CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Vaccinations, the Public Good, and Big Brother

Apr 14, 2015

Wow, talk about an ethical hot potato, which raises so many contentious issues on so many levels. I refer to the red hot issue of vaccinations, and the new government proposals concerning them. If the issue was complex and the subject of plenty of heated debates previously, it is even more so now.

I have up till now not gotten involved with the vax debate, and that for several reasons. One, the pro and con camps both can generate far more heat than light here, and plenty of folks on both sides are ready to brand you as the Antichrist if you dare to differ from their pet position.

So as one who actually enjoys living a quiet and peaceful life, the last thing I need is to embroil myself in yet another mega-contentious issue and get even more people hating on me, abusing me, and sending me death threats. I get plenty of that now thanks and I really don’t need any more.

vaccination 3The second reason is this: I of course am neither a doctor nor a scientist. I would think a modicum of expertise in these fields would be of help as we weigh up the merits and demerits, the pros and cons, of vaccinations. Sure, I could stop everything I am doing and take out a month or two and try to become mildly well-informed on these matters, but I already have far too much on my plate.

So up until a few days ago I was happy to let this one go through to the keeper, even though I have often been getting folks from both sides of the debate asking me for my opinion on all this. But as you know, the Federal Government just came out with a new policy proposal which alters the debate to a very real extent, and adds many other important issues into the mix.

I refer of course to the “no jab, no pay” scheme. Here is how one news report put it a few days ago:

Parents who do not vaccinate their children will lose welfare payments of up to $2100 per child under a federal government policy set to be announced before the May budget. Under changes that could save more than $50 million a year, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison is preparing to scrap a “conscientious objection” provision which allows anti-vaccination parents to still claim welfare benefits including childcare assistance and Family Tax Benefit A. Fairfax Media understands the Family Tax Benefit A is worth up to $2100 per child.
Parents of about 39,000 children have signed “conscientious objection” forms that certify they have a “personal, philosophical, religious or medical” objection to immunisation. This form, which requires a consultation with a doctor or immunisation nurse, is necessary for the parents to receive Family Tax Benefit A. But access is means tested so not every one of those parents would be receiving the payment.

Morrison went on to speak of possible groups being allowed exemptions. An article today offers this:

It is the question that Scott Morrison has repeatedly refused to answer. Which is the religious organisation that qualifies children for an exemption from vaccination? The Social Services Minister has said there was only one registered organisation that could be exempted for religious grounds, but would not say who.
“I’m not about to advertise it for fear of it having a lot of new followers on a fairly unfair basis,” he said at the weekend, after announcing other loopholes would be tightened to stop parents claiming childcare and family benefits if they refused to vaccinate their children. An online guide produced by Mr Morrison’s own department clearly states that the exempt organisation is Church of Christ, Scientist – more generally known as the Christian Scientists.

As I say, I know next to nothing about who is right – or who is more right: the pro-vaxxers or the anti vaxxers. But now we have new issues which we have to consider: the role of the state, concerns about the nanny state, the rise of possible Big Brother statism, the place of coercion (even if just the withholding of benefits) from those who do not conform to government standards, the role of the welfare state, and so on.

Many issues arise here, making all this a much more complex, multi-layered and less straight-forward matter. Here I just want to look at the broader implications of this announced policy. I will not discuss the pros and cons of vaccinations. I will let the various experts do that elsewhere.

As I say, plenty of key issues arise here. Governments have a role to play in looking after the wellbeing of their citizens. But questions always arise as to how much, how far, and to what extent. Anarchists want no government intrusion into our lives, libertarians want little or minimal amounts of intrusion, while hard core lefties and liberals almost look to the state as the messiah, necessary to solve all our problems.

I am a conservative (but not a hard-core libertarian), so I always tend to favour limited government, small government, and non-intrusive government, as much as is possible. But because I am a biblical Christian I also most certainly believe that God ordained the institution of civil government, and there clearly is a place for it.

Plenty of discussion and debate arises, even just amongst Christians, as to how far the state should intervene in various areas. That governments do some things for our own good is obvious. Many of these we don’t mind. We have stop signs, traffic rules, red lights and so on, all for our own good.

We rightly think that we should treat one another with respect and care, and that means we allow some government intervention into our freedoms for the sake of personal safety and the like. How far all this should go is always the stuff of debate. As another example, governments are making it harder and harder for tobacco users to do their thing freely and cheaply.

Governments believe the health risks of tobacco use outweigh various restrictions on individual liberties. But life is always about trade-offs, and this is certainly true of politics. Most political goods are matters of trade-offs, and cost and benefit analysis. Often some freedoms are sacrificed for greater social goods.

So it is the same here. Governments think they can at least negatively coerce people to do what it wants in terms of vaccinations. The issue itself has to be debated on its own merits (are vaccines for the most part helpful and safe, or for the most part unhelpful and unsafe, or somewhere in between, etc).

Let us say for the sake of argument only, that vaccines are just fine, and therefore this is a perfectly wonderful and well needed plan by the government. But some red flags should be flying here nonetheless. If the government decides today to take these coercive steps – for our own best interests of course, as it would say – then what about other steps it might consider to be necessary?

What if the government decides tomorrow that it will withhold benefits from others it regards to be recalcitrants? What if it decides that the best interests of the state are served by strictly curtailing possible trouble makers in other areas? For example, there are plenty of people who think that Bible-believing Christians are a threat to the progressive state.

What if the government decides to cut back benefits to other groups it sees as a threat, or as hindering their plans for the ideal state? If it withholds what might be vital payments and benefits to people today on the basis of how they feel about vaccinations, what might be proposed tomorrow?

As I say, there are plenty of folks who have exceedingly strong opinions – and emotions – on the issue of vaccinations. If you love them and think they are absolutely vital, then you may well welcome these proposals. If you hate them and think they are evil, then you will likely find this move to be utterly appalling, and just more indications of a government out of control.

Of course there are other options. Some folks may well fully support vaccinations, yet are very concerned about the heavy hand of the law being used here. I just came upon one example of this, so let me briefly cite Trisha Jha from the libertarian-leaning Centre for Independent Studies. Although she is “a strong supporter of vaccination,” she says the “Anti-vaxxer crackdown [is] a hammer in want of a nail”. She writes in part:

Perhaps threatening to cut off the childcare subsidies of this geographical area will spur these parents into vaccinating their children. Or, as is more likely, these parents will opt-out of the subsidised childcare system altogether and simply hire nannies for little additional out-of-pocket cost. Regardless, it does little to tackle the problem at its source: some people think they are making the right decision to not vaccinate their children.
Since the data suggests many of these objectors are clustered in the same geographic area, a broad-brush approach that punishes those who live in remote areas, or those who have religious objections but don’t believe in a religion that has no organising body (such as Hinduism), won’t do anything to increase vaccination rates or to increase population health.
Moreover, this new plan could provide further rhetorical cover for the idea that government benefits are contingent on maintaining a ‘healthy’ set of behaviours. With ‘Healthy’ Welfare card trials — an extension of income management — being rolled out across Australian communities, it’s worth wondering what kind of precedent this will set.
This may well be overlooked as some unlikely bedfellows are busy giving each other high-fives for a largely hollow policy victory, but a potentially significant political one.

I will have to end this piece with a much-needed plea: those who want to stone me to death as a devil because I have not come out as a gung-ho pro-vaxxer, and those who want to stone me to death as a devil because I have not come out as a gung-ho anti-vaxxer, both need to cut me some slack. Indeed, if you come here to crucify me, I will simply delete your comments.

All I really wanted to do here was raise the very important issues of statism, the nanny State, and government coercion. Some of you might think that all three might be necessary here. Maybe so. But then again, maybe this is just another worrying step of Big Brother that we will all soon greatly regret. Time will tell I guess.

But at least we need to carefully think through all these matters now, while we still have the freedom to do so.

www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-government-to-announce-antivaccination-parents-will-lose-benefits-20150411-1mie6x.html
www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/vaccinationexempt-church-revealed-as-christian-scientists-20150414-1mkmj8.html
www.cis.org.au/media-information/opinion-pieces/article/5546-anti-vaxxer-crackdown-a-hammer-in-want-of-a-nail

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43 Responses to Vaccinations, the Public Good, and Big Brother

  • Critical to the issue is that there is no forcing of parents to vaccinate their children. If they chose not to, they are denying themselves the chance of receiving the benefit of a government privilege. No-one actually “loses” anything if they don’t vaccinate their children- how can you lose something which isn’t yours? A family tax benefit is a privilege and is not forced on you- you chose to take it or not. If you do chose the benefit, along with the privilege comes the responsibility. As Christ said-‘Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and until God what is God’s.” A tax benefit or government allowance is a benefit from Ceasar so Ceasar has the right to attach strings, one of which is to vaccinate your children. Let us not forget that children are gifts from God and it is our responsibility to care for them in the best way possible and the available evidence is that vaccination is the best alternative. My daughter is a nurse and has nursed desperately ill children who have been infected by non-vaccinated classmates. We have seen polio virtually eliminated from the planet as a result of mass medication- results speak for themselves.

  • Thanks Philip, but three replies.
    One, I said several times that it was not my intention to get directly into the vax debate.
    Two, if I did not know you a bit, I would have replied, “Spoken like a true statist”! What is this talk about privilege? Government exists to serve us. It is meant to be our servant. We pay taxes and get some services back. In this case, everyone is paying taxes, but only some are getting some of the benefits, because the state has determined that some shall be penalised for not following their dictates.
    Three, the whole point of my article of course which you seem to have missed is this: where does the nanny state, if not Big Brother, end? If it withholds certain things now to certain classes of people, who will be targeted next – and for what?

  • My biggest concern is that whenever they talk about compulsory vaccinations it is never qualified as to what Vaccinations? Why should genital warts virus and the like be compulsory? Exactly what will be compulsory? Not long ago they screwed up and put adult birdflu VAC in childs serum, what will be the punishment for these mistakes? who will be policing which Vac are given? If it is to be compulsory will Parents be notified EXACTLY what is in each booster given and the company of origin? the ambiguity of what the serum contains now is unacceptable. Doctors often do not have this information at hand. It should not be left to the parents to dig and police this sort of stuff. I am Pro Vaccination; but not open slather and forced medicating! Polio Vaccinations was one of the greatest things ever. I fear that force medicating children may lead to a dark path
    Last year our government (with Parental permission) used experimental Gentital wart vaccines on high school age children. This may turn out to be side affect free and a good thing;
    Should we be experimenting on our children?
    We are still dumping toxic fluoride into our drinking supply. With over half a century of research it is now in-disputable that ingesting Fluoride has no affect on tooth decay. Peoples minds are so programmed they will not examine the data impartially and refuse to even discuss the option of a policy reversal.
    If this is passed it will not be easy to reverse. A very long and considered debate over years need to take place. not the emotional bullying that is happening now.

  • Thank you Bill. A well written article. We regret vaccinating our children as they had an adverse reaction to the vaccine which triggered an auto-immune disease in all 3 children. Do you know how much hate we have had targeted at us when I have had the courage to mention this? It’s been insane. Last night on the ABC’s ‘The Drum’ there were calls to put non-vaccinators in jail! The other side is not getting any air time. Our stories won’t get told.

    In the USA, it is reported that parents are having their rights to object completely removed, even if the child has previously been significantly damaged by the vaccine. They have a vaccine court to determine fault and damages there.

    There have also been calls in the USA for children who weren’t vaccinated to be removed from public schools. Like you said…where does it all stop. Where is the line between parental jurisdiction and government jurisdiction. I don’t see Scripture giving Governments jurisdiction over parenting to this extent.

  • I know many many families who after much thorough research made the decision not to immunise their children. These families that I know are all conservative voting decent law abiding citizens raising wholesome intelligent children who are already contributing to a sound, moral, healthy Australian society.
    The Liberal governments announcement that these intelligent parents are now to be treated like imbeciles and denied tax benefits is nothing but a low and disgusting insult.
    Yes Bill, what next ?

  • Thanks Bill. This is a hot topic which should, in itself, raise our antenna. We are called to be watchful and to notice what is going on in the world around us. The fact that more authority is being taken out of the parents’ hands and placed into the government’s hands is enough of a cause of concern. God placed children with parents, not an all-encompassing government. We have adjusted little by little to this concept that the state owns our children, when parents are to be the God authorized heads. Personally, I don’t trust them simply because they ARE coercing and pushing this issue when they are quite fine about abortion. I guess I’m just suspicious.

  • Thanks Bill,

    I have vaccinated both my children and believe vaccinations for the most part are a good idea (although as Rusty said above, why should a genital wart vaccination be made compulsory?) but I am perturbed by not only these new measures by the government to try to force people to go against their will but also by the unbridled glee of the public who are thoroughly supportive of these bullying methods.

    My main concern is that it is a major over step of government power. The government is now “Big Bully”, forcing people through deliberate withholding of financial benefits to get their will done. I wonder if this doesn’t get the desired effect what the next step will be – forced vaccinations under threat of having your child taken away from you, to be raised by the government. How about enforced adult vaccinations to ensure economic productivity is not lost?

    While we are at it, how about enforced micro chipping, for the public good? Strange times.

    But why stop there? Under cries for the public good, surely all the workers of Australia should be forced to get the flu vaccine, for the sake of productivity. Or an Ebola vaccine?

  • Thanks Bill, I’m glad you brought up this issue, I was just as worried when I read the news reports. I agree that It is not the role of government to bully people into submitting to something they do not believe in or do not want to participate in that is so personal. Yes, governments do make laws for our own good, eg. seatbelts, but it is not their role to make laws that infringe on parental rights unless the child is at risk (eg. abuse and neglect). Does vaccinations fall into this category? I think not. I simply do not want governments running our lives and making our decisions for us. For example, I am against the legislation that was passed in Victoria making it illegal to smoke in a car when a child is in the vehicle. Yes, I do care about children and the dangers of tobacco smoke inhalation. But the issue for me here is whether it is in the realm of government to tell us what we can or can’t do when on or in out own property? Was legislation the best solution? Can you legislate common sense? Could a public education campaign have been more effective? Isn’t willing compliance more preferable to enforcement? Once we let the government tell us what we can do in our car, then what’s next? What I can or can’t do in my loungeroom, my kitchen, my garage?
    I once heard it said that rubber on the feet causes eye problems. In fact, I know people who swear that when they wear rubber sole shoes they get headaches. Maybe the government should legislate the compulsory use of full leather shoes for all school children!
    I hope my point is clear.
    Finally, I would expect this from a Labor government, not a Liberal government. Didn’t Tony Abbott express some points about choice in vaccinations when he was Minister for Health? Something around the Gardasil roll-out? I can’t find a reference to it but I hope someone can.

  • Good points Bill.

    What we’re talking about is whether something is truly a public good or not.

    If churches do public good, they should be promoted (and enjoy a tax-free status).

    If parents do a public good in raising children, they should be supported in positive ELECTIVE health measures and financial support where needed.

    If parents elect to not vaccinate due to their own research and knowledge of their child’s health, why is it the states’ business to penalise them?

  • The statists over at channel 10’s The Project were ranting in agreement the other night about how kids who are not vaccinated should be banned from school!

    For Marxists, it never matters in what arena more governmental power comes – as long as it’s more governmental power.

    At what point can expect the government to forcefully intervene in the lives of Christians who refuse to indoctrinate their kids into naturalistic atheism and the associated doctrines of demons? Sooner rather than later at this point.

    And the pretence of a choice in our politic parties has pretty much ended with the abandonment of 18c and this stunt – both Labor and Liberals apparently support big, intrusive, and powerful government.

  • Thanks Bill for yet another chance to exercise the brain cells. I thought I had this figured out until reading it. Here are my thoughts FWTW.

    While I agree with you about the issue of state intervention in our lives, especially in how children are cared for, I also find Philip Impey’s argument quite compelling.
    With regards to ‘rendering unto Ceasar’, we should remember, in this day-and-age, what we ‘render’ does not belong to ‘Ceasar’, it is money we hand over to the government in trust to spend wisely for the benefit of the community and, in the case of welfare, to assist people who need help to run their lives. As it is community money, we should expect the government to spend it in line with community expectations, (not the dictates of an elite, which is statism).

    As far as I am aware, all welfare payments have some criteria attached. To qualify for the aged pension, you have to be over a certain age and have less than a certain amount of assets and income. For Newstart you have to be unemployed and (theoretically) searching for work. Similarly, you have to have a certain level of injury to qualify for disability assistance.

    I see nothing wrong with attaching criteria to money that is ‘gifted’ or loaned to someone who hasn’t ‘earned’ that money. Some time back I sent you a sum of money for a specific purpose, to take your wife out to dinner. My money, my criteria (although in your case it could be argued that you did earn the money by working hard to write articles of interest and benefit to me and others. But I think you get the idea.) If you get a bank loan for a house, the bank expects you to buy a house, not a car or boat.

    Extending this to welfare, I see no problem with placing criteria on the receipt of public funds. The caveat is that these criteria should be in line with community expectations, (which is where the money comes from). I suspect, for instance, that the community does not agree with welfare payments being spent on illegal drugs, gambling and excessive alcohol consumption.

    Similarly, vaccination might well be seen as something the community as a whole agrees with as being beneficial to society as a whole. No doubt if an un-vaccinated child becomes seriously ill, the public purse then has to pay for his/her medical treatment. Perhaps the amount held back could be seen to cover these incidents.

    God bless and keep up the good work.

  • Thanks David. Just a brief reply. I have no major problems with some strings attached to some welfare programs to some recipients. For example, some US states cut off welfare to single mums who keep having kids out of wedlock. Wisconsin for example has had such a ‘three strikes and your’e out’ policy. The aim is to strengthen families and deter bringing kids into the world without fathers. Of course such policies may end up harming the kids as a result, so it gets complicated.

    But the real question is: why have we allowed things to get to this place where we have more and more basic services and provisions coming from the State, and with all sorts of strings attached? As I tried to argue in my piece, today it is non-vaxxers, tomorrow it may be Bible-believing Christians. So we have to go back and ask hard questions about the welfare state, the nany state, and so on.

    And I still don’t like the idea of describing the state as “gifting” us with money. it is our money to begin with!

  • Bill

    I share your concerns about the growth of statism. And also your wisdom in staying out of the anti vax debate hitherto, for much the same reasons.

    It is worth pointing out though that one of the reasons for conscientious objection which is seldom acknowledged anywhere including your own excellent article, is the use of cell lines from aborted human beings to produce several of the mandatory vaccines. Several years ago I wrote to Medicare and obtained a list of those vaccines on the ACIR list that have this derivation. Yes, they are still produced from foetal cell lines, from the scrambled lungs of two children in particular.

    I would never vilify parents who chose to take “advantage” of such a vaccine after the fact, but it is not unreasonable to suppose that others such as myself might have a truly conscientious objection to injecting my children with a product derived from another parents aborted child. In my estimation, more particularly because this supports the ongoing commodification of the bodies of unborn children for research and other purposes today.

    Being blessed currently with both a job, and the means and motivation to homeschool our six children, this latest govt move will not affect us. But it does concern me greatly as another instance of increasing state control in the context of shutting down debate and marginalising and ridiculing those with a dissenting position. It is those factors as much as my original concerns about the origins of those vaccines that weigh on me now. Thank you for your article.

  • Definitely wrong to use financial withdrawal, to coerce parents into getting their children vaccinated. One could see this sort of thing coming on the horizon. I won’t go further on the vaccine discussion, since it wasn’t the point of the article…but I think more should be done to try and identify children who might have adverse reactions to vaccines; this is precisely what frightens parents away from them in the first place.

    The British have more subtle tactics…about seven years ago, the Labour government tried to sneak in I.D cards. Of course they said they would “not be compulsory”. But if you didn’t have one, then you wouldn’t be able to open a bank account, or get credit, or do this or do that. Effectively, leaving the choice up to the individual but making life damned hard for you if you didn’t comply.

    Neither way is good, and I’m afraid we can expect to see more of this behaviour from governments, until folk open their mouths and object en masse.

  • Agreed Bill. And why are we paying parents to outsource their parenting responsibilities to strangers anyway ? Perhaps we should be taking away these payments if those people don`t parent their children. Next could be a with-holding of payments if your children are obese, if they don`t play a sport, or like you imply, they attend a Sunday school. I`m waiting for the govt. to mark people as “Vaxed.” I would however, like to see the spin on why the number of children with autism have dramatically increased.

  • My sister had polio before the vaccinations were available. My little brother had croup. Both suffered. My brother now has asthma, he had vaccinations. So did the other 5 children of the family have vaccinations. If you want to see your child struggle for breath suffer the trauma of racing a child to the hospital. Don’t take the vaccinations, however, remember many new arrivals have not had these medical procedures and if they happen to infect your child at school? God gave doctors and scientists the ability to discover helpful medicines for His children. Think very carefully about not vaccinating your babies. Do you refuse the flu injection?

  • Let’s step back a bit. I’m pro immunisation but agree there is a real danger of government coercion being wrongly applied. But look at a bigger canvas:

    We can reduce the risk of government coercive power by insisting on family income splitting. That will allow families to decide their own income distribution with a minimum of government interference. That can be argued to expand the economy and reduce welfare costs.

    Currently the Government taxes individual incomes and then pays back some of it, sometimes, after applying conditions which can be used for coercion. This taxing individuals, rather than income-splitting, distorts and even coerces child care decisions as well as distorting family welfare decisions such as whether to put granny or a handicapped child in an institution (and so increasing welfare costs).

    Instead, we should have tax splitting across the whole household or extended family. Further if a family member is handicapped in any way, they should be counted as more than one to allow for the extra care that person needs. E.g. an elderly or handicapped person who needs 24/7 care needs to be counted as say 1.6 or 2.3 people or whatever reflects the real cost of caring for that person.

    In addition, we should allow medical insurance premiums or levies to be be higher for smokers and non-immunised people to allow for the higher risk involved. That removes the coercive incentive from government and lets us retain more freedom.

    But this won’t happen unless we tell our MPs what we want! One way of doing this is to go to http://petitions.family.org.au and sign the Australian Family Association petition asking for family-based taxation.

    We need to argue the case for income splitting by showing the real pragmatic benefits. Smaller government and income-tax splitting allows families to make their own decisions, This will result in: larger families; a bigger healthier economy; less problems of ageing population; more mums at home – so more jobs for youth and more young men being able to marry; hence lower health, welfare and policing costs; more volunteers available to satisfy community welfare needs better and cheaper than possible via government agencies.

  • A minefield well negotiated Bill . One of the sticking points for me is the difficulty ,sometimes ,of deciding unequivocally, exactly what belongs to Caesar. And why should Caesar have first dibs on the final decision, as too often seems to happen ?

  • David Williams you said on 15.4.15 / 1pm

    While I agree with you about the issue of state intervention in our lives, especially in how children are cared for, I also find Philip Impey’s argument quite compelling.
    With regards to ‘rendering unto Ceasar’, we should remember, in this day-and-age, what we ‘render’ does not belong to ‘Ceasar’, it is money we hand over to the government in trust to spend wisely for the benefit of the community and, in the case of welfare, to assist people who need help to run their lives. As it is community money, we should expect the government to spend it in line with community expectations, (not the dictates of an elite, which is statism).

    David, I would suggest that what we render to Caesar these days is not the same as what Jesus was looking at in Roman times.

    Over the last century or so, civil government has invaded areas of responsibility such as health, education and welfare which are not within its Biblical mandate.

    So part of the Big Brother problem is that government is collectively contravening God’s law, and I believe we should be working and arguing to restrain it.

    In the short term I agree that governments need to live within their means, and not over-burden the people with taxes, so the money they have needs to be carefully expended.

    But I don’t see long term blessing coming from merely holding government to account for how wisely it spends the money. We need to pull back hard on the encroaching power of Big Brother, and this is yet another example of it.

  • Lorraine, our youngest son had a reaction to a vaccination which landed him in hospital, and we all have sensitivities (mainly via me).

    Our approach was to delay the vaccination program by two cycles (6-12 months IIRC), until our bodies could cope with it.

  • Brad, what vaccinations use cells from aborted foetuses?

    Thanks,
    David

  • What concerns me especially with this new proposal is that conscientious objection can only be granted if the parents are part of a religious organisation that as a whole objects to vaccinations. Our church doesn’t, but we do.
    Bill, where in the bible does it say that the state even is supposed to raise taxes? I know Jesus talked about taxers for Caesar, but I thought that was descriptive rather than prescriptive. I thought the state was merely instituted to punish evil and reward good, but that the economy and even the welfare of widows was responsibility of first the family and of the church when the families resources or relationship status was exhausted. OF course you then have those who are not part of a church that need to be looked after. That is where governing for the godly and the ungodly becomes more complex than just being able to follow the principles laid out in the old testament, for they described the governing rules for a state of worshipers. But I wonder if, when the old age pension was instituted, people would have ever imagined that rather than it being a help to vulnerable people it would eventually lead to a system that has just about everyone bar from the really rich fully dependent on it. I tend to agree with Philip in that especially as Christians while we can be very thankful for the help the state gives us we should make it a point never to depend on it, for God is our provider, so we can be at all times be ready to relinquish it soon as things are asked of us in connection with it that would go against our determination to be obedient to Christ and to not compromise. We have to watch the “trade offs” you speak us to consider wether they lead us into a state of dependence and consequencial compromise. I have no problem with requiring children which are infected to stay home from school while they are contagious, quarantine and hygiene are after all still the most effective epidemiological controls. My other question would be though how many of those who showed symptoms of communicable diseases against we vaccinate, for instance recently in the mini epidemic of measles in the US have actually been vaccinated previously. I wonder if you ever get the numbers on that one.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  • David, according to Medicare ~3 years ago the following ACIR mandated vaccines were then being produced using cell lines originally obtained from aborted babies:

    MMR (all)
    Hep A (all)
    Chicken pox (all)
    Hep B (some I.e. Non foetal vaccine also available)
    Diphtheria tetanus pertussis polio (some)

    I don’t know if there has been any change in the last couple of years but I wouldnt expect so.

  • Here’s a link to Michigan Right to Life where they discuss vaccines and fetal tissue:

    http://www.rtl.org/prolife_issues/LifeNotes/VaccinesAbortion_FetalTissue.html

  • Thanks Ursula. As to taxes we read about how God ordained civil government in Romans 13:1-7. In vv. 6-7 we read this:

    “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

  • One of the concerns I have with the new proposal is that conscientious objectors have to belong to a religious group that objects to vaccinations. That is taking the responsibility out of the parents hands, which I don’t believe is right. our church for instance does not have a problem with vaxinations per say while we as parents do.
    Biblically, I believe that the main function of human government is to punish and restrain evil and to reward good, but the economy and welfare are primarily responsibility of families and secondarily of the church. I wonder if anyone could have predicted more than 100 years ago when aged pensions were first introduced in order to help the vulnerable that now just about everyone save the rich would be virtually dependent on government assistance in some way or another. I am with Philip though and see government assistance as a privilege. God is our provider and we try to be ready to give up whatever assistance we currently receive in order to not compromise though admittedly that would be hard and require quite a significant adjustment It is almost impossible these days to survive as a family on one income so I am very thankful for family tax benefit and such and we try to invest this assistance in such a way that it enables us and our children through education etc. to become as financially independent from government as possible.
    Back to the vaxinations though. I have no problem with children who have a communicable disease for which we vaccinate to stay home from school while they have it. After all, quarantine and hygiene are the most effective epidemiological tools we still posses even among all the other medical advances like immunizations. When they speak of epidemics like the recent outbreak of measles in the US, do they ever tell you how many of those children who contracted measles were immunized? There is data out there suggesting that immunizations become less affective and have to be repeated more often. Immunizations itself may not be the problem, but how it is administered, 4 or 6 in one shot, how it is stored etc. are certainly things that need to be revised.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  • Thank you Bill, I did not remember that verse particularly. Sorry also for the duplication of my comment, I thought the first one did not come through.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  • Thanks Brad. That was helpful. I knew that the vaccines were derived from the aborted foetal tissue but always found it difficult to find Australian data. Any chance you could put this information up on your blog? It might help others.

    Knowing the vaccines were derived from aborted foetal tissue has cost me my job as a health professional with QLD Health. But I am happy about that, though it was very stressful at the time. I would far rather stay home, homeschool my children and raise them in the ways of the Lord, than continue in a job where my conscience was constantly screaming to me that I lacked integrity as a Christian.

  • Thanks Bill for a good article.

    I am sitting here trying to think of other forms of government coersion, and can only come up with a very short list for individuals; smoking. But there is occasional talk of a fast food tax.
    But in our food producing bussiness the list is a moderatly long series of red tape; resulting in either not being able to sell produce, or a price reduction, or a warning.

    With our young family, we plan to do something similar to John Angelico, vaccinate late. This way the child better developed and more able to cope if any reaction occurs.

    Thanks
    Mark Lambert

  • Here is a brilliant link which discusses the history of vaccines and how they were derived from many aborted foetuses. It also explains that this as an ongoing practise today.

    https://www.cogforlife.org/fetalvaccinetruth.htm

  • Thanks for your input Bill. A sane and thoughtful response.

    My biggest concern with the proposed legislation (which will affect us, although we will do what we believe is right regardless) is the utter disdain Scott Morrison in particular shows for religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

    So one religion that has a unified position on this has an exemption, but free-thinking individuals are not allowed to act in accordance with their religious beliefs. This is particularly important for many Christians due to the issues raised by Brad Taylor above. And Mr Morrison has the hide to say that if the religious exemption is ‘abused’ he will shut that down too.

  • I have a feeling that everyone has missed the real point of this new “law”, and that is MONEY, not health. If Abbott and co. really cared about health, they would BAN cigarettes, alcohol and even sugar, as there are mountains of evidence which prove that these three have an enormous negative effect on children’s health. Obesity, cancers, beatings by drunk parents, the list goes on and on and far outweigh the Vaccination issue. But ciggs, alcohol and sugar equal HUGE $$ in the gov’s coffers, as do the bribes and payment made by big Pharma companies to crook pollies to ensure every citizen becomes a customer for life … If vaccines are so safe and effective, why does the vaccine court (funded by pharm’s taxes) pay out Billions in vaccine injury cases? and how do these whooping cough and measles epidemics sprout up in kids who are fully vaccinated?? It’s all about the money, and of course you are right, they are bent on taking away the individual’s choices. Sad world.

  • If I could only roll-back the clock to the time my son had his MMR, I would do things differently. Perhaps I will never know if he was adversely affected by MMR, or maybe the truth will eventually come out.

    1. There is big money to be made by interested parties in mass vaccinations.

    2. Nobody seems to be able to offer a reasonable explanation as to why autism rates have gone “through the roof” over the last 20 years or so.

    3. There is developing of social stigma associated with those who don’t take the flu “jab”.

    I am always concerned when free speech is shut down, as was the case recently with the visitor from the USA (or maybe it was Canada), who was holding some sort of seminar around vaccinations.

  • Dear Bill,
    The over reach of Government is now out of control. I seriously objected when the Government banned incandescent light globes. How dare they tell me what light bulbs I can and cannot used in my own bedroom? Well they did.

    This latest coercion is unforgiveable. That so many law abiding citizens are getting their freedom rights stolen by Governments, is astonishing and it’s happening right here in Australia folks!

    Can someone please start a petition against this kind of Government intrusion.

    Excellent article. Thank you.

  • I don’t know how anyone can be Prolife and Provaccine. They use aborted babies to make vaccines.
    Are you aware that Kenyan Doctors recently found anti fertility agent in the UN tetanus vaccine that caused numerous abortions and sterilisation. Despite 5 independent pathology reports the Kenyan government denies this. The Catholic Church have exposed this.. Praise God for the Catholics.
    I’m with you on the big brother issue. The government has no right to prevent self government in the home. Most parents have specific reasons not to jab that may not be accepted by mainstream evolutionist scientists.Conventional medicine does not acknowledge creation and that we are all uniquely designed. It’s clinical trials are based on the fact that we are the same so herd vaccinations are safe. I am a nurse and actually resigned from working as a Practice Nurse because of my view on this.

  • Christine Leeder God Bless you!
    I am so heartened to hear of your courage and stance on this.
    I too resigned from my hospital job over this issue (I worked as a hospital chaplain). I agree it is not possible to be pro life and pro vaccine. I have had the most adamant “pro life” friends of mine completely dismiss this as an issue because they are so afraid to question vaccines.
    It is abhorrent. The most recent cell line created to replace MRC 5 is Walvax 2. It was made in 2010 from the cells of an aborted baby girl 12 weeks old.

  • Hi Bill

    I found something interesting that might explain Tony Abbott’s decision. It may have something to do with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement that is being negotiated.

    In America sever restrictions have been put in place to prevent Congress from seeing it let alone the public. What has been leaked is troubling. The decision for Australia to join the TPP was made in 2008 while Labour was in power.

    The Euro zone was created with similar trade treaties. Let’s hope that the Government doesn’t sign away our rights with this treaty.

  • I would like you to consider vaccination another way. Vaccination is the attempt to enhance the human body from its original healthy state. The vaccination program is the attempt to enhance and change the human race from its original healthy state. The acceptance and movement of improving the human species is the beginning and foundation of eugenics. And it is when a person or human beings are no longer accepted for who they are, as they are, they will be dehumanized. This is the starting place of genocide.
    As Barbara Loe Fischer stated, “If the State can tag, track down and force you against your will to be injected with biologicals of known and unknown toxicity today then there will be no limit on which other freedoms the State can take away in the name of greater good tomorrow.”
    I want to add that in the future and, maybe even now, vaccines can be used as vectors for not just aborted fetal cells, but nanotechnology, biosimilars, ‘gene therapy’, etc and some ‘vaccines’ can be used to sterilize or make a human infertile. In other words, vaccines have the ability to change the natural function of the body and for targeted soft kill.

    I would go further to define what is going on now as State sanctioned eugenics, aimed at any person who doesn’t submit to changing their bodies, or thoughts, to what the State defines as ‘healthy’. Our medicine of ‘saving lives’ has evolved to a monster to define what is acceptable, healthy and good. Our idol in the US is to follow this ‘health’ directive given to us by our government. This is all inclusive and extends from cradle to grave and permeates every aspect of our lives. It seeks to neutralize or destroy any of those that oppose it or does not fit its definition. We are in big trouble as the ‘antivaxxers’ are the first to have their rights formally taken away and if more people don’t step up to defend this group of individuals from being dehumanized it’s not going to stop there. There will be no protection for the immunocompromised, the sick, the genetically defective, those defined as ‘mentally ill’, the obese, the too young or too old as they are seen as just as much of a threat to the well-being and ‘health’ of others and to the nation. Their ‘genes’ are a threat, their lack of ability to stay well is a threat, their inconvenience and resource draining is a threat, their mental thoughts and overall ‘mental health’ is a threat, etc. It is not the first time in history where political dissidents or those that believed in God were classified ‘mentally ill’. No one is going to be exempt from the forced health directives of the state.
    As it is now, those in the US face severe discrimination if they don’t comply and at first it is the government ‘benefits’ that go, but if it is accepted practice to coerce then it won’t stop there to reach 100% compliance.

  • One area not discussed much here is the distinction which I believe exists or should exist between tax “rebates”, i.e. different ways that taxes are calculated according to circumstances, such as having dependent children, and welfare payments. In the first case, we are talking about how much of our money the government takes from us, while the latter is to do with how much taxpayer money is given to those in need. I don’t have a big problem with the government restricting who gets the latter based on willingness to vaccinate, given that I believe vaccination is generally a good thing. And given that failure to vaccinate could result in the government spending more money on treating those not so vaccinated. But even though I think vaccination should be encouraged, and routinely used, (depending on the vaccine concerned) the government taxing us more if we choose not to vaccinate I find disagreeable.

    Brad Taylor raises the issue of vaccines “still produced from foetal cell lines”. But think carefully about this. They are not still produced from aborted babies, but from cell lines originating with aborted babies. As Protestant Christian and scientist Jonathan Sarfati said of a particular vaccine like this:

    The one objectionable version of the vaccine is that cultured on cells derived from a male baby who was aborted in the UK in 1966. This is a cell line coming from continual reproduction of cells from that, not embryos per se. No new embryos are being generated for the purpose of culturing vaccines (this is immoral). The vaccine makers had nothing to do with the abortions.

    On the same topic, he also wrote:

    The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life issued a statement in 2005 saying that it is wrong to make vaccines using aborted fetal tissue and that such practices should no longer be employed, however, it is acceptable to use vaccines developed from abortions that were carried out decades ago, because immunizations play a vital role in protecting life by preventing illness and death.

    Amanda Mitchell claims, in the context of humanity generally, that

    Vaccination is the attempt to enhance the human body from its original healthy state. The vaccination program is the attempt to enhance and change the human race from its original healthy state.

    but offers absolutely no evidence of this, and it is simply not true. How can it be an attempt to change an “originally healthy state” when our “originally healthy state” ceased to exist at the Fall? We no longer have our originally healthy state, and vaccination, along with every other medical advance, is (whether this is in the minds of the doctors or not) not an attempt to improve humans, but an attempt to alleviate the effects of the curse, to go some way to restoring our original, God-given, healthy state. It has nothing to do with eugenics. Eugenics has its origins in Darwinian evolution, whilst vaccinations have their origins in Darwin-rejecting creationist Louis Pasteur, for what it’s worth.

    Some articles relevant to this, and the source of my quotes from Sarfati, are as follows. The also elaborate on the points I’ve briefly made above, and the last one addresses the question of whether or not we have the right to alleviate the effects of the curse, in case anyone has a problem with that. The responses to the feedback to the articles also make interesting reading. By the way, none of these articles talk about Bill’s point of the involvement of the state in making vaccines a requirement.

    * Are vaccines biblical, safe or effective?

    * Vaccines and abortion?

    * Ebola disease: the result of the Fall

  • Amanda Mitchell claims, in the context of humanity generally, that

    ‘Vaccination is the attempt to enhance the human body from its original healthy state. The vaccination program is the attempt to enhance and change the human race from its original healthy state.’

    but offers absolutely no evidence of this, and it is simply not true. How can it be an attempt to change an “originally healthy state” when our “originally healthy state” ceased to exist at the Fall?

    I agree 100% with Amanda’s post and hypothesis. There is no evidence needed- Vaccines by their very nature are given to healthy individuals not suffering from the disease vaccinated against; Not people already suffering from that calamity. The aim of the vaccine is to ‘ENHANCE’ the immune system.
    Your attempt to disprove this by sighting the imperfection of the fall shows a lack of reasoning and perhaps worse. Whilst Vaccination is a great thing done responsibly; Penalising, discriminating against, ridiculing people who have not been vaccinated is the non acceptance of a normal healthy individual made in the image of GOD. This smacks of Eugenics and is an attack on the sovereignty of the individual.
    I thank Amanda for her articulate post, that has for me shed a new light/angle on this issue. I see the truth of it.

  • Thanks again guys. But recall that I said this article was meant to be not so much about the pro-vac vs anti-vac debate, but the larger questions of freedom, conscience, state regulation, and the public good. So let’s try to stay there thanks.

  • This is a good article and there are good comments. There is far too much government control over our lives. I think that with vaccinations we still have to consider them individually. Some vaccines I think are good such as the polio vaccine. However I think that we have to consider whether some vaccines are good at all. There are some newer vaccines which have caused problems such the one for cervical cancer. Parents should be allowed to choose which vaccines they will agree to be used for their children. I was attending a government rehabilitation program. I tried to apply for a full membership. I waited 2 months for an appointment. The staff member was trying to force me to be a volunteer. She would not agree to my membership unless I agreed to be a volunteer. In the end I just walked out of the meeting! She was asking me what I did and where do I go. She was firing questions at me. She asked question after question. She was aggressive, angry and rude. She was prying into my life. I did not want to be a volunteer because I had personal problems at the time and she was so rude to me. I should have made an official complaint. They moved her on to another job not far away. I did not know how to make an official complaint. She was in a government job. She thought that she owned me and had the right to order me to be a “volunteer”. I think that some people who work in government think that they have the right to coerce people without their consent.

  • Indeed, forced vaccines are a large government over-reach, intruding far beyond liberties into the realm of the body, sacred to God. Bonhoeffer calls this liberty, “the freedom of bodily life.”

    At three years old I had three autoimmune e diseases. For one of these there’s a family, genetic predisposition, but I’m the only one in a large extended family who has this particular autoimmune condition. Years ago, I discovered several other factors that contributed to my autoimmune condition–my Mom’s threatened miscarriage while carrying me, stress from Dad’s absences, Mom’s sugar addiction/poor nutrition, my own food intolerances, etc. The final blow was getting a measles vaccine shortly before I exhibited symptoms of autoimmune disease. In chronic disease they say that genetics loads the gun but epigenetics pulls the trigger, epigenetics being factors that determine whether a genetic switch is turned on.

    I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease over 60 years ago. For twenty years I felt like the only one in the world with this strange malady. As my health career got under way, autoimmune patients popped up more and more. Now it’s estimated that 50-100 million are autoimmune, plus the scores of other chronic diseases that plague us.

    How did this happen? I believe that vaccines are one of many contributing factors, part of the epigenetics that contribute to chronic conditions. That’s one reason it’s so easy state categorically that vaccines don’t “cause” chronic illnesses like autoimmune disease, because the cause is not one thing but many.

    Political freedom and “freedom of bodily life” are closely tied. I’ve not been free because of autoimmune disease–caused in part by a vaccine–to pursue my life, my career, my ministry, my passions hampered as I am with increasingly poor health, despite persistent research and extensive interventions on part. Soon I will not be free to refuse the very vaccines that contributed so much to my poor health. Sadder still is this entire generation of children that are plagued by chronic illness, developmental delays, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders and the like. With autism rates somewhere at 1/80, higher in boys, higher in CA, we should be firmly asking for answers from both the government and the medical community.

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