1,200 Church Leaders Denounce Boris Johnson’s Vaccine Passport Scheme

SALISBURY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11: Mum Jade, waits with her daughter Lola after receiving her Covid-19 jab at a vaccination centre at Salisbury Cathedral on February 11, 2021 in Salisbury, England. Over 13 million people in the United Kingdom have had their first Covid-19 vaccination, including 90 percent of over-70s. …
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Over 1,200 Christian church leaders in Britain have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to abandon any notion of introducing a domestic vaccine passport, which they said represents an existential threat to liberal democracy itself.

In an open letter, the Chuch leaders, Anglican and Catholic alike, warned that domestic vaccine passports are “one of the most dangerous policy proposals” in the history of the United Kingdom.

“There is also a legitimate fear that this scheme would be the thin end of the wedge leading to a permanent state of affairs in which COVID vaccine status could be expanded to encompass other forms of medical treatment and perhaps even other criteria beyond that,” the Christian leaders wrote.

“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,” they warned.

“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 church leaders said that they would be compelled to “vigorously” resist any potential Acts of Parliament to bar worshipers from attending services based on their vaccination status, saying that 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.”

“We call on the government to assert strongly and clearly that it will not contemplate this illiberal and dangerous plan, not now and not ever,” the Christian group concluded.

The letter from the church leaders comes as Boris Johnson’s government has seemingly backtracked on a vaccine passport trial run at large events over the next few weeks.

The events, which will include several high profile football matches and the World Snooker Championship, were initially mooted as a possible test for vaccine passport apps. The trial runs will see attendees be allowed to gather without wearing masks or abiding by social distancing requirements.

Instead of using vaccine passports, the events will use rapid lateral flow testing for the Chinese virus upon entry and exit in order to “test what works best to achieve the aim of returning greater numbers of fans back to indoor and outdoor venues,” The Times reported.

There has been growing opposition to the introduction of vaccine passports domestically in Britain, with a group of around 40 Conservative MPs vowing to vote against the measure. The left-wing Labour Party has also hinted that they will oppose the scheme.

The conflict between religious groups and the government’s draconian lockdown measures was put on full display earlier this month when London’s Metropolitan Police Service shut down a Good Friday service at a Polish Catholic church in Balham for alleged breaches of the coronavirus regulations.

The police later expressed “regret” for causing people to get “upset” by halting the service and threatening parishioners with fines.

The intervention came as Muslim protesters demanding the firing of a teacher at Batley Grammar School for showing images of their prophet during a class on blasphemy were allowed to gather seemingly unimpeded.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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