News & Politics

Religious Leaders in New York Come Out Against Mandatory Vaccinations

Religious Leaders in New York Come Out Against Mandatory Vaccinations
(Image credit: Megan Fox)

On Monday, religious leaders held a press conference in Albany to push back against the attempts to repeal the religious freedoms in New York that protect people from being coerced into vaccinating against their consciences. In the wake of the measles outbreak in Rockland County and in Brooklyn, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D) and Senator Brad Hoylman (D) introduced S2994, which would force all children to be vaccinated with the entire schedule or be denied access to school.


Parents who use religious exemptions for various reasons have been protesting heavily in Albany since the introduction of this bill. Senator Dinowitz has claimed in the press that there are no valid religious reasons to avoid vaccination. His approach has been aggressive and inflammatory. He was even photographed giving the families of vaccine-injured children the middle finger recently in Albany.

Dinowitz denies that the gesture was directed toward the protesters.

The Reverend Dr. Tom Mahairas, founding pastor of the Manhattan Bible Church and founder of Citivision, spoke out at the press conference. “America was founded on religious liberty from the Mayflower Compact all the way to the Revolution,” he said.

Mahairas continued, pointing a finger at unethical pharmaceutical companies that pushed deadly opioids on America creating the current crisis that President Trump has called a national emergency. “We know there’s a lot of white glove sinners,” he said. “You don’t see them as bad people because they’re not the junkie on the block or the guy selling the drugs to him, they’re doctors! They’re writing prescriptions and they’re taking those prescriptions from the companies that know what they can do and the 74,000 that died two years ago based on the drugs they were taking. Who is responsible for that? The murderer on the street with a gun, or the pharmaceutical companies that produced the drugs and the doctors that wrote those prescriptions knowing what they were doing?” Mahairas runs a drug rehab and has daily experience with the scourge of opioid addiction. “Religious liberty is top priority in America. Please don’t mandate this terrible bill they’re trying to pass in the name of health and medicine, S2994, to undermine the very liberty this country, the United States of America, was founded on.”


Photograph taken by Jenn Shanahan used with permission

John Gilmore from Autism Action Network spoke on the “extraordinarily bitter response” that parents for vaccine choice encounter. “In particular Jeffery Dinowitz, who introduced this bill in a video that is still on his Facebook page called Assembly Update, referred to people such as Reverend Mahairas, who have beliefs and religious viewpoints that are contrary to vaccination as ‘utter garbage,’” said Gilmore. “Mr. Dinowitz is entitled to his beliefs about our beliefs, but I think that level of discourse is something that we really should try to avoid in this country.”

Democrats keep insisting that there are no legitimate religious objections to mandatory vaccination. This is demonstrably false. Gilmore read from the Catholic document “More Reflections on Vaccines Derived from Aborted Human Fetuses.” The Vatican released this statement in 2005 under the guidance of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict.

Therefore, doctors and fathers of families have a duty to take recourse to alternative vaccines (if they exist), putting pressure on the political authorities and health systems so that other vaccines without moral problems become available. They should take recourse, if necessary, to the use of conscientious objection with regard to the use of vaccines produced by means of cell lines of aborted human foetal origin.


Many vaccines were created with aborted human tissue up until as recently as 2015 with Walvax-2 in China. 

We obtained 9 fetuses through rigorous screening based on carefully specified inclusion criteria (see Methods section). The Walvax-2 strain of cells met all of these criteria and proved to be the best cell line following careful evaluation. Therefore it was used for establishing a human diploid cell strain. Walvax-2 was derived from a fetal lung tissue, similar to WI-38 and MRC-5, and was obtained from a 3-month old female fetus aborted because of the presence of a uterine scar from a previous caesarean birth by a 27-year old healthy woman.

PJ Media reached out to Dennis Poust of the New York State Catholic Conference for a statement regarding S2994. “People should vaccinate their children but we would have concerns about any repeal of religious rights,” he said. The conference has not written a formal review of the law as of yet but may if there are significant requests to do so. The Catholic church has strong objections written into the catechism against coercion and taking away informed consent. “Research or experimentation on the human being cannot legitimate acts that are in themselves contrary to the dignity of persons and to the moral law. The subjects’ potential consent does not justify such acts. Experimentation on human beings is not morally legitimate if it exposes the subject’s life or physical and psychological integrity to disproportionate or avoidable risks. Experimentation on human beings does not conform to the dignity of the person if it takes place without the informed consent of the subject or those who legitimately speak for him.”


Gilmore also pointed out that in Indonesia, the MMR vaccine has been declared off limits for containing pork gelatin. “Earlier this year the leading Islamic court in Indonesia found that the measles vaccine in that country is haram, or religiously unacceptable…so apparently the proponents of the bill have not done their homework,” he said.

Coercion by definition is forcing a person to act under threats. This law does exactly that by threatening the removal of education, which is a constitutional right in New York, if the citizen does not submit his child for an unwanted medical procedure. People of conscience have always objected to imposing draconian measures like this bill. Lawmakers are counting on the threat of measles to overwhelm the public’s natural objection to government force despite the lack of deaths relating to the illness.

Reverend Walter Sotelo read a statement from the Evangelical Churches of New York against the bill.

Our churches do not make it our aim to endorse or oppose specific medical interventions, drugs, or vaccines. We recognize that we are not medical or scientific institutions with the role of determining the usefulness of such products. We do encourage our members to wisely research for themselves the potential benefits or side effects of any such procedure or product. As such, our position on NYS Senate Bill S2994A is not based on whether or not we as churches or individuals believe it is right or wrong to inject vaccines into our children. Rather, we oppose S2994A because it is an affront against our religious right to decide as individuals whether or not we will administer these vaccines. This is critically important matter of maintaining our religious freedom.


The Russian Orthodox Church also came out against mandatory vaccination. 

First and foremost, concern for the welfare of children, including their health, is entrusted by God to their parents. The state and society should respect the priority of parental rights. It is well known that, along with the risk of infectious diseases, there is also a risk of serious complications — even death — as a result of prophylactic vaccination. In such a situation, it is the patient himself who should make the choice. In the case of a child, the parents should make the choice . . . . No one has the right to make this choice for them . . .”

It appears that the claim that there are no religious objections to mandatory vaccination is, dare I say it, garbage.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member