Christians Getting Vaccines and Wearing Masks
Throughout the Bible and the last two millennia, Christians have been on the forefront of promoting health and wellness.
In the Old Testament, particularly Exodus and Leviticus, are guidelines for healthy and unhealthy food. In addition these books talk about quarantining people who have infectious diseases so they don’t get others sick.
In the New Testament, Paul the Apostle advises Timothy to “…drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often.” Of course you have Jesus miraculously healing everyone who comes to him. So obviously Christian belief and practice is to promote healing and health as well as taking care of the sick.
In the two millennia since Christianity burst onto the scene, people of faith have been actively involved in healthcare. Just a few examples: most hospitals were started by believers and for many centuries run by monasteries. Christians were responsible for the invention of eyeglasses; the practice of cleansing wounds, using antiseptics and sutures to promote healing; Christian, Medieval universities began offering medical education; and even autopsies were developed to study anatomy.
Often in times of pandemics, Christians would selflessly take care of people who were very sick, many times risking their own health to do so.
In modern times, believers have been actively involved in the health field as doctors, nurses, scientists, and of course hospice work. So the reality should be when there is a health crises, we people of faith should be on the cutting edge of promoting the best medicine possible.
But with the Covid crises, I have seen anything but! It seems that Evangelical Christians disproportionately have denounced vaccines, mask wearing, and even denying that the Covid virus is real. While I am not a doctor, I want to present an argument as to why we need to be advocates for these health measures.
Let us begin with statistics. Just this week I read the latest report from the CDC on hospitalization and death of people fully vaccinated throughout the pandemic up to August 31. That report stated that 12,960 people were hospitalized or died who were fully vaccinated. This is out of 173 million who have gotten all their shots. This translates into roughly 1 in 13,000 fully vaccinated people either hospitalized or died. Let that number sink in for a moment.
Of the hospitalizations, 70% were over 65 and of the deaths 85% were over 65, most of whom had other health issues. I don’t know about you, but that is staggering evidence that the vaccine is working.
Let us talk now about side effects. Less than 1000 of 1% get side effects. I hear people howl about how dangerous these vaccines are. So here is a question to ask yourself. How many drugs on the market today have no side effects? Give up! The answer is none, zilch, nada. So why do doctors recommend we take these drugs? The response is always “the benefits outweigh the risks.”
So why aren’t Christians out protesting against antibiotics that have side effects? The answer, it is not political. Politics has replaced public health as the driving force behind this reluctance. I know that if you have read thus far, many of you will want to send me articles from doctor so and so who “has seen the light” and the vaccines are in reality a sham. Please don’t send me those. Why I say that is because I have read many of the objectors and in my research have concluded their data not sufficient. Again I reference the above statistics.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t do other things naturally like vitamins and supplements. I do those in addition to the vaccine. But when I talk with doctors and nurses where I live, 100% are begging for people to get vaccinated. While that won’t ever be completely guaranteed, it is the most effective weapon we have at our disposal.
Christians should also be wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, etc. This issue about people not wanting to wear masks has become more about my rights than wisdom. Brothers and sisters, our faith unequivocally teaches us that our lives are about sacrifice and service. Philippians 2:4 states, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Mask wearing isn’t a panacea. It only is maybe 40% effective. But if I care about others, then 40% is better than 0%. I don’t like wearing a mask, but if it helps control the spread of the virus, why wouldn’t I? This shows Christian love. But if my refusal is again about a political statement, then I am saying that politics is more important than Jesus!
When Christianity spread in the first three centuries, it overcame pagan objections and became the dominant faith of the Roman Empire. Christianity then led the way in making the society better. If we don’t become innovators and leaders again in the health care arena, we will look more like the ancient pagans. This is a reversal we should wholeheartedly object.