Religion and the Law

Maine Voters Supported Removing Religious/Philosophical Exemptions to Immunization Mandate, 73%-27% on March 3

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

From the Bangor Daily News, with 97.4% of precincts reporting:

Question 1: Vaccine Referendum
Do you want to reject the new law that removes religious and philosophical exemptions to requiring immunization against certain communicable diseases for students to attend schools and colleges and for employees of nursery schools and health care facilities?

Choice%votes
Yes27.3%103638
No72.7%276073

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  1. The Congregation Of Exalted Reason applauds the wisdom of most residents (and legislators) of Maine.

    1. Your rationale is asinine and devoid of logic — the vaccination problem is with illegal immigrants, not anti-vaxers. And all this will do is get the latter to homeschool….

      1. Immigrants – illegal or otherwise – are more likely to be vaccinated than Americans. Because they have seen first hand the impact of not vaccinating can do.

      2. “Your rationale is asinine and devoid of logic — the vaccination problem is with illegal immigrants,”

        One of the consequences of this crisis seems likely to be even less societal interest in indulging bigoted, stale-thinking, anti-government cranks.

        Republican Party hardest hit.

        Carry on, clingers.

    2. Arthur “Never Libertarian” Kirkland

      1. If I have learned anything at the blog, it is that I am “Often Libertarian.”

    3. Unfortunately, the Congregation Of Exalted Reason also found that this principle is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes…

      1. The Fallopian tubes of a woman who wasn’t even Mentally Retarded…

  2. The vote wasn’t about removing the exemption, rather they voted against re-instituting the exemption. The exemption had already been removed by the legislature.

    1. The spirit of the headline is the same no matter how you parse it. The technicality is a distinction without a difference.

      1. Actually there is a difference. The dynamics of enacting a new law are different than repealing an existing law. These kinds of asymmetries are pretty common.

  3. Sounds good. A diversity of beliefs is a good thing, and accepting each others differences even if we don’t agree with them is also good.

    1. Edit. Misread. This isn’t quite as good.

    2. Some parents had a religious objection to just certain vaccines — I believe the Cervical Cancer vaccine was one, and if the girl/woman is not going to be engaged in pre-marital sexual activities, and will be marrying a man who isn’t either, there is no need of it.

      Hence you can see the religious objection….

      1. Maybe you can. I can’t.

        1. You don’t need to see it. Just understand it exists.

          It’s like when you slap a female coworker on the behind. You don’t need to see it as sexual harassment. You might think you’re just “playing around” But you should understand she views it as harassment.

          1. What is it?

            I know some parents object to this vaccine because they fear it will encourage sexual activity. That’s not a religious issue, or a philosophical one.

            Regardless, the law in question doesn’t apply to that vaccine, I think, since cervical cancer is not what is meant by a “communicable disease” here. They’re talking about measles and chicken pox and some other things.

            1. Sigh….

              “Cervical cancer” in this context is the end effect of a communicable disease. Specifically, the end results of the human papillomavirus, a virus that is transmitted by sexual activity. There is not a vaccine against “cancer”. There is a vaccine against a specific virus that causes a specific type of cancer.

              1. No need for the sigh.

                I didn’t know that and appreciate the information. So I support requiring this vaccine as well.

                Is the religious objection based on the idea that it encourages pre-marital sex, or something else?

                1. There are a variety of religious and philosophical objections to various types of vaccinations for a variety of reasons. Some of these include.
                  1. Certain vaccinations appear to encourage pre-marital sex
                  2. Certain other vaccinations are made with products from animals considered forbidden
                  3. Certain vaccinations were considered unsafe by certain groups
                  4. Certain vaccinations were considered a “ruse” by western or government groups to accomplish goals detrimental to the native or non-complying population.

                  Sadly, sometimes point 4 is entirely accurate. In 2011, the CIA used a fake vaccination campaign to search for Osama Bin Laden. So, you can understand why people who didn’t trust the government might be extremely wary of the vaccinations….

      2. Because if one can predict something is that their child won’t grow up to engage in pre-marital activities and will marry a man that also hasn’t engaged in pre-marital sexual activities.

        Which is – of course – ludicrous.

  4. Does anyone else find the wording here confusing?

    Lots of negatives running around:

    1. There were religious exemptions.
    2. The law removed the exemptions.
    3. Now voters are asked if they want to reject the law removing the exemptions, and if they like the law they should vote “No.”

    I bet a fair number of voters voted the opposite of what they intended.

    Why not:

    “A new law requires that students at all schools and colleges, as well as employees of nursery schools and health care facilities, be vaccinated regardless of religious and philosophical objections.

    Do you wish to reject this law?

    Vote “Yes” to reject the law and reinstate the exemptions.

    Vote “No” to keep the new law in place.

    1. It doesn’t sound like it forces children or anyone to be vaccinated. Only if kids attend schools or colleges. Parents can opt to home school and 18 year olds can choose not to attend college, or get an online degree, if they feel so strongly about it. Adults who don’t want o be vaccinated can choose not to work in a school or hospital.

      1. I didn’t say it did. My suggested rewrite refers to students at all schools and colleges.

      2. Be careful what you ask for — you might get it…

        Maine has a long history of religious extremism, and as bad as the Maine public schools are (and they are), they serve as a check on religious extremism as the child hears voices other than those of the religious zealots.

        1. The people with “philosophical objections” will probably be hardest hit. The school with the lowest vaccination rate in the state is a very progressive Waldorf school, presumably because of Jim Carey-like irrational anti-vaxers.

          1. The rich, liberal areas of Los Angeles have the highest non-vaccination rate in the state. Not too many Bitter Religion Clingers in those areas.

            1. I’m sure there are as many Bitter Religion Clingers in Los Angeles as there are white MAGA wearing guys walking around Chicago with a noose and a bottle of bleach in case they should see Jussie Smollett coming out of a Subway restaarant.

      3. That’s why I voted no. And yes the wording is confusing, possibly deliberately so. Not a fan of Sec. Dunlap.

    2. Would you be surprised to learn that both the Secretary of State (who generated that wording) and the Governor are Democrats?

      Maine has a Constitutional provision for a “People’s Veto” where any act of the legislature can be repealed in a referendum if you submit a certain number of signatures within a certain period of time.

      1. WTF does that have to do with anything?

        1. It explains why the wording is so confusing and convoluted.
          It explains why the more rational suggested wording wasn’t used.

          1. How does it explain that?

      2. Very helpful Dr. Ed, the phrasing on this seemed kind of odd but in light of what you reported, it now makes more sense that this would be phrased to ask the voter if they “reject” something rather than “support” something. Still I think it might have been clearer if they asked “do you support repealing the recently passed law that requires/changes . . . ?”

    3. Yeah, I also had to re-read that several times. With all the double-negatives, it’s a pretty sure bet that the results are not what the actual voters intended. Hopefully, the local advertising on the issue was clearer.

    4. Yes, it’s a triple negative, and I expect many voters were confused.

      In high school Civics class, we analyzed the wording of a proposition on the ballot in Michigan for the fall election in 1970 (which none of us could vote in). It was a quintuple negative. I wouldn’t be surprised if a _lawyer_ misunderstood it. The only way most voters knew which way to vote is if they saw the ads from one of the organizations pushing or opposing it, and believed that organization was on their side.

      Since then, Michigan has established a commission that rewrites propositions to be comprehensible. There’s been considerable controversy over political bias in some of those re-writes, but they certainly are an improvement over the old system.

  5. I actually don’t have a problem with this – the law. It seems to me the state/local government can require immunization against certain diseases as a condition of attending their particular school. Parents remain free to home-school their children, or send them to alternative institutions that allow unvaccinated children in the classroom.

    Sorry anti-vaxxers, you should fully own the consequences of your decisions.

  6. I don’t think the government should be able to forcibly stick needles and inject substances into your body as a routine matter.

    1. But more important is that it’s decided at the state or local level, so that part here is good.

      1. Decisions on immunization requirements are an example where local control makes no sense whatsoever.

    2. There is no requirement to get immunized, it just says you can’t go to public school unless you are. This country recognizes the right for a parent to use their religion to harm their own children, but we don’t yet allow a parent to use religion to harm other’s children.

      1. To be clear, my opinion is that the government shouldn’t inject substances into your body regardless of whether or not you articulate a “religious” or “philosophical” objection to it.

        1. Under no circumstances?

          Is there no weighing of public health concerns against these objections?

          What if the only objection is that an injection hurts?

          What if the result is that a classmate who can’t be vaccinated contracts the disease from the anti-vaxer’s kid?

        2. Not any circumstances that currently exist, no.

      2. Why do all the liberals here leave out “philosophical” objectors?

        1. Don’t read anything into it in my case, Bob. I feel just the same about both.

      3. The word “public” doesn’t appear in the text of the referendum so it’s possible that this requirement applies to private schools and colleges as well.

    3. I don’t think the government should be able to forcibly stick needles and inject substances into your body as a routine matter.

      You’re letting “routine matter” do way too much work here. I don’t think you should be allowed to endanger other people because of your religious beliefs. Don’t like vaccinations? Home-school, and don’t let your kid go to college, and don’t let him go to the playground either, as far as I am concerned.

      1. Regardless of religious beliefs, I generally don’t think the government should forcibly stick needles and inject substances into your body. Religion doesn’t have anything to do with it. But I agree that more choice in education would help resolve the issue; all education should be privatized.

        Don’t like germs? Don’t let your kids go to the playground.

        1. Don’t like vaccines? Don’t let your kids go to the playground.

          We’re not talking about ordinary colds here, but about potentially serious diseases.

          Let’s put the onus on those who stupidly don’t think measles is any big deal, rather than those who want their kids to be able to play on the swings without more risk than is necessary. People are free to be crackpots, but others shouldn’t pay the price.

          1. You’re repeating yourself now.

            Hey, if you don’t want your kids to get measles, what I do with my kids is, get them a measles vaccine. If you just want to be a petty tyrant then carry on.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3hP84qQz4o

            1. So are you.

              Not everyone can be vaccinated. You have no right to spread disease because of some BS belief and, as far as I am concerned, you should have no right to endanger your own children because of it either.

              Call me a “petty tyrant” if you like. Better than being a murderer.

      2. “your religious beliefs”

        Why do all the liberals here leave out “philosophical” objectors?

        Those are non religious types and trend liberal.

        1. Yeah, most traditional religions either don’t take a position on vaccination or support it. If someone is claiming a “religious or philosophical” objection, I suspect they’re most likely someone of the “spiritual but not religious” variety or just a secular person who doesn’t want to be vaccinated and this was the most convenient way to be exempt from the law.

        2. Actually, the anti-vaccination types are pretty much across the political spectrum. It’s bipartisan ignorance.

    4. I don’t think your child should have the right to murder my child.

  7. Yesterday, 5 days after resigning from the board of MSFT, noted epidemiologist Bill Gates took to Reddit for an “AMA” limited to the particular topic of COVID-19. In it, he writes:

    “Eventually we will have some digital certificates to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine who has received it.”

    He was apparently referring to innovations along the lines of his own recent invention in conjunction with MIT. http://news.mit.edu/2019/storing-vaccine-history-skin-1218

    It involves storing ID information under the surface of your skin. It would be injected into you right along with a vaccine. Pretty neat! They’ve launched their initiative to get this rolling, it’s called ID2020 and you can check it out at ID2020 dot org.

    Gates and others like him have long been obsessed with pandemics and the ramifications future pandemics would have for such topics of concern. Pretty cool how they are doing so much for global health.

    1. LIbertarians against herd immunity is quite a choice for which collective action hill you want to die on.

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