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Facing Covid Risk in Community (2)

David Chandler, Guthrie Miller
On Alternatives (March 2022)

[This letter was abridged from a longer original, which you can find at: https://westernfriend.org/letters-marchapril-2022]

Dear Friends: We are writing in support of a concern raised by Robert Cooper about a vaccine mandate imposed by the Multnomah Meeting. Requiring vaccination to participate in Quaker events is oppressive and unjustified. We are writing to urge the rescinding of this policy as misguided.

It is of course appropriate for the meeting to institute precautions to avoid spreading of the virus. However, vaccines are only one approach to this problem, and one that is beset by serious practical and ethical problems. On a national level, the responses, such as vaccine mandates and lockdowns, have caused massive social and economic disruption.

The vaccines have not been tested adequately to rule out long-term serious consequences. They were rolled out for humans without prior animal trials, and were tested for less than a year. Yet we are told they are safe and effective. These claims cannot be justified, given the duration of testing. Taking any medication involves risks. It is unethical to mandate or otherwise incentivize a procedure that carries risk of bodily harm.

It is not the place of a Quaker meeting to endorse a single “fix” to safety concerns by putting sincere, caring, thinking attenders in a bind: compliance with a mandate that may actually cause harm or be subject to something akin to shunning.

Quakers’ responses to the virus and legitimate safety concerns must be open to the voices of Quakers on all sides of the issue. No one is advocating recklessness. We would recommend: 1) Urge attenders to stay home when sick. 2) Advocate for doctors who are being suppressed (and oppressed). 3) Publicize alternative information sources. 4) Listen to attenders on all sides of this issue.

– David Chandler, Mountain View Friends Meeting, Denver, CO (IMYM)

– Guthrie Miller, Santa Fe Friends Meeting, Santa Fe, NM (IMYM)


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