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UK News

Bishop asks for alternatives to vaccine certificates for those ethically opposed

by Cara Bentley

A Church of England bishop has asked in the House of Lords whether there can be an alternative to vaccine certificates for religious events for people who are opposed to the vaccine. 

Rt Rev Dr Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans. raised the matter on Wednesday during a debate about large events and what measures should be in place to make sure they limit the spread of Covid. 

Bishop Alan said: "My Lords, the Church of England has adopted a clear policy on encouraging people to be vaccinated. However, at the same time, like many organisations, we cater for a variety of people, some with strongly held ethical convictions and objections to the vaccine, covering issues from animal testing to the use of aborted foetal cells. What plans do Her Majesty’s Government have to uphold freedom of religion and belief and offer an alternative to vaccine certification for religious events?"

Baroness Barran, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport replied: "As I am sure the right reverend Prelate is aware, the Government are very concerned about, and keen to uphold, freedom of religion and expression. I will take back the specific question on religious events and write to him."

Some Christians are concerned that some of the vaccines are manufactured using cells derived from human foetuses aborted decades ago. These include AstraZenica/Oxford, using a non-replicating viral vector; and derived from aborted girl’s kidney cell line HEK-293 and Moderna/NIAID, using mRNA and foetal cell line HEK- 293. They say nothing can make the original act better. 

Other Christians argue that the original abortion was carried out for separate reasons and not motivated by scientific research, and that people who take the vaccine now are not complicit in a sin decades ago, in the same way a patient might be saved by a donated organ from a murder victim but is not responsible for their murder. 

Some Christians are pro-choice and may oppose or support the vaccine for other reasons. 

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