I am accepting the religious exemption from the vaccine mandate for teachers in the State of Washington.
I converted to the Catholic faith in 2013. Since then, I have tried to live my life in accordance with the scriptures, the teachings of my church, and with my conscience. I have tried to make sure that I avoid any medication or vaccine that owes its development, whether wholly or in part, to the abortion industry.
I recently learned that a company called Seneomyx has been using aborted fetal cell lines, specifically HEK 293, to create flavor enhancers for the food and beverage industry. All Pepsi products now use flavor enhancers from Seneomyx. Therefore, I am now boycotting all Pepsi products. The same goes for Nestle and Kraft products. The HEK 293 cell line used by Seneomyx was also used to test the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Here’s an explanation about how we got that cell line:
“HEK stands for human embryonic kidney. To harvest a viable embryonic kidney for this purpose, sufficiently healthy children old enough to have adequately-developed kidneys must be removed from the womb, alive, typically by cesarean section, and have their kidneys cut out. This must take place without anesthesia for the child, which would lessen the viability of the organs. Instead of being held, rocked, and comforted in the time intervening between their birth and their death, they have organs cut out of them alive” https://www.crisismagazine.com/2021/catholic-conscience-and-the-covid-19-vaccine
Tearing kidneys out of a baby girl is inherently immoral no matter how much good we think might come of it sometime in the future.
I avoid all products that conflict with my conscience which is informed by the light of faith in God. But now, the Governor of the State of Washington is telling me that I MUST get a vaccine that was created or tested using the fetal cell lines from aborted fetuses, or face losing my job. If I refuse to buy Pepsi, Nestle, and Kraft products, I must also refuse to take the Covid shot for the same reason.
The government has willfully ignored more ethical research in favor of Big Pharma. The John Paul II Medical Research Institute, for example, is developing a vaccine that is in no way connected to abortion. However, they do not have the funding that the large pharmaceutical companies Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna were given. While JPIIMRI must rely on donations from individuals, the Big Pharma vaccines were fully funded by taxpayer dollars. My hard-earned money went to these companies which now stand to make over $40 billion from these vaccines this year alone.
The Biden administration has removed the Hyde Amendment, which used to protect my federal tax dollars from directly funding abortion. As a result, simply paying my federal income tax makes me complicit in the evil of abortion. Still, I continue to pay my taxes because of Jesus’s direction in Luke 20:25 to give unto Caesar what is Caesar.
However, when it comes to the command to glorify God with my body which belongs to God (1Corinthians 6:20), I must give to God what is God’s. I cannot in good conscience take a vaccine that could just as easily have been developed without promoting the abortion industry. To me, not polluting the body, which belongs to God, with abortion-tainted medicines is an act of religious worship. Additionally, by getting the vaccine, I would be testifying to the world that I accept this practice and that I think more products should be developed using aborted fetal cells. I don’t. And I dare not go against my Church and bear false witness in this regard.
The author Ursula K. Leguin has a short story called “The ones who walk away from Omelas.” The story is set in a utopian society where everyone is healthy and happy and well fed, etc. There’s just one catch. The citizens all know that locked away in dark closet in a basement is a young child who is not allowed to join in the society. The child is given food from time to time, but nobody is allowed to talk with the child or hold the child or show the child any sign of care and compassion. I believe that’s a good analogy for the society we live in today.
It is my religious duty to be one of those “who walk away from Omelas.” I am thankful that my government has not yet gone so far as to deny religious exemptions like this, and I gratefully accept the exemption being offered in this case.