The Religious & Moral Case For Not Getting A COVID-19 Vaccine Right Now

This is the first in my series of reasons not to take a COVID-19 vaccine right now. I’ll be specifically looking at the fact that the current lot of vaccines on offer or planned to be available in Australia, were made or tested using cells from aborted babies. Specifically, I’ll be delving into the religious, moral and ethical implications of this.

Anecdote

Firstly, I’d like to give an anecdote which you can feel free to skip. In 2019, I attended a Macquarie University Open Day. As we split into our various specifications that we planned to study, we listened and partook in various activities.

We looked at the issue of ethics through looking at a TED-Ed video, about the use of the cells of Henrietta Lacks. To summarise the video, these cells were unknowingly taken from her and then replicated and distributed throughout the scientific community and used in many ways, including in vaccines. I was absolutely appalled by this.

After watching the video, all of us prospective students were told to line ourselves up on whether we thought it was ethical or not. I was the furthest on the end of it absolutely being unacceptable. When I lots of people at the ethic end, I was so surprised that so many people believed this was ethical behaviour.

A couple of the student helpers and went around and asked us why we stood where we did. So, I explained that as a Christian, we understand how God created life, how humans are made in God’s image and we shouldn’t replicate human life unnaturally. The helper seemed a little surprised at my answer and then he explained that he too was a Christian but had never thought about it. Perhaps the issue of ‘Christians’ not understanding their own beliefs on these issues could be the topic for another blog post.

Anyway, from then on, I started to question what I thought. Up until then, I was staunch pro-vaccinator. I don’t mean that I’m not now but the term seems to now be synonymous with people that are pro every vaccine regardless of its qualities. So too did I think that everyone was nutty if they opposed vaccines. I knew the silly arguments about vaccines and autism and I knew how rubbish they were.

So, I was befuddled why anyone would oppose vaccines since they do so much good. But from then, I did some research and found that not only were these cells used in scientific research but cells were also used from murdered unborn children. I couldn’t believe it. Why wasn’t this talked about? I was about 17 years of age and this was scarcely mentioned. Society seemed fixated on Fair Trade chocolate and coffee, yet they didn’t care about people whose cells were used without their consent.

So, in August of 2020, when it was discovered that the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine used the cells of a murdered baby, I was saddened by not surprised. I was glad to see that the Sydney and Australian leaders of three large Christian denominations come out against the use of such a vaccine and I was glad to see the issue getting coverage. Yet now, the issue has fallen by the wayside in the vaccine debate. But alas, my anecdote is over and it is time to get into this debate.

Framing the Debate (Foetus vs Foetal Cells)

I’m not sure why I have to say this but the way the left-wing media frame this dictates that I properly define my terms. If you search something like “COVID-19 vaccines and aborted babies”, you’ll come across a “fact-check” site which says that a claim that aborted foetuses in COVID-19 vaccines is false. Let’s see what one website says, “Fetal cell lines are not the same as fetal tissue…. Fetal cell lines are cells that grow in a laboratory. They descend from cells taken from elective abortions in the 1970s and 1980s.”

So, it’s like saying they copied the cell but they aren’t the cells. It’s such a logically flawed distinction. These cells have the same DNA as the baby that was killed. And apparently because it’s ‘not really their cells’ (paraphrase), it’s somehow better. So, you took the cells of a murdered baby and then multiplied their cells without their consent, which they can’t obviously give because they’re both a baby and dead.

This false distinction is even more prevalent if I give an illustration. Say you photocopied a poster full of disgusting language multiple times and then posted them around your school. You’re pulled into the office and asked to explain yourself. You think that you’re safe because, “It’s not really swear words. Just copies”. It’s a ridiculous argument and this illustration doesn’t even go far enough because it doesn’t take into account the fact that the cells are of a human being and these cells aren’t mere photocopies of something but have the same DNA as the person they came from. I hope this clears something up before someone googles something to try and debunk me.

Vaccines That Are Or Will Be Available In Australia

So, let’s get to issues at hand and I’ll summarise the vaccines currently or soon to be available in Australia. I’ll start with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. This vaccine is an adenovirus-vector-based vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson or Janssen is also an adenovirus vaccine. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is an mRNA vaccine. Moderna is also an mRNA vaccine.

Almost of these vaccines use cells named “HEK 293”. These were allegedly taken from a baby girl who was either murdered (aborted) or miscarried in about 1972. Yet despite the wide use of her cells in the scientific community, not one person seems to present the exact origins of these cells. It’s unsurprising. Who would want to be identified as the person that began this travesty? Now, children, especially those murdered, are not products to be used and not given the proper respect of a name. So, from here on in, this girl will be known as Susan.

Another cell line used is called “PER.C6”. However, even less is known about the baby. All we know is that the mother chose for her baby to be killed. Since we don’t know the gender, I will call this baby Alex.

So, how were Susan and Alex used in the research, development and/or production of vaccines? I’ll explain how each of the vaccines involve them.

The AstraZeneca vaccine used Susan in all stages. To replicate COVID-19 for use in the vaccine, Susan was used for the virus to grow in. This means that for production to continue, Susan’s cells are continually used.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine used Susan in similar ways. They both used her for research and well as the development of the vaccine to ensure that the vaccine caused antibodies to work to fight COVID-19. During the testing stage of manufacturing, Moderna doesn’t use the cells of Susan but it isn’t clear if Pfizer does or doesn’t.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is very similar to the AstraZeneca. However, instead of Susan, they used Alex in all stages.

So, as we can see all of the companies are immorally using Susan and Alex to make their vaccines.

So Why Is It Immoral?

If you’re wondering as for why this is immoral, here’s why. Abortion is murder. I’m not here to make a full argument for that but I’ll summarise. It’s the taking of an innocent and defenceless human life. So therefore, anything that profits from that is wrong.

How is it wrong? Let’s give an illustration. Cocoa was often picked by children. As a result, many customers refused to buy the chocolate since it was picked using child labour. So the “Fair Trade” label was introduced to, among other things, show to consumers of chocolate that it was produced ethically. As we can see, people decided to purchase the ethically produced chocolate and not ones that were produced using child labour.

So, if abortion is wrong, then anything profiting from it is wrong. And this illustration doesn’t totally explain it, since you’re not actually having child labour in the product, it was just used to pick the cocoa; whereas, you’re actually having the cells of the murdered baby in the vaccine.

Even if you say that abortion is fine, a person’s cells were taken and reproduced without permission. This lack of consent is abhorrent and we’ve seen it before with the cells of Henrietta Lacks. If you’re a person that agrees that consent is important then this is something that you should object to.

The replication of the cells is also wrong. As a Christian, I know that God made us in His image. We are not to replicate life this way. It is not in His design. Human life is not meant to made in this way. We are not meant to have our cells replicated outside our body.

Biblical Principles To Understand

Biblical principles are key to understanding this issue. This is because the principles that God sets supremely judge something right or wrong. For the Christians reading this, it wouldn’t be a surprise to read that. We read in many places throughout the Bible the proclamation that life begins at conception; Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:5 and Luke 1:44 to name a few. From there we can show how abortion is murder. Next, is the issue of taking the vaccines made with murdered babies. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 show us that as Christians, we are temples of the Holy Spirit. So, we should not defile it with sin; including a vaccine formed from sin. I’ll now look at a key Biblical passage, 1 Corinthians 10:27-31, that gives us a key principle on how we should act and I’ll show it in full.

27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, ‘This has been offered in sacrifice,’ then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:27-31 NIVUK

A key issue of the time when Paul was writing to the Corinthians with inspiration from the Holy Spirit, was the eating of food offered to idols and then presented to be eaten at meals. Christians obvious know that there is only one God who is to be worshipped and idols are false and irrelevant; thus, eating the food isn’t wrong. But what is written in verse 28 shows how a decision is to be made, “But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience.” If we know that something is wrong, we shouldn’t partake in it but if we don’t, we aren’t held accountable for that decision made in a lack of knowledge.

We must be clear how this principle is applied. This principle is about knowledge and responsibility. The principle doesn’t extend to misinterpreting the rest of the passage and then saying that vaccines are akin to food offered to idols. Paul makes it clear in Chapter 8 of 1 Corinthians that eating the food offered to idols isn’t an issue of sin but of presenting yourself to fellow believers whose faith is not yet fully formed and to non-believers.

So, how do we apply the principle? Well, we know the vaccine is not like food which is offered to false gods since food is food and not inherently sinful despite who it was offered to but this vaccine is formed from sin, which means it is wrong regardless. As a result, since we know that these vaccines were made with murdered babies, it is wrong to take it.

Are These Tainted Vaccines The Only Option?

I’ll make this clear in case if it wasn’t already. Vaccines and medicine don’t require human cells, especially ones from murdered babies. There are plenty of other options including animal and plants (Novavax) and those vaccines which require no cells to be created either (Pfizer and Moderna). And for testing, you certainly don’t need it for testing either.

Most vaccines go through testing on animals first. There is no requirement for vaccines to be tested on aborted cells. However, because of the rushed nature of these vaccines, the animal testing was largely skipped. If this step was undertaken, there would be no need whatsoever for any cells from murdered babies to be used. A rushed and experimental vaccine? That’s another reason for another blog post.

Immoral? So What?

If you’ve read all that and thought, “Well, the baby is dead. So what? There’s nothing you can do, so use what they gave you.” That wouldn’t be a correct way to respond. Perhaps you have heard the terms “blood money” or “dirty money”. This is money tainted by the use of murder or other illegal activity.

In the Bible, Matthew 27:3-10 describes how the money that Judas received to betray Jesus was given back to the chief priests after he regrets his decision. They understand that this money isn’t acceptable to be put into the Temple Treasury because it is blood money for the execution of Jesus. So, they use it to purchase a potter’s field; a cemetery for foreigners (and now the term includes those who are unidentifiable).

People understand that money isn’t just money. An item isn’t just an item, it also includes how it got to be where it is. Think about this, would you take a million dollars from someone if they said they killed a person to get it? It’s a million dollars and you didn’t kill the person. But you would be an accessory to the crime. Once you know where something has come from, you must act with the knowledge that you now have, like I described in the Biblical Principles section.

You shouldn’t take the money. It was taken from a person who was murdered; there is both theft and murder. Not being directly involved in a crime doesn’t obscure you of responsibility. Once again, my illustration doesn’t go far enough because these vaccines aren’t like the murder. An objection may be raised, the murder was in the past and you can’t change it. But these vaccines actively propagate the cells of Susan and Alex. A person taking a vaccine who knows these things aren’t just accessories but active participants in this.

Logical Implications

I would like to say here that I’m not having a go at anyone who has taken the vaccine so far. I’m simply saying that with knowledge of this, there’d need to be a very compelling reason why this reason alone wasn’t enough to convince you of the immorality of taking one of these vaccines.

I get that some of you reading aren’t Christian and will simply weigh up the positives and negatives and just said that whatever you got out of it, keeping your job or whatever, was a good enough reason despite the immorality.

I’m saying that you shouldn’t look at things this way. The ends justifying the means is not logically good system of morality since there is no absolute standard of right and wrong but simply a result and that result has to be good because the end justifies the means. As we can see that is circular logic.

The ends justifying the means is circular

However, when we use solid morality set by God, we know whether something is right or not from the action and its intentions and not necessarily what occurs. It’s logical, there is a beginning and end. The action is right or wrong from the beginning and the means can’t be used to justify the result.

A logical step-by-step use of Biblical principles

Sometimes whatever the negatives are, the positives are irrelevant. The evangelist Ray Comfort often puts a question to people, “Would you sell one of your eyes for a million dollars?” Most people say no. You’d get a million dollars and you can still see with one eye, yet people still say no. That’s because intuitively you know some things are just wrong regardless of the advantages or situation. The same occurs here.

Using a murdered baby in a product is just wrong, regardless of what positives there are. And I don’t have enough strong words for these politicians who make these vaccines the goalpost for freedoms; if we ever get them back.

So that’s the moral case for not having a COVID-19 vaccine right now. I think it’s the most compelling one and that’s why it’s the first in the series. There’s more to come if this isn’t reason enough. But remember that you can always have your say and let me know what you think.

Sources (In order of use)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22lGbAVWhro

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-28/oxford-coronavirus-vaccine-ethical-religious-foetal-cell/12592800

https://www.nebraskamed.com/COVID/you-asked-we-answered-do-the-covid-19-vaccines-contain-aborted-fetal-cells

https://cogforlife.org/guidance/

https://cogforlife.org/per-c6-hek-293/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2608-y

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.08.280818v1.full.pdf

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/367/6483/1260.full

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2607-z

Various Bible Passages

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348470818_SARS-CoV-2_spike_glycoprotein_vaccine_candidate_NVX-CoV2373_immunogenicity_in_baboons_and_protection_in_mice

https://www.pfizer.com/news/hot-topics/the_facts_about_pfizer_and_biontech_s_covid_19_vaccine

https://www.modernatx.com/modernas-mrna-technology

6 thoughts on “The Religious & Moral Case For Not Getting A COVID-19 Vaccine Right Now

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