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Filing a Religious Exemption Ethically

post #1 of 70
Thread Starter 
As most of you are aware, 48 states in the U.S. allow parents to file a religious exemption to opt out of vaccines. There have been some insinuations, here and elsewhere, that parents are lying when they file for a religious exemption. So I thought we should debate what constitutes an ethical religious exemption. I argue that nobody should lie. Parents wishing to opt out of one or more vaccines should look into other alternatives to blatantly lying--homeschooling, (if possible), moving, working to change state laws, etc.

That said, while U.S. state statutes will obviously vary in their wording, overall there is, both fundamentally and legally, a really broad definition of "religious."

So when do you think it's ethical--or not--to file a religious exemption?
post #2 of 70

I was going to start a similar thread.  Glad you beat me to it!

 

I will post more later, but for now a quote:

 

If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.

 
I would have little difficulty lying over an unjust law when the stakes are as high as my children's health.
That being said, and as you pointed out, I bet most people are not lying when they sign their exemptions.  The guidelines for religious exemptions are pretty broad.
 
 
 
 
post #3 of 70

What do you guys think about this response? 

 

"First, states could adopt a narrow religious exemption that requires a show of sincerity and enforce it strictly, following New York’s example.  There are two other problems with this approach. First, policing sincerity is very, very close to policing religious beliefs. The reason courts put obstacles on policing religious  beliefs is because courts are uncomfortable – correctly, in my view – to allow state officials to play conscience police. It’s not the state’s business whether your beliefs deserve protection, whether they are good enough to count as religious beliefs. 

 

Second, states could only offer medical exemptions. This is supported by Skeptical Raptor, and also, for example, by Dr. Paul Offit. This would have the advantage of protecting the largest number of children and reducing the rate of exemptions. This is, however, a very strong intrusion into parental rights. It will also force parents who truly believe vaccines are toxic to either somehow present a false medical exemption or homeschool. This may negatively affect the career prospect of such parents and their income, not necessarily a good thing for the children. It may also deprive the children from public schooling. 

 

Or third, states could get rid of religious exemptions and offer only a personal choice exemption. The risk, of course, is that this will lead to high rates of exemptions, with children left vulnerable to disease and potentially a risk of outbreak. One way to handle that is by making personal choice exemptions hard to get – by imposing educational requirements (as proposed by Professor Ross Silverman and implemented by several states, including Oregon, Washington and California), and requiring an annual renewal. But a personal belief exemption would still probably lead to more exemptions than a medical exemption only situation. 

My personal tendency is towards option 3. But I admit I am still conflicted and unsure about that." 

 

Guess who wrote this a week ago? Dorit Reiss.  Yes, this was written by the evil pharma shill Dorit Reiss, on skeptical raptor's blog as a guest post.  

 

http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/religious-exemptions-vaccination-abuse-reform/

post #4 of 70

I agree entirely, especially about thinking personal choice exemptions are probably the least-bad choice but not feeling completely comfortable with them either.

 

I do not like religious exemptions in general (and I am a religious person myself), and that is not limited to vaccines.  If a rule is worth having, it is worth having regardless.

post #5 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by teacozy View Post
 

What do you guys think about this response? 

 

 

Or third, states could get rid of religious exemptions and offer only a personal choice exemption. The risk, of course, is that this will lead to high rates of exemptions, with children left vulnerable to disease and potentially a risk of outbreak. One way to handle that is by making personal choice exemptions hard to get – by imposing educational requirements (as proposed by Professor Ross Silverman and implemented by several states, including Oregon, Washington and California), and requiring an annual renewal. But a personal belief exemption would still probably lead to more exemptions than a medical exemption only situation. 

My personal tendency is towards option 3. But I admit I am still conflicted and unsure about that." 

 

Guess who wrote this a week ago? Dorit Reiss.  Yes, this was written by the evil pharma shill Dorit Reiss, on skeptical raptor's blog as a guest post.  

 

http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/religious-exemptions-vaccination-abuse-reform/

I think having exemptions is nonsense.  It implies vaccination is the default and parents need "permission" not to vaccinate. Ugh.

 

 I think there are numerous places with better child mortality than the USA where exemptions do not exist or are easy to obtain…and the sky has not fallen in.  Even in the USA, the two state with the most difficult exemption probably have poor score-cards with regards to child health - WV and Mississippi.  I think parental empowerment (aka informed consent) around health issues leads to better health outcomes for children.  

 

People have the right to not vaccinate and people have the right to use public schools.  

 

I, personally, have no issues with a voluntary registry and would probably use it if my country of origin was reasonable about such things (as they typically are).  

 

If we are to have exemptions, philosophical exemptions are the least objectionable.

 

I have no desire to judge other people religious convictions or to put religious reasons on a higher plane than philosophical objections.   


Edited by kathymuggle - 2/23/14 at 10:19am
post #6 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
 

People have the right to not vaccinate and people have the right to use public schools. 

 

As a general statement, the exercise of rights can be in conflict.

 

I have the right to sleep until 10am (I work a lot of late nights).  But if we don't leave the house by 7:15am, my kid won't be in her desk when the bell rings, and she'll be marked tardy, and f she gets enough tardies she'll be truant, and I'll have to go to court.  So if I want my kid to go to public school, which is her legal right, I can't sleep until 10am, which is my legal right.

 

(No, vaxing is not the same as sleeping in.  I know that.  But it's the same principle -- not all rights can be exercised simultaneously.)


Edited by chickabiddy - 2/23/14 at 11:21am
post #7 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post
 

 

As a general statement, the exercise of rights can be in conflict.

 

I have the right to sleep until 10am (I work a lot of late nights).  But if we don't leave the house by 7:15am, my kid won't be in her desk when the bell rings, and she'll be marked tardy, and f she gets enough tardies she'll be truant, and I'll have to go to court.  So if I want my kid to go to public school, which is her legal right, I can't sleep until 10am, which is my legal right.

 

(No, vaxing is not the same as sleeping in.  I know that.  But it's the same principle -- not all rights can be exercised simultaneously.)

 

I agree.  Public schools have rules that parents/kids are required to follow.  Dress codes are one example.  You couldn't argue that just because you have a right to dress your child however you want and your child has a right to public school that you don't have to follow those rules.  

 

As chickabiddy said, dress codes are not the same thing as vaccinations, but the principle is the same.  Right to public school does not mean that there can't be any rules or regulations for attending. 

post #8 of 70

Dress codes and sleeping in do not have health risks. Personally if I had no choice, I would lie. Or I would join an "acceptable" religion.  

post #9 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post
 

Dress codes and sleeping in do not have health risks. Personally if I had no choice, I would lie. Or I would join an "acceptable" religion.  

 

Again, it's the principle. 

 

Actually, lack of sleep *does* have health risks.  It increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease among other things.  

 

"Yes, lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

 

Long-term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease." 

 

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757

post #10 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by teacozy View Post
 

 

Again, it's the principle. 

 

Actually, lack of sleep *does* have health risks.  It increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease among other things.  

 

"Yes, lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

 

Long-term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease." 

 

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757

I thought the first thread specified "sleeping in", not lack of sleep. Regardless no matter how you stretch it, ones sleep habits does not compare to an invasive medical procedure.

post #11 of 70

I would prefer to sleep in because I often work late at night.  Getting up to get my kid to school does often result in a lack of sleep.  Not that it really matters, because my point is not whether I should have four or seven or nine hours of sleep, but that schools imposing rules does not necessarily infringe on the right to free public education.

 

What if people who choose not to vaccinate automatically qualify for homebound tutoring, just like kids who can't attend school for medical reasons.  That's an in-home tutor for several hours a week.  It does, as far as I know, meet the requirements for a free public education.

post #12 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post
 

I would prefer to sleep in because I often work late at night.  Getting up to get my kid to school does often result in a lack of sleep.  Not that it really matters, because my point is not whether I should have four or seven or nine hours of sleep, but that schools imposing rules does not necessarily infringe on the right to free public education.

 

What if people who choose not to vaccinate automatically qualify for homebound tutoring, just like kids who can't attend school for medical reasons.  That's an in-home tutor for several hours a week.  It does, as far as I know, meet the requirements for a free public education.

 

No.


Taxpayers pay taxes not just for educational instruction in academics, but also for school sports, cheerleading, dance, music, theatre, debate, art, newspaper, and other clubs. Shutting a student out from those opportunities because they or their parents do not agree with a government's decision to mandate an invasive medical procedure for healthy individuals is wrong.

"Separate but equal" has already been shown to be wrong for a free society.

post #13 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
 

I think having exemptions is nonsense.  It implies vaccination is the default and parents need "permission" not to vaccinate. Ugh.

 

 

That. Mandatory vaccination for school attendance to begin with is totally out of line. I didn't grow up with that kind of thinking/laws and I cannot accept it. I do always find it very, very ironic that the USA tout themselves as the land of the free yet it has some of the most oppressive laws I have experienced since the downfall of the Iron Curtain when I used to live on the wrong side. I wonder if it has to do with the never ending hysteria about everything perpetuated senselessly by the media? E.g. the news: instead of talking about the Ukraine and other pressing issues it's about the local <enter disease du jour> outbreak, the weather, trends, Hollywood, never ending fights about internal issues (Dem vs Rep, prolife vs. prochoice, pick an issue). I have never seen a people that polarized before. I've never seen people THAT rabid about mandatory vaccines and evil vaccine questioners. I have never seen such a pitchfork and torches inducing rhetoric. It's all black and white, no shades of grey permissible. And I don't think it's the people. It's the media and decision makers behind that agenda - it sells, and many groups want the hatred for the questioners to further erode rights until everyone is fully vaccinated without choice.

post #14 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post

 

(No, vaxing is not the same as sleeping in.  I know that.  But it's the same principle -- not all rights can be exercised simultaneously.)

Sure. You cannot sleep in and simultaneously be on time.   However, the right to go to school and the right to make vaccination decisions for your child obviously can be exercised simultaneously.  

post #15 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
 

However, the right to go to school and the right to make vaccination decisions for your child obviously can be exercised simultaneously.  

 

However, the right to go to school and the right to make clothing decisions for your child obviously can be exercised simultaneously.

 

Therefore, dress code rules are a violation of parental rights. 

post #16 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by teacozy View Post
 

 

However, the right to go to school and the right to make clothing decisions for your child obviously can be exercised simultaneously.

 

Therefore, dress code rules are a violation of parental rights. 

 

 

That's ridiculous.


Dress codes are not invasive procedures, and do not carry risks.

post #17 of 70

I do think it's unethical to file for a religious exemption for a religion that you don't subscribe to. However, I also don't think vaccines should be mandatory for public schools. 

post #18 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
 

I was going to start a similar thread.  Glad you beat me to it!

 

I will post more later, but for now a quote:

 

If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.

 
I would have little difficulty lying over an unjust law when the stakes are as high as my children's health.
That being said, and as you pointed out, I bet most people are not lying when they sign their exemptions.  The guidelines for religious exemptions are pretty broad.
 
 
 
 


I agree. And I find it laughable to compare vaccines to sleeping in or dress codes.

post #19 of 70

"So when do you think it's ethical...to file a religious exemption?"

 

When it's the only way to keep vaccines out of my children's bodies.

post #20 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlec View Post
 


I agree. And I find it laughable to compare vaccines to sleeping in or dress codes.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taximom5 View Post
 

 

 

That's ridiculous.


Dress codes are not invasive procedures, and do not carry risks.

 

IMO-it's preposterous to have professors, vaccination profiteers, proponents or their devotes weighting the fate of sincerity, lumping in risk and equating it to the same as crossing a street, wearing a seatbelt, etc or liking legal choice to being the same as sleep or a dress code - they are not in any way comparable! 

 

You do not sign a waver exempting your from suing to cross a street or the manufacture of a device like a car seat, etc., and one only has to look at reality to see how many law suites schools incur. Having an invasive procedure like a vaccine does not allow you to go after who administrated it or the manufacture.

 

To "test" sincerity, I am under the impression your higher being/power can arrive at any moment and "speak to you", so those who advocate should in return be tested for their sincerity to judge another, those who can cast the first stone need apply!  

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post
 

"So when do you think it's ethical...to file a religious exemption?"

 

When it's the only way to keep vaccines out of my children's bodies.

:yeah:clap:thumb

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