CNN Expert: Faith Can Kill, So Biden Admin Needs ‘Guidelines’ for Religious Vaccine Exemptions
Most people tend to tune out news programming on the weekends, and that’s a good thing — unless you want to see the unhinged, tone-deaf side of cable news you don’t usually get on weekdays.
Tiffany Cross on MSNBC is one of the go-tos if you suffer from hypotension and need to raise your blood pressure a few notches, for instance. In one memorable episode, she called South Carolina GOP Sen. Tim Scott, who is black, a “token” and said he was the kind of person “Harriet Tubman would have left behind.”
At the same network, Al Sharpton hosts “PoliticsNation,” where the éminence grise of grievance politics grapples with the issues of the day and/or the teleprompter. Over at CNN, Brian Stelter hosts “Reliable Sources;” the network might as well air a show called “Your Favorite Democrat with Roger Stone.”
CNN’s Michael Smerconish is reasonably fair, considering his employers let Mr. Stelter get away with that title. He’s also a dreadful bore, which is why he’s buried away in the Saturday schedule.
However, he can have guests like Dr. Robert Klitzman, a man who believes faith kills — which is why he wants to put careful “guidelines” on how the Biden administration will handle religious exemptions from the new vaccine mandate.
A segment on Smerconish’s latest show ostensibly dealt with what constitutes a “sincere” religious belief.
Smerconish noted that no significant religious denomination has come out in opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine. Never mind the millions of Americans who belong to non-denominational congregations.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, religion includes “religious beliefs that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal church or sect, only subscribed to by a small number of people, or that seem illogical or unreasonable to others.”
“That puts employers in the difficult position of determining what a legitimate religious belief is and what’s a dodge,” Smerconish said.
One can quickly think of a way this problem could have been avoided — not forcing employers to determine what constitutes a sincere religious belief in the first place — but that likely isn’t Smerconish’s take. Instead, we have Klitzman, the head of the bioethics master’s program at Columbia University.
He wants to make sure people aren’t just “checking off the box” to get a religious exemption from the vaccine mandate.
Klitzman had previously written an Op-Ed for the Los Angeles Times that mined much of the same territory, claiming religious exemptions would present a severe impediment to beating the coronavirus.
He, like Smerconish, was perplexed.
“Pope Francis and the national leadership of many churches, including Mormon leaders and the National Assn. of Evangelicals, have strongly endorsed vaccination,” he wrote. “Alas, not all religious organizations are complying.”
That’s the language you want to use. Why won’t you comply, vaccine-hesitant people?
Just two sentences later, he used Islamic terrorists to explain why religious freedom should be curbed and questioned during a pandemic.
“So there are people who say — for instance, there are some Muslims who are jihadists, who say my religious belief is that I should kill infidels,” Klitzman said.
“We don’t say, ‘Fine; you have the religious belief you want to harm other people, go and harm other people.’ So there are limits in our society to how far religious beliefs can go.”
Yes, Klitzman conflates the decision not to get vaccinated with the jihadist’s decision to kill innocent people. Perhaps this example was spitballed on the fly. Maybe Dr. Klitzman needs to learn how to spitball better.
He went on to say that “we need to come up with guidelines. I think that the Biden administration and state and local health departments, for instance, need to say, ‘Here is what can be done rather than just checking off a box.’”
“I think people are using it as an excuse,” Klitzman added.
“People are saying, ‘I just don’t want a vaccine, be it because of my political views, or I don’t want someone jabbing me in the arm.’ But we need to remember that by not getting a vaccine, we are putting other people in danger.”
So, if we were to reduce this to an elevator pitch to get shots in the arms of those who are unvaccinated because of a religious belief, genuine or spurious, here’s Klitzman’s take: “Jihadists kill. Therefore, faith kills. Religion is all an excuse to disobey the government, anyhow. Stop getting in the way, plebs.”
Klitzman’s solution would put the presumption of fakery on religious exemption applicants, forcing them to either prove to the government their religious belief is genuine, take a vaccine that goes against those deep-seated beliefs, or potentially lose their jobs.
This is a pathway to compliance for Dr. Robert Klitzman. This is what’s supposed to foster trust in the vaccines and the government. Something this counterproductive would almost be funny if it weren’t so severe.
Cross-posted from The Western Journal.
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
I know some will say that if you should get the vaccine or not, that should have nothing to do with your religious beliefs, or in the case here, they want the government to demand that you are guilty of fraud until you can prove your claim is genuine. I have a massive problem with this; others don’t determine the constitution and our rights. It is determined by ourselves or belief, even if held by ourselves is our right, even if it is a faith of one.
My dealings with this may be more personal than with others; right now, I have COVID, so does my son, wife, brother, and sister in law who lives with us. Where this gets more personal, I had covid last fall, I did get my vaccines because I have a very sick wife that is in palliative care, she is now in the ICU on a ventilator fighting for her life, yet even with this, I would fight for her right to take the vaccine or not, if her religion forbids it, regardless of the outcome.
COVID is no joke; I am very sick, so is my child; my wife does not have a good chance of coming out of this alive. So while I give no medical advice, I am not a doctor, if you want that, contact your physician, but I can say that this COVID is no joke.
There are times where people stand on faith, that faith can be tested, sometimes they may even lose the battle, but is the battle worth the fight? I would say every time that it is for sure worth this fight. We must hold that faith does hold power over government mandates, at least within reason. The doctor is correct in that we don’t have to allow people to slaughter others because their faith dictates it, but is this what taking or refusing a vaccine does?
As I said, I am no doctor, but I have been told my whole life, I get a vaccine not to protect others from getting a virus, instead, to protect myself from it, so if someone gets vaccinated or not, how is this affecting my status if I am vaccinated? There could also be the question of how effective this vaccine is. I got it to protect my spouse; now she is sick, all of us are, so I must ask, what did I get the vaccine for?
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.