We all need to get behind this vitally important Declaration:
A brand-new Declaration from Australia brings together biblical injunctions with modern-day concerns about medical apartheid. Addressed to the Australian Prime Minister, and written by three Queensland pastors, it speaks about the very real worry of vaccine passports and the damage they will do to a free society.
I have often addressed both aspects of what is found in this important Declaration. I have written about the need for watchmen which we read about in Ezekiel 3 and 33. Here is one of those pieces: billmuehlenberg.com/2008/09/28/on-the-need-for-watchmen/
And I have written numerous articles warning against health fascism and the creation of a new medical underclass because of vaxx passports. See here for example: billmuehlenberg.com/2021/04/16/just-say-no-to-vaxx-passports/
The ever-helpful website Caldron Pool was the first to break the story, so let me quote from a new article Ben Davis has just produced on this important Declaration:
Timothy Grant of Mount Isa Baptist Church, Matthew Littlefield of New Beith Baptist Church, and Warren McKenzie of Biota Baptist Church said they penned the letter after it became clear there were few people resisting the developing medical two-tiered society.
“Part of me had been waiting for more experienced and more senior pastors or denominational leaders in Australia to speak up about what was happening,” co-author, Pastor Littlefield said. “But it was becoming clear this wasn’t going to happen any time soon.
“I knew many Christians were confused by this,” he said. “They want to know what pastors are thinking. So many people have heard Christians argue in apologetics that the Church has done much good for society, and now when so much is happening, the Church appears silent.” caldronpool.com/over-400-church-leaders-take-a-stand-against-vaccine-passports-in-open-letter-to-prime-minister-scott-morrison/
Caldron Pool deserves a lot of credit for hosting this Declaration on its site and for making it widely known. And it is already going great guns, with over 450 church leaders having signed it, along with well over 3000 other Christians. But let me quote here from select parts of the actual Declaration:
The Ezekiel Declaration
Watchmen, It’s Time To Speak
To the Honourable Scott Morrison,
As Christian leaders, you should be aware that in accordance with scripture we regularly pray for “and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:2).
We do write however, to you regarding a matter of significant concern. Namely, the proposed introduction of ‘vaccine passports’ into Australian society. For many Christian leaders and Christians, this is an untenable proposal that would inflict terrible consequences on our nation.
We should initially note that we are not the first generation that has been confronted with the question of ‘vaccine passports.’ Writing in 1880, aware of the challenges that a smallpox epidemic brought to society, the Christian theologian Abraham Kuyper wrote,
“Vaccination certificates will therefore have to go… The form of tyranny hidden in these vaccination certificates is just as real a threat to the nation’s spiritual resources as a smallpox epidemic itself.” -Kuyper, A. 2015. Our Program: A Christian Political Manifesto. (p. 249). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press; Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty.
Between 1901 and 1905, Abraham Kuyper would hold the office of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. He evidently understood that a ‘vaccine passport’ would represent a measure that was equal to if not worse than an epidemic itself through the oppressive control over people’s lives. As Christian ministers, we would also agree with Kuyper’s analysis on such a measure, and for several reasons.
First, the government risks creating an unethical two-tiered society. While some individuals will receive the vaccination with thanks, others may have good and informed reasons for declining. One such reason is highlighted in the statement of the health minister Greg Hunt:
“The world is engaged in the largest clinical trial, the largest global vaccination trial ever, and we will have enormous amounts of data.” (Australian Department of Health)
Free citizens should have the right of consent, especially when the vaccine rollout has been labelled as a ‘clinical trial.’ Imposing a ‘vaccine passport’ when the nation is already divided on the matter risks the creation of medical apartheid. The result being that those who decline the vaccine are ostracised and alienated from aspects of public life. History has never reflected well for those who would promote segregation. As there has been no discussion that the precautionary measures will be retracted once the pandemic has concluded, there is a real concern that many of these measures will remain permanent. A ‘vaccine passport’ would therefore represent the dangerous precipice of a therapeutic totalitarianism that does not promote liberty and human flourishing, but would rather only dehumanise and control its citizens all under the cloak of personal health and safety.
Second, a good portion of the population are already burdened to the point of despair. Granted, we understand why our leaders felt compelled to lockdown in March 2020. The threat was unknown and our ability to withstand it, untested. However, it is now 2021, and the adverse effects of perpetual lockdowns are now being revealed. We understand needing to respond, but we are concerned with heavy-handed approaches that exceed people’s capacity to live a normal life. We are compelled to speak out on behalf of struggling people, the needy, the destitute, those being harmed by such strong measures (Proverbs 31:8-9)….
Third, conscience should never be coerced. The conscience is one of the innermost expressions that animates an individual, and that allows them to worship God as well as obey a legitimate governing authority. The conscience is the immediate contact of God’s presence in a person’s soul, and so an individual forced to act in a way that is objectionable to their conscience will never be at peace, either before God or before the state. A government that endeavours to force or coerce an individual who is striving to honour God, will find that they only encounter resistance. Regarding the need for a free conscience, Kuyper writes, “Conscience is therefore the shield of the human person, the root of all civil liberties, the source of a nation’s happiness.”…
Fourth, making vaccination the basis of participating in normal life would make no logical sense in terms of protecting others. A “CDC study shows 74% of people infected in Massachusetts Covid outbreak were fully vaccinated,” especially noting that four of those who were vaccinated were admitted to hospital. As we have said, we respect people’s right and choice to be vaccinated. But this type of data, published by America’s leading body of disease experts, causes people to wonder about the effectiveness of the vaccine along with concern about coercive measures by which to have it administered. As it is evident that vaccines do not prevent infection, to restrict a person’s access to society based on a medical choice is questionable.
Fifth, we as Christian leaders find it untenable that we would be expected to refuse entry into our churches to a subgroup of society based on their medical choice. Only our precious Saviour, Jesus Christ, has the authority to regulate the terms of corporate worship. These terms tell us that we are to make no distinction between those who call out in faith, neither on race nor medical choice. We are also under obligation to proclaim the gospel to all men. Our strongest conviction is that this gospel message is the greatest news ever to be pronounced, and includes nothing less than God’s free gift of saving grace, and the offer of eternal life to all who would respond in repentance and faith. To refuse people access to this message would betray our Saviour and everything he calls us to uphold. Any expectation to enforce a ‘vaccine passport’ on our churches would be met with passionate resistance.
You can read the entire Declaration here: caldronpool.com/ezekieldeclaration/
And you can sign it here: caldronpool.com/ezekieldeclaration/#sign
Please do, and share it far and wide. Our Prime Minister and other political leaders desperately need to know just how important this matter is, and that countless Australians – be they Christians or not – are greatly upset by this new medical discrimination taking place, and with a new group of health untouchables arising as a result.
Well done to the three pastors who drafted this Declaration, for Caldron Pool in promoting it, and all those who have already signed it. It is hoped that many more church leaders will sign it, along with many tens of thousands of other concerned citizens.