Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The New Inquisition:

The ‘Religious Exemption’ Inquisition

Rabbi Chananya Weissman

Someone forwarded me an email from something called the People & Culture Department of Porter Airlines Inc. in Toronto. The email states as follows:

Further to your request for a COVID-19 vaccination exemption on the basis of religious conviction, this email sets out the required process. Please submit the following on or before October 22:

1. The name of the organized religion;
2. The physical address of the place of worship that you regularly attend;
3. A written copy of the religion’s doctrine that states the theological objection to vaccination;
4. A signed letter from the leader of the religious congregation confirming you as a member and regular attendance to the physical place of worship

The Government of Canada has confirmed that all major organized religions (e.g., Islam, Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Greek Orthodox, Mennonites) have made statements that they support COVID-19 vaccination for their members in the interest of public health. Other religions that are generally known to have theological objections to vaccinations have also released public statements indicating their support for the COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science).

In the event that your request for a religious exemption is denied, your COVID-19 vaccination status will be updated to “I am not vaccinated for personal reasons”.

This “process” is fundamentally flawed and morally corrupt on many levels, as I will explain point by point.

1. For starters, the very notion of requiring a “religious exemption” is an effrontery. It implies that getting crapcinated is normative behavior, one that should be required of everyone barring a really good “excuse”. Every student must show up to class and complete their assignments on time; failure to do so is “bad” and worthy of punishment – unless the student brings a doctor’s note. Similarly, the message here is that not taking the crapcine is “bad” and worthy of punishment. An approved exemption just makes it a little less bad and excuses one from punishment.

2. Those who profess religious convictions are not automatically granted an exemption. They can only “request” one. A society that allows and encourages people to decide their own gender “identity”, even in flagrant contradiction to biological reality, and which punishes those who deny one’s chosen identity, is now placing people’s declared religious identities under the microscope. One who claims he is religious must stand before an inquisition, where his claim is presumed false unless thoroughly “proven” otherwise. He will be put through the wringer in a personally invasive, deeply humiliating process, and should consider himself extremely fortunate if his professed religious beliefs are confirmed by the inquisitors.

A man can call himself a woman, and everyone will play along or else, but don’t try “pretending” to be religious.

3. The religious beggar must provide “the name of the organized religion”. Once again, we are talking about a society in which new genders and orientations are invented faster than anyone can keep up, but when it comes to religion, it better be established and organized. I don’t disagree with that – religions shouldn’t be invented, either – but the hypocrisy is stark.

4. The religious beggar must provide the physical address of the place of worship that he regularly attends. Since when is regularly attending a physical place of worship a requirement for one’s religious beliefs to be genuine?

In Judaism there is certainly no such requirement. For starters, women and children are not obligated to regularly attend a place of worship – their attendance is encouraged, but entirely optional. Men have greater expectations in this regard, but one’s religious beliefs are an independent matter.

5. One’s religious performance in general is no measuring stick of one’s beliefs. One can be a sincere believer, but fail to behave according to those beliefs. There are those who are newly observant, and it is unreasonable to expect their actions to be fully indicative of their beliefs. Even those who are used to a religious lifestyle may falter at times; that is the human condition. It is preposterous and downright cruel to invalidate one’s religious convictions because he succumbs to temptation, weakness, or any number of demons internal and external that can blot one’s record.

Since when does some godless committee get to have all the religious people line up before them and decide who goes left and who goes right?

The greatest hypocrites and phonies on earth are disqualifying religious people for being inconsistent at times. Of course they are.


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