Over 2,500 church leaders urge Australia’s PM not to mandate vaccine passports

A protestor displays an anti-vax placard during a 'Unite For Freedom' march against COVID-19 vaccinations and government lockdown restrictions, in Trafalgar Square, central London, England, on May 29, 2021.
A protestor displays an anti-vax placard during a 'Unite For Freedom' march against COVID-19 vaccinations and government lockdown restrictions, in Trafalgar Square, central London, England, on May 29, 2021. | BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

Nearly 2,500 church leaders from different denominations in Australia are urging Prime Minister Scott Morrison not to implement vaccine passports in the country, warning that it would create “an unethical two-tiered society” and “medical apartheid.”

The proposed introduction of “vaccine passports” into Australian society, is for many Christian leaders and Christians, “an untenable proposal that would inflict terrible consequences on our nation,” reads an open letter to Morrison, composed by three pastors from Baptist churches and signed by church leaders from across the country.

While the Australian prime minister supports the proposal for vaccine passports, the federal government hasn't implemented it, but it is allowing state governments and businesses to implement it if they choose to, The Epoch Times reported.

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Called The Ezekiel Declaration, the letter states that “the government risks creating an unethical two-tiered society,” explaining that “while some individuals will receive the vaccination with thanks, others may have good and informed reasons for declining. … Free citizens should have the right of consent, especially when the vaccine rollout has been labeled as a ‘clinical trial.’”

Following a series of lockdowns “to now requiring a proposed ‘vaccine passport’ in order to live a normal life, the government is putting immeasurable pressures on ordinary people,” it adds, noting that studies have found that lockdowns have resulted in the rise of people contemplating suicide.

It’s also a matter of people’s conscience, it continued. “The conscience is the immediate contact of God’s presence in a person’s soul, and so an individual forced to act in a way that is objectionable to their conscience will never be at peace, either before God or before the state.”

The church leaders further reason that “making vaccination the basis of participating in normal life would make no logical sense in terms of protecting others.”

They cite a CDC study that shows 74% of people infected in Massachusetts' COVID-19 outbreak were fully vaccinated and point out that four of those who were vaccinated were admitted to a hospital.

The letter adds: “We as Christian leaders find it untenable that we would be expected to refuse entry into our churches to a subgroup of society based on their medical choice. Only our precious Savior, Jesus Christ, has the authority to regulate the terms of corporate worship. These terms tell us that we are to make no distinction between those who call out in faith, neither on race nor medical choice. We are also under obligation to proclaim the gospel to all men.”

Responding to the letter, Martyn Iles, managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby, wrote on Facebook, “The vaccine itself is not a major concern of mine, but coercion is a very, very serious misstep.”

The latest analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that vaccines’ effectiveness at keeping people out of the hospital is between 75% and 95%, noting that immunity of older people, the most vulnerable group, could be weakening over time, the Times reported Tuesday.

Last month, officials in Israel said that of the country’s 650 new daily COVID-19 cases, more than half were among the fully vaccinated.

“This is a very clear warning sign for the rest of world,” Ran Balicer, chief innovation officer at Clalit Health Services, was quoted as saying at the time. “If it can happen here, it can probably happen everywhere.”

Researchers from Maccabi Healthcare and Tel Aviv University in Israel recently found that “natural immunity affords longer-lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease, and hospitalization due to the Delta variant.”

“This is the largest real-world observational study comparing natural immunity, gained through previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, to vaccine-induced immunity, afforded by the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine,” the researchers said.

Other studies have also shown that people who've already contracted the coronavirus will likely have lifetime immunity.

Separately, a Cleveland Clinic study found that vaccinating people with “natural immunity” did not increase their level of protection. 

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