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Conscientious Objections to the COVID Vaccine Should Be Honored

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As employers and governments have become more stringent with COVID vaccination requirements, many are no longer honoring conscientious or religious exemptions to the vaccine. Several states have dropped or are in the process of dropping these exemptions. Some hospitals and health departments, such as the New York Department of Health, have eliminated religious exemptions. In the private sector, United Airlines has announced that employees with religious exemptions to the vaccine will be placed on unpaid leave.

Even if vaccination is a wise idea, removing these exemptions is morally wrong and unjust. The rights of conscience and religious liberty must be respected as a precondition for responsible decision making of all kinds.

Why Conscience Matters

Why should conscience matter at all? Many people think that appeals to conscience (religious or non-religious) are just convenient excuses to get around the rules. But this is a grossly unfair way of characterizing what conscience is and why it matters. Let me explain.

Good decisions are responsible decisions. In order for a decision to be responsible it must proceed from a position of confidence. We must be convinced that what we are doing is right. After all, it would be reckless to make decisions -- especially about important matters -- if you don’t bother to check that what you are doing is right or have sincere doubts about it.

Even if things turned out in your favor, it would still be reckless because you made the decision carelessly without proper consideration of its merits. You did not make the decision for the right reasons. What makes a choice reckless isn’t a matter of whether that choice is harmful, but how it is chosen. For that reason, we can still make reckless decisions about things that are good and beneficial.

As such, it would be wrong to coerce someone into making a decision that they are not confident about, even if that decision ultimately ends up beneficial. What makes it wrong isn’t merely the fact that........

© American Thinker

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