COVID-19 Religious Freedom Project for G-20 Summit

Nicholas P. Miller, Andrews University professor of church history and director of the International Religious Liberty Institute, recently presented a policy paper on the topic of “COVID-19 and Religious Liberty” at a Freedom of Religion or Belief working group that met in conjunction with the pre-meetings of the G-20 in Matera, Italy, from June 28–30.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11337

this is kind of an awkward time…many who advocate religious freedom also advocate freedom from mask and vaccine regulations…but they’re unwittingly forcing the state’s hand…since the only way to prevent covid transmission, short of lockdown, is through mask and vaccine mandates, the state has no choice but to clamp down on religious freedom when it is defined in a way that places peoples’ lives at risk…

if people advocating religious freedom consistently used that freedom to comply with vaccine recommendations, invitations, and incentives, there would be no need for mask mandates…in fact there’d be little impetus for mandates of any kind, and the state would leave religion alone…but this isn’t what’s happening…

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These fellows vaguely spell out their approach, but most of the time religious freedom is coupled with special privileges for churches to avoid covid health measures, as if churches qualify as ‘essential’. Compliance, in their view, equates to infringement upon freedom, and mandates become persecution. Yet, no one has the right to spread a deadly disease!

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this is the critical blindspot with many of today’s religious advocates…it would be one thing if paul’s counsels on religious freedoms, which amount to a consideration of the impact these freedoms have on someone else, were followed…but it isn’t…paul’s counsels may not even be known…

i just hope nick isn’t representing our views in a way that places us in this same unfortunate boat…

When you have the Pope advocating that churches follow the safety protocols as well as most non-evangelical Christian churches advocating the same, the problem generally unravels when your dealing with Southern Baptists, Pentecostal’s, and other far right religious institutions insisting that their rights are being violated if they can’t attend church or choir practices etc…Please notice that this is the same area of the country where vaccination rates are lowest, and the delta variant is running rampant. Either their God is ineffective in sparing them from the disease, or they are simply to stupid to realize that God has given them the vaccines with which to eradicate the problem…either way, their “faith” is wearing thin with the rest of us.

Religious freedom does not allow you to cause violence to the rest of society…period.

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it’s so interesting that adventist (egw) prophecy positions sunday worship in just these terms: huge, increasing natural disasters and calamities will be taken as evidence that sunday breakers, namely saturday day sabbathkeepers, are bringing the wrath of god down on society due to their disregard for sunday sacredness…

of course we know this isn’t true, but the prophecy is that it will be widely believed to be true…so it’s fascinating that the churches that claim religious freedom in order to flaunt mask mandates and vaccines, and that are bringing genuine risk and harm to society, seem to be predisposing society against putting any kind of premium on religious freedom…

What is religious freedom? I think this is where the issue lies. I don’t think anyone has actually been told they cannot worship, only that they cannot worship in person. They still have the freedom to worship. ,If their church is not meeting in person, it is probably livestreaming (as many have adapted). There are plenty of churches all over the world who have adapted to this form of worship.

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