Anti-vaccine religious broadcasters are wrong on some basic moral principles
In a separate article, we looked at factual errors reported by various Christian celebrities about vaccines. Let's move on from basic facts to basic principles. It is simply not a Biblical principle that it is immoral to benefit downstream from evil deeds. There is probably no more evil deed in history than the crucifixion of Jesus. He was the most perfectly innocent person in history and the least deserving of death by torture. And yet, we all benefit from that "hour of darkness."
On a less profound note: the White House was built by slave labor. Should we refuse to use it because it is tainted by slavery? How many rails, canals, and tunnels were built on the backs of slaves or the vicious exploitation of Chinese workers? How much technology is a spin-off of wars of conquest in the past? The American space program benefited greatly from Nazi research in developing rockets to rain death down on innocent civilians. A great deal of anatomical knowledge is descended from grave-robbers or comes from cruel executions or unjust wars.
The Biblical principle is not that we may not receive any benefits from the deeds of evil men; it is that we should personally refrain from evil and receive good things with gratitude, knowing that what others intend for evil, God can use for good. If a 90-year-old diabetic smoker refuses a vaccination and dies because their favorite religious broadcaster told them it was a dead baby vaccine, they do not bring back the child who was killed in 1973. They simply sacrifice another precious life. How is this pro-life?
Another highly problematic moral principle is that we should refuse to do something merely because the government orders us to do it. The Bible never teaches this. Quite to the contrary, the Biblical position is that we should obey government except when it commands us to disobey God. The Biblical world-view is not that of the rebel. Jesus says to carry the pack two miles when compelled to carry it one mile. This is a reference to the Roman law that required occupied peoples to carry packs for a mile for Roman soldiers.
Jesus is commanding over-obedience, even to an unjust dictatorial occupying power such as Rome. David, God's true anointed king, refused to rebel against a murderous, demon-possessed Saul and even repented for the mild act of rebellion of cutting off the corner of his robe. It is simply astonishing to me to see Christian thought leaders and celebrities promoting moral reasoning that is so at variance with basic Biblical principles.
Of course, there are meaty topics to debate over: how best to resist tyranny; how to balance risks from COVID versus risks from vaccines; how to know when medical research involving aborted children creates actual complicity (for example, purchasing abortion "harvested" tissue creating incentives to evil); what pharma companies stem cell use policies should be (a conversation that I have been actively and aggressively pressing upon Pharmaceutical companies (Christians invest in companies using stem cells in development)); how to balance freedom and responsibility; alternate treatments, etc.
Reasonable people of good faith must wrestle with these matters, but that won't even start until we leave behind the broken thought processes of too much of the Christian broadcast celebrity industry with its hype and fear and reactive rebelliousness.
It is clear by now that early pronouncements by public health authorities were both very confident and very wrong about many, many things: about the danger of COVID, about its origins, about the advisability of masks (which has undergone several reversals), about the length of the shutdowns and their effects, and about a great deal else. Starting with possible U.S. funding of research in Wuhan, then with the Chinese government's denials, on into the Chinese-manipulated WHO, and including Western public health administrative agencies and a compliant media, and hypocritical ruling class do-as-I-say-not-as-I-doers, all of these institutions have undergone a well-deserved catastrophic loss of credibility.
This means the world needs guides it can trust. It needs critical thinking and a willingness to follow the evidence where it leads, and it needs moral clarity. The Christian celebrity industry has offered none of that. It's time for the church to rise to the occasion, to at least try to grow into maturity and put aside childish things. A sober Christian witness to the health care sector, including the pharmaceutical industry, is needed now more than ever. Let’s not give them any easy excuses to write us off.
Jerry Bowyer is financial economist, president of Bowyer Research, and author of “The Maker Versus the Takers: What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics.”