You are here: HomeNews20211014 › Vaccination A Discussion Paper For Salvationists

Vaccination: a discussion paper for Salvationists

Vaccination: a discussion paper for Salvationists

Vaccination: a discussion paper for Salvationists

14 October 2021

The Salvation Army Moral and Social Issues Council (MASIC) has released ‘Vaccinations: a discussion paper for Australian Salvationists’ to provide a framework for a theologically informed conversation around the issue. Image by Getty.

By Faye Michelson

Recent images of people marching through our city streets to protest the COVID-19 vaccination exposed the depth of community anxiety and anger over the ‘no jab-no job’ mandate.

Not only is there apprehension about vaccine side-effects, but fear and fury have also erupted over the perceived erosion of rights, fuelled by a plethora of information and misinformation available in the media and online.

It’s a contentious subject, which is why The Salvation Army Moral and Social Issues Council (MASIC) has released ‘Vaccinations: a discussion paper for Australian Salvationists’. It aims to provide a framework for a theologically informed conversation around the issue.

MASIC’s brief is to promote respectful dialogue with a Christian viewpoint around controversial issues to help individuals make informed decisions, says Chair Amanda Merrett. “The topic of vaccinations is relevant for all Australians, therefore it’s relevant for Salvationists.”

“It’s also a divisive topic for many Salvationists, with people holding numerous views on vaccinations. MASIC produced this discussion paper with the hope that employees, Salvationists, and people connected to our faith communities can think through the topic of vaccinations in an informed way, while also considering our theology and tradition.”

Earlier this year, several church denominations expressed concern that aborted foetus cells were used to develop COVID-19 vaccinations. Amanda says territorial leadership approached MASIC for guidance.

“MASIC worked with Dr Graeme Young (a previous MASIC Chair) to prepare a moral and theological reflection on that particular issue. From that, a broader discussion paper on vaccinations was developed,” she says.

This involved a working group researching the topic to identify which subjects would be the most relevant for Salvationists.

The five topics presented in the discussion paper are: individual rights versus collective rights; mandatory vaccinations and informed consent; equitable access to vaccines; fast-tracking vaccines and risk-benefit analysis, and vaccines derived from human biological material. Each topic includes references to information sources, a biblical perspective and concludes with questions for reflection and discussion.

“It’s important that we think about moral and social issues, how they impact our lives, but also how they impact the lives of our neighbours,” says Amanda. “When we discuss controversial topics, such as vaccinations, we can learn from others, and we are given the opportunity to hear the experiences of people who come from different backgrounds.

“It also encourages us to think about ideas we hadn’t thought about before. For example, prior to COVID-19, how many of us had considered the ethics of fast-tracking vaccines?”

The discussion paper is designed to be used individually or in group settings, such as church, Bible studies, and social services activities.

“These types of discussions require people to bring their thoughts and opinions with grace, respect and care for others; this paper is not designed to create more division,” Amanda says.

“It’s also important to note that the purpose of these discussions is not to seek uniformity of thinking. We don’t have to think the same thing; that’s OK. It’s about how we live faithfully with our disagreement.”

Download the discussion paper here

 

Comments

No comments yet - be the first.

Leave a Comment


- Will not be published

Email me follow-up comments

Note: Your comment requires approval before being published.

Default avatarWould you like to add a personal image? Visit gravatar.com to get your own free gravatar, a globally-recognized avatar. Once setup, your personal image will be attached every time you comment.