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On mandatory vaccines and “My body, my choice”

Don’t we live in strange times? Thousands of people are calling on governments all over the world to mandate vaccines for everyone twelve years old and older. These same people are often the loudest proponents of the principle: “My body, my choice!”

How does that make sense? If the argument for allowing women to end the life of their unborn child is based on the false principle that their bodily autonomy trumps all, how can they also argue for the government to mandate the insertion of all kinds of chemicals into one’s body? Shouldn’t it be: my body, my choice?

Absolute autonomy – the rule of one’s self – is also the rationale against conversion therapy, and it is the rationale for stripping parental rights in all kinds of areas, but this is probably most damaging when parents want to resist their child’s wishes for sex alignment therapies and surgeries. Because we must let everyone do with their bodies as they wish, without limit, and without any opposing opinions offered.

Does it not strike you as extremely ironic, and terribly inconsistent, that the warriors for abortion, conversion therapy bans, and for stripping parental rights – all in the name of autonomy – are the same warriors arguing for mandatory vaccination? (Might this be an irony we can point out, to the benefit of the unborn?)

Of course, Christians do not claim, “My body, my choice”, nor do we claim that we are autonomous selves. Rather, we understand that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit; that we belong body and soul to our faithful Saviour. We also know that we have been given stewardship of those bodies, to care for them as best as we know how.

That means that while some of us may get vaccinated to God’s glory, others will refuse to do so to God’s glory. Some will argue: “Because my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, I will not get vaccinated” while others: “Because my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, I will get vaccinated.” That’s okay. We do not all have to agree. But Christians should be agreed, it seems to me, to be against mandatory vaccinations. We need to have the freedom to act according to our own conscience when it comes to weighing the consequences of receiving, or not receiving, the vaccination; we need freedom to make the best decision in how we serve the Lord with our body.

Chris deBoer is the Executive Director of Reformed Perspective Foundation.

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