We have all heard about anti-vaxxers and their arguments against vaccines and their right to refuse vaccinations. For the most part, it has become public policy of government to be tolerant of their decision not to be part of the general practice to protect the population. But ever since quarantine restrictions were eased, the anti-vaxxers have caused business owners, malls and employees a lot of headaches, given their insistence or defiance to comply with guidelines imposed by the IATF. A particular point of irritation is when employees ask for proof of vaccination or vaxx card.
Like roosters raising their hackles for a fight, the anti-vaxxers shift from nice to defiant and start claiming to have rights not to be vaccinated and declaring that the vaxx card requirement is discriminatory. That may all seem well and good for these bunch of people who think they are special, but what about the lowly employee or the business owner who is simply complying with the orders of the IATF? If the business establishment violates rules such as to require vaxx cards before entry, wearing of face masks, etc., they not only get shut down, they get fined a hefty sum of money at a time when they barely make enough to cover salaries, utilities and rent!
Many of us are surely shaking our heads in disbelief that some people can actually fall for the stupid conspiracy theories about Bill Gates and his circle of friends wanting to depopulate countries in order to better spread and utilize natural resources. Any true Capitalist wants more people because that means more customers.
I, on the other hand, have recently learned how anti-vaxxers are even affecting churches of different faiths as well as their relationship with other members, church workers and elders or priests. I was told that anti-vaxxers who refuse to submit or obey government mandate on vaccinations are demanding that their right to worship be recognized and that they be allowed to enter churches without being required to have, and show, a vaxx card.
Some groups even have employees who continue to refuse to be vaccinated, insist on reporting for work and protest loudly that they are being discriminated against when told to get vaccinated or else not to report for work without an RT-PCR test.
Several churches have taken the matter to their respective city halls as well as several mayors or vice mayors to get guidance or directions in black & white. But just like Pontius Pilate, many mayors have washed their hands of these decisions by pointing to the faceless-nameless IATF as the ultimate authority regarding the requirement for vaxx cards. I find this action of mayors and LGU officials as the ultimate in hypocrisy.
Some mayors don’t want to upset their voters and constituents in an election year, so they refuse to take a stand on the non-entry of non-vaccinated people in enclosed spaces or business establishments, but they have no problem shamelessly using the quarantine classifications and IATF resolutions as well as their power as LGU officials to close down traditional cockpits so they can receive as much as P10 million a month from operators of E-Sabong or online sabong!!!
What complicates the matter is that some anti-vaxxers are fully convinced that the IATF does not have a legal leg or law to stand on, while the Department of Labor and Employment has time and again passed the buck to employers while warning them that it would be illegal to terminate anti-vaxxers until such a law or mandate is passed for MANDATORY vaccination of all Filipinos. In the end, the problem once again falls on the lap of church leaders, parish priests and pastors.
This is such a tragedy, given the fact that as far as churches go and its believers or parishioners are concerned, the general presumption is that “we” voluntarily submit to both authority and leadership generally, but especially when it is for our good and well-being. While we individually have rights, there is also the matter of responsibility and accountability. The church-going anti-vaxxer wants to worship but in disobedience if not defiance of the guidelines of government, which is the higher authority.
Church officials, priests and pastors respect and encourage everyone to go to church and worship, but as head of their church these leaders are duty bound and bound by law to obey the legal authority of both local and national officials. If these churches and leaders were to ignore the direction or legal orders of local and state officials, they not only violate the laws of men but they also disobey the law of God, which is to respect and obey our leaders in civil government.
At this point, the anti-vaxxers not only commit an act of civil and spiritual disobedience, they are being a stumbling block for their own church leaders or priests who might “sin” in trying to bend the rules, make an exemption or violate public health and safety protocols. While it may be expected of LGU officials to avoid or make “Iwas Pusoy” on such a ticklish matter, the same cannot apply to church leaders and priests who are accountable to civilian government as well as to GOD!
Aside from being stumbling blocks or sowers of discord and division, I would ask our anti-vaxxer brothers and sisters in the faith, would you be willing to hold yourself directly responsible if, by forcing your way into worship, your church gets shut down by the local government? If you actually got COVID-19, how sure are you that you can deal with it on your own without asking for prayers, assistance or financial help from members of the church whom you have tormented with a burden of concern for your health and well being because you refuse to be vaccinated? And if you brought the virus into church and killed someone or caused so much physical hurt and cost, will you stand up and pay the price? Your rights have severe consequences for others – not just yourself!
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