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Writer offers another viewpoint on vaccine

Vox Pop

I want to say at the outset, I am not looking to pick a fight, nor am I trying to side with vaxxers or antivaxxers. However, I feel that last week’s letter in this column misrepresented a group of people. While I believe that there are people on both sides of the vaccination issue (typically at the extremes) that are using misinformation and stereotypes to make the other side appear foolish, I choose to believe the vast majority of both sides just want to do the right thing. I think the point of difference is who we trust and listen to when trying to make the right decision.

“Trust the science” is a phrase I have heard repeated over and over in recent months. As a member of the Christian Conservative group, it is not my first instinct to simply trust the science. Whether or not we have the education and degrees of our counterparts on the left is not the issue — rather, we choose to listen to the admonition of Scripture. Psalms 118:8 tells us “It is better to trust the Lord than to put confidence in men.” Some Christians have also looked to Psalm 91 as an example of how to respond to the crisis in our world. Much like the three young men about to be thrown in the fiery furnace, we know our God has the power to deliver us; but even if He chooses not to, we will not deny Him (story in Daniel 3). Our scripture tells us that this type of belief will seem foolish to those who do not believe, so we should not be surprised when we are maligned for trust in God.

With that said, most anti-vaxxers I know are not hateful liars (nor are vaxxers, for that matter). They just are not willing to take the word of scientists. In my lifetime, scientists have declared “God is dead” and “The cosmos is all there is, was, or ever will be.” I feel they have also weighed in on other topics not within their purview. Science in general has shown little respect for religious beliefs, so why should it expect respect from those it has dissed. Personally, I would be much more comfortable trusting science if it/they were willing to ‘stay in your own lane, bro.’ I don’t think I am alone in that belief.

An often repeated promise in Scripture is the providing of wisdom for those who will seek it (and this is referring to Godly, not worldly, wisdom). I have prayed frequently for this recently, for a number of reasons. I want to do right by God, and by my fellow man. Currently, I feel the right thing to do (for me) is to be vaccinated — not because I fear COVID-19, but because it would help to alleviate the fears of others. I am heeding Scripture that reminds me to seek good for others, and not act out of selfishness. But to others who interpret the word differently, being vaccinated might violate a core belief. I can and should respect that, even though I arrive at a different conclusion.

In conclusion, shaming people into compliance is not the way to make an ally. I don’t feel we accomplish much with stereotypes and distrust of each other. Every group just wants respect, and the opportunity to pursue their God-given rights. As the doctor said at the conclusion of his [December 24] letter, I care about people too. I will pray for the health of their body and soul, and for peace of mind, in the days ahead.

— Larry W. Diepenbrock, Medford