One needn’t look far for a discussion about vaccination in the media, or among individuals. Concern and strong feelings run high. A recent article about what religions have to say about vaccinations prompted the re-sharing of this letter to the editor of the Fredrick New-Post written by an individual Christian Scientist which provides a first-hand perspective from one who is living their faith. A link at the end leads to a few additional first-hand views about living one’s faith within the framework of the Golden Rule and love for their neighbors.
Published by the Frederick News-Post
I appreciated the News-Post’s good-faith effort to convey the viewpoints of different churches and religious groups on vaccination (“What different religions say about vaccinations,” 3-17-19). Might I offer a little more background to clarify Christian Scientists’ perspective? It’s unusual, but doesn’t fit the stereotypes people often assume.
Christian Scientists’ views on this issue are rooted in the ethics of the Golden Rule as Christ Jesus taught it. We take to heart the basic Christian commitment to be good neighbors and citizens and to respect the rights and concerns of others in our communities, including in Frederick County.
Though our spiritual practice of healing through prayer differs from the norm in today’s world, it has nothing to do with sticking to religious dogmas from the past. The motives for this practice come from love, just as the motives of good doctors do, and from the actual experiences of healing through God’s love that have continued in our lives. We’ve been grateful over the years for religious exemptions from vaccination when legislatures and public health authorities have granted them, but we don’t promote fear of vaccines or object to their use in society. Where vaccination is required, we obey the law’s requirement.
In the early twentieth century—another period when vaccination was controversial—our church’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, asked Christian Scientists not to “quarrel” with society over this issue, but to work out differences with others on the basis of mutual understanding and respect. This is still our aim as a church. As an official of the denomination put it back then, Christian Scientists recognize the need “to be careful in respect to the spreading of disease,” and the true spirit of healing always requires conscientious wisdom, consideration for people’s needs, and the tender inspiration of love for all God’s children of every faith and background.
Christian Science Committee on Publication for Maryland, USA