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    Harming Your Kid Is Not A First Amendment Right
    By Hank Campbell | February 18th 2013 02:03 PM | 4 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0® and co-author of "Science Left Behind".

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone...

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    Quick, which states have the most philosophical exemptions from vaccines, religious states or the more atheist states?

    Answer: the states with more atheists per capita - because in America they share a political and cultural demographic that is inherently anti-science. But I have good news for those anti-science people; an actual religious person has filed for a philosophical exemption, which means they can now claim anti-vaccination beliefs are 'bipartisan', just like anti-science beliefs about GMOs are bipartisan if 2 members of Congress out of 55 calling for warming labels are Republican.  

    Dina Check, a Catholic, says she wants a religious exemption from vaccines for her child.  Now, I have read whole books on Vatican II and while it has completely messed up the modern church, nowhere in there does it or a Pope say vaccines are bad.  Sure, they are against condoms (correctly - those are awful) and the Pill (they should reconsider that, it is awesome) but not vaccines.  Of course, this is a New York City Catholic. Like Secretary of State John Kerry, lots of northeastern Catholics are the a la carte kind - they pick and choose what they like from a menu, just like they do with science, that is why John Kerry can support abortions and then go to communion without any of that famous Catholic guilt.  And also why Dina Check can hurt her kid and feel like she has a moral standing, even though the actual Roman Catholic church disagrees.

    As Tracie Egan Morrissey at Jezebel writes, this seems to be sort of a ruse; Check had tried to get an exemption on medical grounds and was denied.  Gastrointestinal problems and vaccines? Debunked a decade ago.  You can see what kind of crackpot we are dealing with already. 

    Of course, the libertarian mentality says government should not be forcing kids to have vaccines and this is forcing; the child cannot go to school financed by the public without the vaccines.  But she wouldn't be allowed in school wearing a Nazi shirt or carrying a gun either.  There are limits to personal freedoms, even under the Constitution. You can't yell 'fire!' in a crowded theater, an admittedly government-heavy Supreme Court found (Oliver Wendell Holmes is the fawned-over progressive Justice who also believed eugenics was completely okay) and if you bring leprosy into the US today, you will find your Constitutional rights rather limited.

    Maybe, if she really thinks vaccines are "invasive and unnatural substances", she can move to California and join her fellow believers - a school here has almost no children vaccinated, a startlingly low 23 percent (Science Left Behind, pp. 110-113). The Waldorf School of the Peninsula in California's San Francisco Bay Area also has almost as few religious people as it has  Republicans, but their anti-science beliefs should make up for it.

    Comments

    I suppose one can argue that a vaccine is invasive, since what it introduces boils down to a dose of an infectious disease, which I expect a lot of folks would agree is invasive. However, surely she wouldn't prefer that her kids contract the very diseases which vaccines guard against. So there's a choice: introduction in a controlled way, a vaccine, which in most cases creates immunity to disease in its untamed form, or uncontrolled introduction to untamed disease on its own terms, which stands a respectable chance of ruining her kid's lives, or ending them. All sorts of things can be considered invasive, for example life-saving open-heart surgery. Invasive doesn't always mean bad.

    And, unnatural? Clothing is unnatural. Maybe she thinks good Catholics ought to prance about nekked.

    Hank
    And, unnatural? Clothing is unnatural. Maybe she thinks good Catholics ought to prance about nekked.
    The hot ones, anyway.  

    That she has tried multiple avenues to get this exemption, and hired an attorney who seems to specialize in getting them, says claiming religion is a tool in the culture war that is happening mostly on the coasts of the US.
    "The hot ones, anyway."

    We can only hope.

    MikeCrow
    But the opposite is what most of the empirical evidence suggests happens.
    Never is a long time.