Over a thousand Christian leaders in the UK have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson protesting proposed coronavirus vaccine passports as an illicit form of “coercion.”
We are “wholly opposed” to the introduction of vaccine passports, which make “no logical sense in terms of protecting others,” declare the signatories, a group comprising some 1,330 Anglican, Protestant, and Catholic clergy.
The introduction of vaccine passports “would constitute an unethical form of coercion and violation of the principle of informed consent,” the letter states. “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.”
The ministers also warn that such “COVID-status certificates” would create a dangerous precedent of government intervention and surveillance of citizens, which could bring about “the end of liberal democracy as we know it.”
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“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 reads, and many rightly fear that this measure could lead “to a permanent state of affairs in which COVID vaccine status could be expanded to encompass other forms of medical treatment.”
“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,” the signatories state, and thus, “this constitutes one of the most dangerous policy proposals ever to be made in the history of British politics.”
The pastors and ministers also make clear their intention never to employ the vaccine passport as a criterion for admitting or turning away anyone who wishes to worship.
As Christian leaders “we envisage no circumstances in which we could close our doors to those who do not have a vaccine passport, negative test certificate, or any other ‘proof of health,’” they declare. “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.”
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“To deny people entry to hear this life-giving message and to receive this life-giving ministry would be a fundamental betrayal of Christ and the Gospel,” they insist.
The proposal “would be divisive, discriminatory and destructive to introduce any such mandatory health certification into British society,” the letter concludes. “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.”