LEICESTER, United Kingdom – A group of Christian ministers have warned against creating “vaccine passports” in the UK, saying the proposal would be “unethical.”
The Conservative government is considering using “COVID-status certificates” to allow people to enter venues such as nightclubs, sports facilities, and festivals. It has even been suggested they would be used for restaurants and some shops.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a group of over 1,200 Anglican, Protestant, and Catholic clergy said the plan “makes no logical sense in terms of protecting others,” and emphasized they would refuse to implement them in their houses of worship.
“If the vaccines are highly effective in preventing significant disease, as seems to be the evidence from trial results to date, then those who have been vaccinated have already received protection; there is no benefit to them of other people being vaccinated. Further, since vaccines do not prevent infection per se even a vaccinated person could in theory carry and potentially pass on the virus, so to decide someone’s ‘safe non-spreader’ status on the basis of proof of their immunity to disease is spurious,” the letter said.
The clergy members also said the introduction of vaccine passports would be an unethical form of coercion and a violation of the principle of informed consent.
“People may have various reasons for being unable or unwilling to receive vaccines currently available including, for some Christians, serious issues of conscience related to the ethics of vaccine manufacture or testing,” they said in their letter. “We risk creating a two-tier society, a medical apartheid in which an underclass of people who decline vaccination are excluded from significant areas of public life.”
The letter also argues there is a “legitimate fear” that such a proposal would become permanent and be expanded to encompass other forms of medical treatment and “perhaps even other criteria beyond that.”
“This scheme has the potential to bring about the end of liberal democracy as we know it and to create a surveillance state in which the government uses technology to control certain aspects of citizens’ lives. As such, this constitutes one of the most dangerous policy proposals ever to be made in the history of British politics,” it continues.
The Christian leaders concluded their letter to the prime minister by declaring that under “no circumstances” would they close the doors of houses of worship to those who don’t have a COVID-status certificate.
“For the Church of Jesus Christ to shut out those deemed by the state to be social undesirables would be anathema to us and a denial of the truth of the Gospel,” the letter says, adding it would be a “fundamental betrayal of Christ and the Gospel.”
Follow Charles Collins on Twitter: @CharlesinRome