As parents, there is no thought more distressing than doing something that causes injury to our children, and we face difficult decisions when we consider the use of vaccines.
There are two questions we need to consider:
- Whether vaccines are good for our children?
- Whether it would be sinful for us to make use of a particular vaccine?
Before considering these questions, we must establish the truth that all human beings are subject to God alone, and have a right to obey their own consciences. When we are not sure of what we should do in a particular situation, we must obey our conscience–and we are free to do so. It is wrong for anyone to try and force us to do something that offends our conscience–even if we don’t understand all of the details in question–and we should not let them do so. This must always be kept in mind before we begin discussing controversial issues like this.
As for the first question, the evidence is quite clear that vaccines can help protect individuals and the population as a whole from the effects of dangerous, contagious diseases. This has been demonstrated on several occasions in history. At the same time, we must consider whether the individual is put at greater risk by the vaccine than by taking a chance of contracting the disease. Anyone who argues that all vaccines are good and should be received without question is wrong. Anyone who argues that no vaccines are good and should be refused without question is wrong. Vaccines must be evaluated individually. Some are very safe and effective. Some are dangerous and may not be worth the risk.
We see here that the real moral evil in society is when a government attempts to order all people to receive vaccinations. This is a violation of conscience and an abuse of power.
As for the second question, the means by which a vaccine is developed may raise questions about whether or not the vaccine is, itself, a moral evil to be rejected. Unfortunately, politics, business and personal opinions make these discussions become very emotional and unreasonable.
The most common question has to do with the use of a vaccine that was developed from cells derived from an aborted fetus.
Now, what we’ll find is that many, who are all over the internet condemning the use of such vaccines, have little understanding of what it means when one says that a vaccine is developed from cells derived from an aborted fetus. Let’s be clear to establish that:
- It does not mean that parts of aborted babies are used as “ingredients” to make vaccines.
- It does not mean that babies must be “murdered” to obtain the cells used to develop these vaccines.
Such statements are ignorant nonsense and must be rejected.
First of all, this entire discussion exists in a context of seeking to develop vaccines to immunize large numbers of people from dangerous viruses. The intention of this activity is to save human lives. No one is involved in vaccine development to kill human beings. If that was the goal, it would be better to simply leave them without vaccines in the presence of deadly viruses. So, the conspiracy theory nonsense has no reason behind it.
Second, the development of these vaccines does not require that any fetuses be aborted, or that organs be taken from fetuses in some ongoing process of abortions for the sake of vaccine research and development. The aborted fetuses that are referred to were aborted 50-60 years ago. Cells were taken from the aborted fetus and preserved. Those cells were then cultured, allowing them to grow and reproduce for future use. Thus, the actual cells being used to develop vaccines were not actually taken from any aborted fetuses. They were taken from a line of cells that had been grown from cells taken from an aborted fetus many years ago.
The question, then, is whether a vaccine that has been developed from a line of cells that has been grown from cells taken from an aborted fetus may be received with a good conscience?
The answer, of course, depends on every individual’s conscience. What we must beware of is any attempt to frighten us into a certain course of action by false information or to force us to act against our own moral judgment. We are not, however, “murdering babies” to make vaccines. That is simply not true.
There’s much to discuss on this subject and, as I’ve said, much depends on the details of individual vaccines and circimstances surrounding their use. If you’d like to discuss the subject, I would be happy to do so. Feel free to post any questions and/or comments below.
Let us pray that God might give us wisdom and peace with regard to the moral question of vaccines.
God bless your families,
William C. Michael, Headmaster
Classical Liberal Arts Academy
P.S. An Example from my Family Life
In 2003, my son was born with a cleft lip, along with a few other visible problem that needed to be repaired surgically. As we went through surgery and examinations, we were alerted that it appeared that he had a hole in the back of his heart that might be repaired surgically. The surgeon told us, frankly, that it was a dangerous procedure. He said that the hole could repair on its own over time. Thus, I was left with an ethical dilemma. Should I approve taking a risk with a surgery to try an repair a problem that could repair itself? Or, should I avoid the risk of the surgery?
As I considered what to do I established four different scenarios:
- No surgery is chosen and, in time, the hole heals on its own.
- No surgery is chosen and, in time, a serious problem develops.
- Surgery is chosen, and the hole is successfully repaired.
- Surgery is chosen, and proves to be a failure, causing harm, even death.
I then ranked these from best to worst: 1, 3, 2, 4.
I then considered that “No surgery” led to the best and 3rd best scenarios, while “Surgery” led to the 2nd best and worst scenarios. I felt, in my judgment, that choosing to subject my son to surgery and have it fail, causing him harm, was the worst possible scenario before God. Likewise, I reasoned that if I chose no surgery and a problem developed, nature, rather than my choice, would be the cause. I opted for no surgery and, thanks be to God, my son is 18 years old today and in perfect health.
Mr. William C. Michael is the founding headmaster of the Classical Liberal Arts Academy. He graduated from Rutgers University with an honors degree in Classics & Ancient History and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Mr. Michael has worked in private education as a Classics teacher and administrator for over 20 years. He is a Roman Catholic, married to his highschool sweetheart, a homeschooling father of ten children, and keeper of a quiet family farm in North Carolina. Mr. Michael enjoys studying ancient natural philosophy, gardening and running.