Who would have imagined that the First World privilege of getting a vaccination would stir up such resistance from the very people we trust to promote and preserve our health!?

It can be hard to step back from the passions and noise of those close to us, but if you can, here is a bit more to consider for the medical personnel hoping to obtain religious exemptions.

  • On Jan. 14, Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, got his first dose. He said, “Thanks to God’s grace and the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from COVID-19.” He called getting vaccinated both a simple and profound way to care for one another. On Aug. 18, Pope Francis spoke out again to urge people to accept the vaccine calling it an ‘Act of Love’.

  • On March 7, the 14th Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of the Buddhist faith got his first dose of the vaccine. He was photographed from his home in exile in India, and indicated that he wanted more people to have the courage to be vaccinated. While this was happening, thousands of funeral pyres were burning the bodies of COVID-19 victims across India. Those people had no choice about their access to life-saving vaccines.

  • On March 17, Elizabeth Eaton, presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, celebrated her vaccination as the beginning of “life out of isolation.”

  • On March 31 in Minnesota, 16 Islamic imams gathered to be vaccinated and to show leadership to their faithful calling it “a religious duty.”

  • By mid-April, more than 80% of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Rabbis in Israel had been vaccinated, despite a ferocious campaign against vaccines by their followers (who were becoming sick and dying in great numbers). They had to protect their community.

All of these faith leaders did their part out of love and obligation to one another as well as their larger community. They acknowledge and respect the science that partners with faith to sustain life and health for all of us.

Let’s step back from the threats and noise and fist pumping at the intersection last Saturday and ponder the alternative – a simple and profound way to care for one another, an act of courage, a religious duty, a beginning to life out of isolation, an act of love.