In regard to ‘Christians Should be Vaccinated’
Before we begin, a note from Azalea:
Some of the most beautiful gifts given to us by God are the ability to reason, learn about the world he’s made, and communicate with one another. The other day, I reached out to Abigail regarding one of her articles in her column about Christian topics encouraging her fellow Christians to live biblically and get vaccinated.
As a fellow believer, I felt challenged to think biblically about what she had written and try my best to respond in a biblical and loving way because I didn’t necessarily agree.
As you’ll read below, we have some different thoughts about the topic.
However, we both acknowledge the importance of thoughtful and open discussion, and our point in sharing the emails sent between us on the topic is to encourage others not to shy away from dissent.
We live in a world where conversation has become somewhat of a taboo activity. Instead of talking out our disagreements and finding common ground, we are supposed to harbor fear and disdain, and we hide from and curse those who disagree with us.
I want to challenge you all to learn about the topics that you are passionate about, think critically and biblically about them, and never shy away from the chance to learn from one another. We all see the world through a different lens, but we are all made in the image of the same God.
As Abigail says it best, “I would encourage you to live boldly.”
Friday, Jan. 28, 2022 1:17 p.m.
I hope you don’t read the subject line and think, “Oh goodness, here we go…” because I am a fellow sister in Christ with just some differing thoughts and concerns, myself, that I was just hoping to add to the conversation with.
I, too, love addressing more controversial topics, especially with my faith as a background, so, even if I do disagree sometimes, I can really appreciate what it is that you are doing.
I would agree that vaccines are, in general, safe. One of the concerns I have always had with the COVID vaccine, is not whether or not it has gone through the necessary phases, but long term effects that we are not able to observe yet (just like smoking was once thought to be harmless until time passed, and the effects were seen).
While we are called to serve others, we are also called in Romans 12: 1-2, “…to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
I have not rejected the vaccine out of shear political opinion and selfishness like I feel your words have suggested, but through careful meditation and prayer.
It’s an especially difficult situation to be in because my job was threatened, and I prayed for the right words to write the religious exemption that was thankfully accepted. In my quest to figure out the right thing to do, too, I also discovered that all three COVID vaccines in production utilize a fetal stem cell line from 50 years ago.
The ND Department of Health has a document informing about the vaccines, and the very first bit of information reads, “In various stages of vaccine development and manufacturing, some of the COVID-19 vaccines used cells originally isolated from fetal tissue (often referred to as fetal cells), some of which were originally derived from an aborted fetus.”
And maybe you and I don’t agree on this either, but abortion is a massive concern to me in context of my faith.
My main point of writing this email to you is not to be critical or even change your mind, but it is to state my case that I don’t really think it is fair to tell a fellow Christian that they are morally obligated to receive a vaccine that may also be violating their other very valid Christian morals.
You are right in saying that we should not be consumed with the politics of this world because our Love for God and for one another is most important, but many of us Christians who have chosen not to be vaccinated have done so from our own biblical concerns.
Monday, Jan. 31, 2022 10:54 a.m.
To: Benjamin, Azalea
First off, I want to applaud you for reaching out to me. It can take courage to do. Criticism is important and you do bring up good points in your counter argument. I took a long time to think over and pray about what you have written.
I think the largest difference in perspective comes onto the topic of abortion. To be very clear, I do not support abortion at all. For more information on my take, I actually wrote about Christians and their abortion beliefs awhile back.
When it comes down to the vaccine, I still am vaccinated because there are people in my life like my grandfather, who had COPD among other health complications. If he got Covid he would quite literally die. Having nearly lost him before the pandemic even began I think the vaccine is still important.
Second, far be it for me to tell you what the Lord has prompted you in terms of vaccination. In fact, I think concerns over the use of fetal stem cells are relevant. However, other chrsitian scientists have spoken on this topic and do disagree with you. See this article.
I am not trying to tell you that you should be vaccinated. In fact, you were not necessarily my target audience for this particular article, though I am very glad that you read it. My article was far more directed at Christians who refuse to get vaccinated because of “their personal rights are being attacked”.
I have met many Christians in this group and I have family members who are in this belief system. I said as much in the article when I said, “Furthermore, prioritizing your ‘personal freedom’ over the health of your fellow Americans is the most un-American and un-biblical thing I have heard of so far.”
In fact I have even known other Chrisitans teaching others how to get religious exemptions not because of aborted stem cell concerns, which I again understand, but because of political concerns.
All this to say, if you have a religious exemption and are living in a way that aligns over God’s will in your life, I couldn’t be happier for you! I hope this response was able to address some of these concerns you had in regards to my article.
Your Sister In Christ,
Monday, Jan. 31, 2022 11:30 a.m.
To: Abigail Faulkner <email@example.com>
I really appreciate the time and thought you put into your response and into your articles. Again, I really do appreciate what it is you do in terms of writing in the perspective of Christianity. I wish more people (including myself) had the courage to do such a thing.
You’re absolutely right about needing courage to reach out to you, so I am very thankful that the Lord had it in your heart to receive my message well. I do tend to be more right-leaning on many topics in comparison to those I have encountered on campus and, while I am fairly outspoken, I often feel great discomfort and even fear when speaking about them.
I am also trying to become a variety contributor, too, so I was really hoping I wouldn’t upset you!
I would be lying if I pretended not to be relieved with your position on abortion (so yay!), and I have also read Christians commentating and not seeing as much as a problem as I personally do with the use of the cells in the vaccine (I have read the exact article that you sent me).
The primary argument is usually that these were from aborted fetuses over 50 years ago, and it’s okay to use the cell lines coming from them because they aren’t the original cells, and we aren’t using aborted fetuses in that way anymore.
I’m not going to pretend to know whether or not this is God’s turning of a great evil into a life-saving medical advancement or not, but I cannot say with certainty, either, that it is right to use those cells because of the evil way in which they were obtained.
As far as personal freedoms go, I do definitely see where you are coming from, but I do think it is important to understand where the idea of personal liberties came from, too.
The reason so many people have such gusto and protectiveness over them is because of how unique we are as a country; the first nation the recognize that God gave us equality and freedom amongst each other that none of us can take from one another.
I think some of the resistance from these Christians are the threatening of mandates and the actual removal of liberty created by corrupted men. This is where I really think Romans 12: 1-2 comes in. There are certain times when I do believe it can be necessary to oppose what the world may see as good and to not conform if there is reason in our hearts to believe it may not be the will of God.
While the fetal cell lines are my main concern, part of me does also share some of these concerns and believe them to be valid.
In any case, Abigail, I really, really, appreciate you talking with me. It is conversations like this that I long for in a world that gets so heated and offended when someone disagrees rather than taking a moment to try and appreciate the other side.
In the end, you want to protect your family and prayed and gave careful thought to your decision, and I did the same. I wish you the best in all your writing, your schoolwork, your family and your relationship with the Lord!
Your sister in Christ,
Monday, Jan. 31, 2022 11:40 a.m.
To: Benjamin, Azalea
If you ever wanted to write for opinion as well as variety, all you need to do is say the word. I do tend to be more moderate in terms of political affiliations, and I honestly wish I had someone whose work I could publish that would disagree with me as you did.
I completely agree with your sentiment that people should be more willing and open to having discussions like these. I would encourage you to live boldly. If you feel that the lord is pushing you to publish work about Christ like I do, then I would want you to know I am looking for writers for opinion and this may be a good opportunity for you.
Don’t let the lies of the enemy get in the way of what the Lord calls you to pursue. In fact, since I didn’t touch on the fetal cell argument in my column it could be a good opportunity for you to touch on it a debut piece. Something to keep in mind going forward.
Your sister in Christ,
Monday, Jan. 31, 2022 11:48 a.m.
To: Abigail Faulkner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I will keep your suggestion in mind : ) I think it would be awesome to write with you in the opinion section. I am about to get a bit busier, but let me take it to the Lord, and I will keep in touch.
Thank you for your kind and encouraging words; I really appreciate you.
Your sister in Christ,
A final message from the editor:
When I was contacted by Azalea about the contents of my article, I had mixed feelings. I knew very well that people were going to disagree with me, Christians included, so I immediately knew what the email was going to be about before I opened it.
However, criticism in any form is part of growing and developing. Azalea’s viewpoints do represent a large portion of the population. I do not speak for the entire population of Christians in the world, as I have said before on multiple occasions.
Therefore, I contacted Azalea about making this a formal letter to the editor and publishing our email exchange because I think that in a world that has become increasingly polarized, we are never going to reach a satisfying compromise. With her consent, we decided it was a good choice.
I am tired of the Twitter screaming matches, and I am not going to convince someone of my point of view by yelling at them or saying profane things. That is where I feel the true value of this exchange lies, not in the political argument but in the willingness of both sides to acknowledge the concerns of the other.
Though she and I agree to disagree, I would still encourage you all to be willing to have conversations with those who don’t live the lives you do, share the belief systems you do, and above all, be kind and considerate of others.
Finally, in terms of the content of the article, the only changes I made to the content of the emails were formatting, so it would better fit the medium of publication. The emails above are the genuine conversations we had via email over the last few days.