The medical journal ‘BMJ’ has recently published a peer-reviewed article titled, ‘The unintended consequences of COVID-19 vaccine policy: why mandates, passports and restrictions may cause more harm than good.‘ Among many other adverse reactions to these policies, it lists constitutional violations and violations of human rights.
Christian leaders should have been on top of these issues as soon as there was even a hint of discussion of mandates and passports, especially from the perspective of religious conscientious objections. Instead, most were silent. Some Christian publications like the progressive ‘Eternity news’ and the leftward Hegalian discourse machine ‘The Gospel Coalition’ wrote articles in favour of mandates and passports. Denominations across the spectrum remained silent, and some like the Salvation Army openly supported mandates and suspended pastors who had conscientious objections.
The few Christian leaders, publications and pastors who did speak up received a pile-on of national criticism, and their respective denominations distanced themselves from them. These were men like Pastor Bob Cotton from Maitland Christian Church, Pastor Tony Archer, Dr Stephen Chavura and the publication Caldron Pool. Other Christian spokesmen that swam against the tide and denounced segregation included, Bill Muehlen, Dave Pellowe, Kurt Mahlburg, Martyn Iles (ACL), Joel Jammal, Topher Field, and Graham Hood.
Matthew Littlefield, Warren McKenzie, and I also received the same national pile-on of criticism and denominational distancing for raising objections. We address the issue of constitutional and human rights violations in our forthcoming book Defending Conscience (“Chapter 13: The Corruption Of The Rule of Law”). We also provide the religious objection from the perspective of Baptist history and interpretation. To advocate for liberty of conscience on this matter was to simply be Baptist. The Baptists who advocated against liberty of conscience would be better suited in denominations that historically persecuted the Baptists.
On the matter of religious objection, the BMJ article notes, that many countries “…tightened the ability to seek religious, medical or philosophical exemptions, open to unclear decision-making and political interference.” It also states, “…It is highly likely that mandates and passports have been implemented in ways that discriminate against… religious groups.”In Melbourne and New South Wales, Christians were excluded from Church gatherings and from serving in ministries.
Mandates are still in effect in some job sectors.
Our book is “Dedicated to our children, for whom we hope to preserve liberties, both civil and religious.”
When my girls ask me what I did when constitutional and human rights were being violated, and the Baptist distinctive of liberty of conscience had been disregarded (even by Baptists), I can tell them, “I did everything I could possibly do with my limited influence.”