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Unvaccinated people are not the virus

On my social media platforms last week, I said:

A COVID-19 vaccination injection is administered. | Unsplash/Mufid Majnun

“If you do not stand with me in 2021 while the government segregates me for being unvaccinated, Why should I believe you would have stood with me in 1921 when the government segregated people like me for being “threatening” to white people? Is segregation ever justifiable?”

That offended many people who support or sympathize with vaccine passports. They were offended I indicated their support for vaccine passports suggests they might not have advocated against segregation 100 years ago.

The most common objection to my words addressed the supposedly different basis or motives for Jim Crow segregation and vaccine segregation. For instance, one person replied to my questions with:

“For one, ‘race’ is an inalienable attribute whereas vaccination is a choice. Second, unlike the racial fear-mongerings of priors decades, in principle unvaccinated people actually pose *some* risk to others.” 

That argument, however, is destructive. Indeed, there is a difference between our skin color and our personal choices. Every skin color honors God. Not every choice, however, honors God. Nevertheless, that argument prioritizes the wrong inalienable attribute.

America’s Founding Fathers were right when they said:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

All people are created equal — that includes black people and it includes unvaccinated people. What made Jim Crow segregation evil isn’t that it discriminated against some people’s skin color. No, what made Jim Crow segregation evil is that it discriminated against people who are made in the image of God. In the same way, what makes vaccine segregation evil is that it discriminates against people who are made in the image of God. 

Since discrimination against a particular group of people requires an excuse, it’s always linked with unscientific justifications and characterizations. For instance, Jim Crow advocates defended racial segregation by making the unscientific claim that black people are biologically inferior and a morally corrupt group who threaten the peace and safety of white people.

In a similar sense, some people who support or sympathize with vaccine passports claim, “in principle unvaccinated people actually pose *some* risk to others.” 

That, however, is an unscientific claim. That is discrimination against unvaccinated people. That is partiality.

Unvaccinated people do not pose any risk to others — at least not anymore “risk” than vaccinated people. Unvaccinated people are not unclean. Unvaccinated people are not threatening. Unvaccinated people are not the virus. 

The people who pose some risk to others are people infected with the virus — whether they are unvaccinated or vaccinated. This is basic science. Their vaccination status doesn’t matter. 

It’s disturbing that needs to be said. Unvaccinated people are not the virus. It might be dangerous or risky to be around infected people, but it’s not dangerous or risky to be around unvaccinated people.

An unvaccinated person isn’t an infected person.

However, because of our unscientific and unrighteous justifications for discriminating against unvaccinated people, we’re destroying so many lives and livelihoods.

Some people claim COVID vaccine passports and mandates are not unprecedented. But that’s not true. Indeed, other forms of vaccine mandates exist. However, these other vaccine mandates are not nearly as widespread or as mandatory as the COVID vaccine mandates. 

The vast majority of the billions of people around the world have never been asked to show proof of their vaccination statuses in order to live as an average member of society. And from what I understand, these existing vaccine mandates are for serious diseases, not viral infections. Actually—from what I understand—vaccines have never been mandated (at least, widely) for a viral infection with a relatively low death rate as COVID-19.

Still, the unscientific and unrighteous issue with vaccine passports and mandates is that they associate unvaccinated people with infected people. 

Many of us do not seem to understand — or want to understand — that an unvaccinated person isn’t an infected person.

You see, It’s not wrong to sequester infected people — whether they are unvaccinated or vaccinated. There is a scientific and righteous basis for that. After all, God instructed ancient Israel to quarantine people with infectious diseases (Leviticus 13:2).

However, God didn’t instruct ancient Israel to segregate healthy people. There isn’t a scientific or righteous basis for segregating healthy people.

Nevertheless, since I am an unvaccinated person in Canada — by the end of November, I will not be allowed to take a plane (or drive across the border) to marry my fiancée in Ohio. I have to choose between a vaccine I desperately do not need and a wife I desperately need.

In Oakville, Ontario — a city just 20 minutes from my home — unvaccinated couples will not be granted marriage licenses unless they get the vaccine.

In Toronto, Canada’s largest organ transplant centers have introduced a policy that bans unvaccinated people from receiving organ transplants.

In Newfoundland, like many denominations and churches across Canada, the Pentecostal Assemblies Of Newfoundland And Labrador have made the COVID vaccine mandatory in their denomination. Every unvaccinated church member and visitor will be banned from entering their churches for worship.

One of these unvaccinated church members is a father of a friend of mine. My friend prayed for her elderly father’s salvation for many years. Her prayers were answered last year when by the grace of God, her father became a believer.

However, his church is now treating him as worse than an unbeliever. She says, “he’s so defeated.”

My friend tells me her father is considering leaving Newfoundland to live with her, her husband, and their children — so they can attend a good church together. However, that could be impossible.

He might need a vaccine passport to leave Newfoundland.

Meanwhile, many of the evangelicals who remain silent about these injustices in 2021 continue to virtue signal about why our evangelical forefathers maintained silence about segregation in 1921.

No one is obligated to speak against every injustice in our society. However, what does is it say about us when we’re more concerned about addressing the injustices of yesterday than the injustices of today?

Originally published at Slow to Write

Samuel Sey is a Ghanaian-Canadian who lives in Brampton, a city just outside of Toronto. He is committed to addressing racial, cultural, and political issues with biblical theology, and always attempts to be quick to listen and slow to speak.

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