Freedom Rings in Mississippi
The right to a religious exemption has been restored after 44 years
Last week an incredibly insightful federal judge issued a decision and order that will allow, for the first time in 44 years, children in Mississippi to attend school when their parents’ convictions do not permit them to be vaccinated.
This is also the first time in U.S. history that a religious exemption has been restored by a court as a First Amendment right under the United States Constitution.
These children were never going to be vaccinated—their parents’ convictions were such that they chose to bear the burden of homeschooling or moving over the border to a neighboring state, rather than comply with school immunization requirements.
Excluding them from school simply caused harm to these children, nothing more, because excluding them from school does not make them simply disappear from society and communal life.
Schools are not hermetically sealed bubbles. These children will still be playing with other children, playing on sports teams, going to stores, restaurants, church, etc.
Even our “health” authorities admit unvaccinated children can safely attend school, but they will only permit that for secular reasons (e.g., medical exemptions) but not for religious reasons (e.g., when a parent believes vaccination will damn their and their child’s immortal soul).
All that exclusion from school does is harm these children by limiting their opportunities. It accomplishes nothing else. It is simply punitive. We can, and as of last week, are doing better as a society in that regard.
The illogical, irrational, and unethical exclusion of these children from school was on full display by a law professor and professor of ethics when they penned an article attacking the restoration of a religious exemption in Mississippi. The article began by stating:
Mississippi consistently ranks last or near-last in the United States on measures of health. But for decades, it ranked highest in vaccination rates, because of its strong vaccination law. Now, that singular achievement may change, thanks to a case brought by an anti-vaccine group....
They literally began their article arguing that while Mississippi has had the highest vaccination rate for decades it has the worst health outcomes in the country! Their vaccine zealotry is so strong that this didn’t trigger a light bulb for them. The reality is that people who lack respect for civil and individual rights and resort to force because they cannot persuade on merit, like these authors, have caused more harm to the reputation of vaccines than anyone else.
Congratulations to Mississippi and all the children that now have the opportunity go to school for the first time!