Is a Shot in the Arm Ethical?
As the COVID-19 vaccine makes its way across the country at “warp speed”, many are now breathing a sigh of relief. The “miracle” of this clinically untested, rushed concoction produced by Big-Pharma has the nation hopeful for the future that finally, we can put the pandemic behind us and return to our normal lives.
Yet, the forever pessimist and contrarian that I am, I do not share in the optimism. The roll-out of the vaccine is not something that I particularly rejoice in because it presents before Christians a host of ethical conundrums.
To get this completely out of the way, I am not what you would consider an “Anti-Vaxxer”. I do not despise medical science nor do I take for granted the grace of God that is modern medicine. I am thankful that due to modern discoveries and innovations in medicine, mothers can have their children with little to no risk and that polio and smallpox are a thing of the past.
With all that being said, the COVID-19 vaccines that have been developed and are being administrated in your community aren’t a wonder of modern medicine. Instead, they are a grotesque example of body harvesting, manipulation, and frankly, are far from a miraculous cure for COVID-19. For instance, the vaccines that are in play today, use fetal cell lines known as HEK-293. These cells trace their origin back to 1963 and were taken from an aborted Caucasian male child from the Netherlands. Also, vaccines use tissue (HeLa) taken from an African American woman named Henrietta Lacks, who although was dying of cancer, her cells were used without her permission thus making it even more ethically problematic.
Ask yourself, Christian, does taking tissue from an African American woman without her consent and using cells from an aborted fetus line up with a Biblical understanding of ethics and morality? Yes, it is true both cell lines originate decades before the development of the COVID-19 vaccine and certainly one can argue that given the length of time and the proximity of both the abortion and exploitation of Mrs. Lacks, in 2021 those acts can serve the greater purpose and the betterment of public health and safety.
However, I find that line of thinking reprehensible. There is not one justification in the Bible where it gives license to commit evil and then turn around and use that evil for the love of our neighbors. For example, how ethical would it be if someone murdered their neighbor, dismembered their body, and then donated the organs to charity? Sure, so-and-so received a new kidney or a new heart, but it was at the expense of an innocent life taken. Regardless of time or proximity, the vaccine wouldn’t have happened without an innocent child being murdered and a black woman took advantage of.
As Christians, it is our obligation to live in such a manner that makes our Biblical principles abundantly clear, with one of those being the dignity and sacredness of all human life. The Bible calls us to “Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22) and “Take no part in unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph. 5:11). My concern is, given how this vaccine is developed, is taking the vaccine being faithful to the command of Scripture? Or if we decide to take it, are we implicitly communicating that we are in favor of and justifying child sacrifice, of which God overtly condemns and considers abominable (Lev. 18:21, 20:1-5)?
Despite all the hype, societal pressure, and the overwhelming propaganda surrounding the vaccines, Christians are to have a principled renunciation and resist every form of evil. We have to agree with what the Bible says regarding the ethical treatment of our neighbors and not give sanction for the harvesting of tissue by way of desecrating life and rejecting God-given human dignity.
What was done to that child in 1963 and Henrietta Lacks was wrong and I hope that we are all in agreement. Furthermore, justifying their murder and exploitation to produce a vaccine that will not—and I repeat—will not solve or cure the pandemic is also unethical.
In whatever decision you make about the vaccines, the Bible needs to inform your ethics, not other people’s ideas regarding the “greater good.”