To challenge mandates, antivaxxers trust Boston theology student
Those who do not wish to be vaccinated do not need to invent religious excuses, as Cait Corrigan helps them to do. Rather, they can choose to learn, work, and recreate themselves in spaces where they won’t endanger the lives of others – or shoulder the light burden of regular testing. Corrigan and others who abuse the tenets of their religions must examine their own conscience.
In the meantime, I will continue to preach a gospel of social responsibility and caring for the vulnerable. I am grateful for the role of the Boston University School of Theology in teaching and equipping it to do so.
Reverend Lindsay Popperson
Chaplain, Sherrill House
What do they teach at the BU School of Theology?
A 24-year-old Boston University theology graduate student teaches others how to apply for a religious exemption from vaccination requirements. She says vaccines make the blood “unclean”. So, would she and her guardians refuse rabies vaccines if they were bitten by a coyote? Would they refuse to donate blood in the event of a serious injury or to refuse injections of novocaine at the dentist? And in the event that they do fall ill with COVID-19, would they refuse the antibody treatment (also detailed in a Globe article last Sunday) that many unvaccinated patients sought to prevent the deadly effects of the coronavirus?
What are they teaching their theology students over there at BU anyway – to ignore the claims of the churches? Increase the risk of injury and death for complete strangers? To encourage others to cheat on their employers? Are these actions those of Christians? Will the School of Theology ask this rigid young woman to answer questions about all of this?
Let’s go back to the Bible for a moment
What happened at the famous Boston University School of Theology?
In Cait Corrigan, the student who âworks outâ religious justifications for anti-vaccines, it appears we have a self-describing Christian who is unaware of the Bible.
Right from the start, in Genesis, after Cain kills his brother Abel, and God comes to ask him where Abel is, Cain vaguely pretends to be annoyed and bleats: âAm I my brother’s keeper?
God’s response, of course, thunders through the Bible to the last word of Revelation, building up stone by stone the very foundation of Western ethics and law. Not to mention Christianity.
William J. Eccleston
Providence du Nord, RI
One call, with a cost involved
Cait Corrigan reportedly said: âI am called to do this, to support people and to protect their right to bodily autonomy.
When you are called by God to do something, that does not include charging people $ 25, or any amount, to attend online training.
Hmm, that doesn’t sound very Buddhist to him
Kay Lazar’s article âReligion and Resistance: An Anti-Axis Crusadeâ stated that Cait Corrigan âdescribes her own faith as Christian, but strongly values ââBuddhist principles. Corrigan’s teachings appear to be at odds with the historically communal values ââof the Boston University School of Theology. His anti-vaccination stance also seems more rooted in American hyperindividualism than in Buddhist principles of interdependence. Perhaps, like Otto in the movie “A Fish Called Wanda”, she mistakenly believes that the central message of Buddhism is “Every man for himself”.
The writer is Associate Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies at Suffolk University and holds an MA in Divinity from Boston University’s School of Theology.
In the law on religious accommodation, rights and duties must be balanced
The Globe, in âReligion and Resistance: an Antivax Crusade,â does not provide the appropriate standard for assessing requests for religious accommodation in the employment context and unintentionally allows Antivax Crusaders to shape the debate. Title VII obliges employers to provide reasonable accommodation for sincere religious beliefs, but it also limits this obligation to the extent that any accommodation requested would place an undue burden on the employer. In short, rights and duties must be balanced.
The Cloutier v. Costco’s 2004 US Court of Appeals for First Circuit in Boston articulates this legal balance. At one point, the cashier’s rigid insistence on displaying exposed piercings on her face created an undue burden on her employer, who was entitled to her branding. To be sure, a safe and healthy workplace goes beyond the corporate image of importance and would tip the scales in favor of mandatory vaccines, regardless of the crusader’s âsincereâ belief.
Free mandates will fail when working remotely is convenient, but when onsite presence is required, leaving a âgenuineâ antivaxxer on site would be unduly tedious.
Christopher T. Vrountas
The author has been a lawyer for over 30 years in the field of employment practice and litigation and has argued a number of complaints of religious discrimination.
Medical exemptions, yes, but just say no to granting unjustified religious exemptions
Are you more Catholic than the Pope? Are you more religious than your rabbi or your imam?
Many thanks to the Globe Editorial Board (âCloser to You, But Not a COVID Vaccine,â September 21) for pointing out that there is basically no valid reason for a school or an employer grants religious exemption to COVID vaccine.
The values ââof faith, through a myriad of religions, call us to treat each other with respect and dignity and to love our neighbors as ourselves. There is no better way to honor these precepts right now than to get vaccinated.
Medical exemptions, if necessary – yes – but, for the sake of all mankind, it’s time to say no to unwarranted religious exemptions.
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action