In the light of the current mandates, I’ve been contemplating the comparison between vaccine objectors and Conscientious Objectors (CO’s) during the world wars. The stance governments are taking against the COVID pandemic is similar to a war. Vaccine objectors complain this as a disproportionate to the threat- level of COVID’s mortality rate.
To become an expert in this ;-), I spent an afternoon watching YouTube videos about conscientious objectors.
During the world wars, our democratic governments conscripted men to fight for their country. Those who refused were threatened with the death penalty. All men of age were required to register with their draft office. They would be assessed for combat fitness and entered a lottery for conscription. Provision was made for registering as a Conscientious Objector, which resulted in a court appearance to determine the sincerity of the claim. These courts were often biased against the CO.
The media drove the propaganda campaign to vilify the enemy and drive the public to scorn dissenters. Any talk against the war effort could be charged with sedition. CO’s were treated as cowards and traitors to their country. They faced all sorts of abuse and shunned from family friends and society. This reaction is understandable, but horrifically despicable.
Opportunities were provided to accommodate CO’s.
Those refusing to shoot other people could support their country in non-combat roles such as medics. Many CO’s were hugely respected that despite, or maybe because of, their stance, they risked their lives rescuing the dying from the no-man’s-land between the battle lines. Others were involved in logistics or worked in armament factories.
Those refusing to have anything to do with war could support their country by working the farms while there was a lack of such workers.
The last hold-outs were sent to military prisons who would seek to “convince” them to change their minds.
A large group of CO’s was the Quaker church, who claimed religious objection, “Thou shalt not kill”. This is an inappropriate translation that is obviously contradicted through God’s demands for capital punishment. Modern Bibles use the word murder instead.
Murder: the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.
However, particularly in New Testament times, killing is counter-productive to the Biblical narrative of forgiveness and reconciliation. So I appreciate the intent. This is contrasted by the need to protect the innocent, which in WW2 was clearly the case.
In WW1, some protested imperial expansionism, just as people today claim corporate and political greed as being the “true” motivation for the “crisis”.
The most common reason quoted today is “My body, my choice”. In the context of war conscription, this would be met with a rant to the effect of, “You selfish, cowardly bastard!!! I sent my two sons off to war, one of whom died last week fighting for your freedom, and all you can say is ‘My body, my choice.’ Now I’ll march you down to the draft office myself before I make choices about your body!”. I find this saying distasteful from its modern defence of murdering unborn babies and suicide.
Another reason given today is “I know better”, usually accompanied with a veiled version of “they’re all out to get us” or “they’ll all incompetent”. Now to some extent, these claims are true. It’s very easy to provide evidence to support these claims, but I’ve not yet seen a solid case that has withstood the same scrutiny they apply in making their claims. Claims I’ve scrutinized have either been outright lies, use creative statistical bias, or present facts out of context to illicit emotional reaction. An example is, “Vaccines contain baby parts.” The fact is some vaccines are cultivated or tested with cells that derive from two babies that were aborted in the seventies for other reasons. This pales in comparison to the thousands of workers dying from slave labour producing the technology they’re using to share their propaganda.
I feel the root of such claims are pride, a gnostic sense of secret knowledge, but primarily a rejection of authority. God is the chief authority who appoints all others.
1 Peter 2:13 Place yourselves under the authority of human governments to please the Lord. Obey the emperor. He holds the highest position of authority. 14Also obey governors. They are people the emperor has sent to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. 15God wants you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. 16Live as free people, but don’t hide behind your freedom when you do evil. Instead, use your freedom to serve God. 17Honor everyone. Love your brothers and sisters in the faith. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
So don’t hide behind your freedoms, or “my rights” to disobey God’s command.
Others claim religious freedom as the Quakers did. I don’t understand this argument apart from the delusion that the Antichrist enforced a global peace treaty with Israel 3.5 years ago and his mark is now being implemented. The ten-kingdom empire doesn’t even exist yet, which will be around the Mediterranean, including Egypt.
Biblical rights and obligations for Government
Governments are required to establish laws to protect their people and punish those who violate those laws. This derives from God’s instructions to Noah after the flood.
Genesis 9:6 Whoever sheds human blood, by humans his blood will be shed, because in the image of God, God made humans.
In Exodus to Deuteronomy God established government and laws for Israel – both sacred and civic, the latter of which is a model for our own laws.
When Israel demanded a King to be like the other nations, Samuel responded:
1 Samuel 8:11 Samuel said, “These are the rights of a king: He will draft your sons, make them serve on his chariots and horses, and make them run ahead of his chariots. 12He will appoint them to be his officers over 1,000 or over 50 soldiers, to plow his ground and harvest his crops, and to make weapons and equipment for his chariots. 13He will take your daughters and have them make perfumes, cook, and bake. 14He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his officials. 15He will take a tenth of your grain and wine and give it to his aids and officials. 16He will take your male and female slaves, your best cattle, best young men and your donkeys for his own use. 17He will take a tenth of your flocks. In addition, you will be his servants.
18“When that day comes, you will cry out because of the king whom you have chosen for yourselves. The Lord will not answer you when that day comes.” 19But the people refused to listen to Samuel. They said, “No, we want a king! 20Then we, too, will be like all the other nations. Our king will judge us, lead us out [to war], and fight our battles.”
21When Samuel heard everything the people had to say, he reported it privately to the Lord. 22The Lord told him, “Listen to them, and give them a king.”
So, God says the government has the right to draft and tax citizens. Since you wanted government, I won’t listen when they mistreat you. But I will hold them accountable. For example:
Matthew 18:6 “These little ones believe in me. It would be best for the person who causes one of them to lose faith to be drowned in the sea with a large stone hung around his neck. 7How horrible it will be for the world because it causes people to lose their faith. Situations that cause people to lose their faith will arise. How horrible it will be for the person who causes someone to lose his faith!
When Jesus returns, he will bring justice against all earthly authorities.
So, the government certainly has the right to mandate measures to combat a perceived enemy. If they have the right to conscript, they certainly have the right to require wearing masks and mandate isolation, even with the threat of death as soldiers surrounded villages infected with the bubonic plague. They also have the right to mandate vaccinations and threaten your livelihood. I don’t like it, but it’s their right. You might disagree with them, even they disagree, but God requires you submit to their rulings. The only exception is when that ruling directly contradicts his laws, such as participating in murder, sexual immorality, or idolatry. To claim this when it is not clear is slander, which violates the seventh commandment.
But what about evil authorities?
We see numerous examples of tyrannical kings, but godly men uphold their authority.
After King Saul threw a spear to kill David, he ran away. While Saul was hunting him with his army, he could have attacked him.
1 Samuel 26:9 “Don’t kill him!” David told Abishai. “No one has ever attacked the Lord’s anointed king and remained free of guilt. 10I solemnly swear, as the Lord lives,” David added, “the Lord will strike him. Either his time will come when he’ll die [naturally], or he’ll go into battle and be swept away. 11It would be unthinkable for me to attack the Lord’s anointed king.
When the King forced Daniel’s friends to worship his idol, this was in direct contradiction to the greater authority of God. They respected the King’s right to kill them.
Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “We don’t need to answer your last question. 17If our God, whom we honor, can save us from a blazing furnace and from your power, he will, Your Majesty. 18But if he doesn’t, you should know, Your Majesty, we’ll never honor your gods or worship the gold statue that you set up.”
Even though Nebuchadnezzar had obliterated God’s people, and had Daniel castrated, Daniel loved and respected him.
Daniel 4:19 Then Daniel (who had been renamed Belteshazzar) was momentarily stunned. What he was thinking frightened him. I told him, “Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream and its meaning frighten you.”
Belteshazzar answered, “Sir, I wish that the dream were about those who hate you and its meaning were about your enemies.
Romans 13:1 Every person should obey the government in power. No government would exist if it hadn’t been established by God. The governments which exist have been put in place by God. 2Therefore, whoever resists the government opposes what God has established. Those who resist will bring punishment on themselves.
3People who do what is right don’t have to be afraid of the government. But people who do what is wrong should be afraid of it. Would you like to live without being afraid of the government? Do what is right, and it will praise you. 4The government is God’s servant working for your good.
But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid. The government has the right to carry out the death sentence. It is God’s servant, an avenger to execute God’s anger on anyone who does what is wrong. 5Therefore, it is necessary for you to obey, not only because you’re afraid of God’s anger but also because of your own conscience.
Remember that they lived under the brutal Roman occupation, and their religious authorities were usurpers who had no right to the position they occupied. In western society, we have no idea what bad government looks like. And even if we were in China, Iran or Afghanistan, we are still required to submit to the authorities, except where doing so would clearly violate God’s commands.
Don’t speak evil about a ruler of your people
Whether the government is tyrannical or incompetent, we are not to speak badly of them:
Acts 23:2 The chief priest Ananias ordered the men standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you hypocrite! You sit there and judge me by Moses’ Teachings and yet you break those teachings by ordering these men to strike me!”
4The men standing near Paul said to him, “You’re insulting God’s chief priest!”
5Paul answered, “Brothers, I didn’t know that he is the chief priest. After all, Scripture says, ‘Don’t speak evil about a ruler of your people.’ ”
So, Paul apologised and repented when he realized he’d done this.
During the Exodus, various people spread rumours about Moses, and suffered the consequences. Such as Dathan and Abiram who were swallowed up by the ground Numbers 16.
I feel like I’ve gone off on a tangential rant. I see parallels between Conscientious Objectors and COVID objectors. I believe we must support the Government, and the best way to combat COVID is to not break ranks with disunity. I think the USA has suffered dearly because of their disunity.
However, people have their reasons for taking a stand. They will face consequences.
For the church, it’s a time to rise up and support the government, while also supporting those who are put out by government’s decisions. Times of adversity are times for the church to be a light to the world in expressing compassion to others, no matter what they believe.
The church should cover the Government’s weaknesses, not fight them.