If you have been reading my blog for a while, you already know that I am against vaccination mandates, so you don’t have to guess at my answer to this question. (Full disclosure: I am vaccinated against COVID.) Why then, you may wonder, am I bothering to devote a post to answering this question? Read on.
On August 30, 2021 Don Lemon, a CNN host, went on a rant against the unvaccinated. Here’s a portion of what he said: “If you’re not going to get vaccinated, you don’t want to social distance, you don’t want to wear a mask, then maybe you don’t want to go to the hospital when you get sick. I know that sounds harsh, but you’re taking up the space for people who are doing things the right way.” A little later, he added, “Think about someone other than yourself. And if you don’t believe that COVID is real and that it can affect your health and possibly take your life, don’t go to the hospital then when you get sick.” Finally, he added this: “Don’t take up the resources from other people who are playing by the rules, getting vaccinated, social distancing and putting their lives on the line to try to take care of the people who are there. That’s all I’m saying. That’s how I feel and I have no apologies.”
Lemon’s statements are problematic on several levels. First of all, he clearly thinks that the unvaccinated are acting selfishly in not getting the vaccine; I suppose he is not aware of natural immunity, for example. And does he honestly think that the unvaccinated believe COVID is not real? Also, notice his phrase “playing by the rules.” You are probably aware that several of President Biden’s illegal vaccine mandates have been struck down in court; so, who’s the one who hasn’t been playing by the rules? Finally, notice Lemon’s “That’s how I feel.” So much for any semblance of objectivity by a “journalist.”
Then on January 19, just a week ago, shock jock Howard Stern went on his own rant against the unvaccinated. Here’s a portion of what he said: “If it was up to me, anyone unvaccinated would not be admitted to a hospital. At this point, they have been given plenty of opportunity to get the vaccine. No one’s sitting there conspiring against you. Americans don’t want to create a vaccine that’s going to turn you into a robot or magnetize you,” he continued. “It’s time for you to get it. Now, if you don’t get it, in my America, all hospitals would be closed to you. You’re going to go home and die. That is what you should get. Absolutely.” I might add that in early September of 2021, about a week after Lemon’s rant, Stern went on another rant against the unvaccinated, using the F word multiple times.
Let’s just say that I’m thankful Howard Stern (like Don Lemon) doesn’t have any real authority in this country. I’m willing to put aside his bizarre reference to “turn[ing] you into a robot or magnetiz[ing] you,” but Stern obviously thinks the unvaccinated should not be admitted into hospitals if they have COVID but should instead “go home and die. That is what you should get.” In other words, you deserve death.
I actually have some sympathy for Howard Stern in that he’s 68 and is thus part of the demographic most at risk of dying from COVID. I have written elsewhere about fear in relation to COVID, but I understand that Stern, who is not a Christian, has no hope. He has even questioned whether Jesus Christ ever existed and has said that man created God. Don Lemon is 55, so he is in less danger of dying from COVID than Stern. However, like Stern, he is not a Christian. He is gay and has said that anyone who believes the Bible is naive; he has also said that Jesus was not perfect.
I’m a little surprised that anyone is still ranting against the unvaccinated for several reasons. First of all, for those who follow the science, it has become very evident that the vaccinated both get and spread COVID, just as the unvaccinated do. The main benefit of the vaccines seems to be that they prevent COVID cases from becoming as serious. In addition, many of those who have gotten and survived COVID have natural immunity, which has been shown to provide much better protection than the vaccines. There is also the fact that people with Omicron, the current dominant strain (accounting for 98.3% of all new cases in the U.S.), usually have mild symptoms. Unsurprisingly, it is much less deadly than Delta, for example; in fact, the World Health Organization, in a report released in late 2021, said that of the 38 countries touched by Omicron, none had reported Omicron-specific deaths. Almost a month into 2022, I haven’t been able to find any hard stats about Omicron deaths except that patients who have died with Omicron have not necessarily died from it; the majority had preexisting conditions.
I’m thankful that I have not yet heard of a Christian who so strongly believes in COVID vaccination that they have said unvaccinated people should be denied hospital care. I agree with other people who have said that such a statement is like saying that a smoker with lung cancer should be denied medical care because he brought it on himself. Those of us who are Christians should not be controlled by fear or by some strange vaccination legalism but by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 comes to mind: “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”