allows them to be called out with no excuses if they continue their inactivity on the subject.
Organisations must reclaim a dominant position over the modern scientific religious cult.
AFIC concerned about the use of aborted foetus tissue in vaccines | Australian Federation of Islamic Councils
Federal Protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief | Parliament of Australia
Mass vaccine coercion is coming to Australia | TOTT News
Calls for businesses to sack vaccine objectors | TOTT News
Huxley and the Epsilon Agenda | TOTT News
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