State Removes Religious Freedom
Updated: Jan 2, 2020
The Apostle Paul states that the goal of the New Testament Epistles is “love from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5)
“A good conscience.” That’s important. In fact, the Bible warns that if you “wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ” (1 Corinthians 8:12). The issue of conscience—and keeping it clean before God—is mentioned some 30 times in the New Testament. This is a big issue to God.
The Bible provides many examples of people who would not compromise their consciences. Just look at Daniel (who preserved his conscience upright before God at the risk of his own life by ignoring the law to stop praying), the three Hebrew Children (who similarly disregarded civil law and refused to bow down), and the Hebrew midwives (who also protected their conscience by breaking a direct law and not committing infanticide). Each refused to participate in actions that violated his or her deeply-held religious beliefs.
Accordingly, America’s Founders believe it was important to protect the individual rights of religious conscience. Thomas Jefferson explained, “It is inconsistent with the spirit of our laws and Constitution to force tender consciences.”[i] Constitution Framer James Madison agreed, affirming, “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort.…Conscience is the most sacred of all property.”[ii] And Constitution signer William Livingston similarly declared that “the consciences of men are not the objects of human legislation.”[iii]
Protecting the rights of religious conscience has been part of American public policy since our earliest days, but now many state leaders are trying to change this. One focal point for their efforts is vaccinations. For example, New Jersey has introduced legislation “to propose complete removal of religious exemptions to vaccinations, forcing parents to vaccinate their children against their will.”[iv]
But why would any parent refuse vaccinations that might save his or her child from disease? What objections could they have against such a noble goal? There are many, and several stem directly from the Biblical rights of conscience.
For example, some parents oppose particular vaccinations because they have active ingredients made with what is called “human debris”—that is, with aborted baby parts.[v] (This includes some vaccines for chickenpox, rubella, hepatitis A, shingles, and rabies.[vi])
Other object to vaccines for STDs (sexually-transmitted diseases), such as for HPV. HPV can be contracted only by disobeying what the Bible says about sexual purity, and parents who raise their children according to Bible teachings object to their children being forced to have vaccinations for sexual impurity. Some parents view this as a direct violation of the Biblical command to avoid all sexual relations outside of marriage (1 Corinthians 6:18).[vii]
Because these parents view their own bodies and those of their children “as the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19), they do not want it contaminated with aborted baby parts or active ingredients from sexually-transmitted diseases. So many parental healthcare decisions regarding their minor children are not just matters of individual preference but of genuine spiritual conviction.
Don’t be hoodwinked by arguments that criminalize human conscience. Any law that excludes protection for the rights of religious conscience will be problematic, being both anti-constitutional and anti-Biblical.
“Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.” (Hebrews 13:18)
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[ii] James Madison, The Writings of James Madison, Gaillard Hunt, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1906), Vol. VI, p. 102, “Property,” from the National Gazette, March 29, 1792.
[vi] Collin Binkley, “Scientists Say Fetal Tissue Remains Essential for Vaccines and Developing Treatments,” Public Broadcasting Service (August 11, 2015), here; Bo Ma, et al., “Characteristics and viral propagation properties of a new human diploid cell line, walvax-2, and its suitability as a candidate cell substrate for vaccine production,” Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics (April 2015), here; “Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary,” Center for Disease Control and Prevention (October 2018), here