Pastor Peter Simpson of Penn Free Methodist Church has issued the following statement about compulsory redundancies in the NHS on the grounds vaccination status

Covid-19 vaccine mandates being imposed on the NHS are a repulsive assault upon the basic liberties of anyone who prefers not to take the vaccine, but as a pastor I would like particularly to focus on the threat to the freedom of conscience of Christians in this matter.

Sine the advent of the coronavirus the State and its scientists have come to imagine that they are all-wise and can demand an allegiance which is bordering on the level of worship. The Government is claiming : We are taking the advice of our scientific advisors, and this means that we know what is best for you and your life. They are effectively saying, If you dare to deny the advice which we give you, you are a dangerous rebel and heretic who must be punished. 

This is frightening arrogance, for a Government to presume to possess authority over individuals’ personal and private medical decisions, even to the extent of throwing them out of their work if they fail to comply to the State-decreed norm. For the Christian, however, his medical choices are primarily an issue between him and God.

I have NHS nurses who attend my church. There exists a grave concern and a deep sense of injustice about the Government’s plans to make having the Covid vaccination a condition of ongoing employment. How dare the Government attempt to overrule a Christian’s exercise of his God-given conscience in respect of whether or not to be vaccinated.

This is also a shameful way of treating loyal staff who have been serving the NHS during the difficulties of the past two years. Why is it that these staff members are deemed good enough to help the NHS through the problems of the current winter months, but not deemed good enough to carry on in employment after this April? 

To dismiss NHS staff because they have chosen not to be vaccinated represents an unbelievable waste of experience, training and talent. Does the NHS have such an excess of personnel that it can cope with the sudden departure of so many qualified people? 

What about staff who have mortgages to keep up with? Are they worth sacrificing so as to teach them a lesson for not conforming to the mainstream, politically correct narrative? 

How will it benefit patients or society in general for immediate staff shortages to be imposed upon the NHS in this arbitrary way? Furthermore, where is the hard evidence that taking the vaccine automatically prevents contraction or transmission of the virus? What about the high levels of reported adverse reactions, including deaths, from taking the vaccine? What about the fact that these adverse reactions are also much under-reported? 

For many Christians working within the NHS, dealing with these issues surrounding the Covid vaccine simply cannot be divorced from their Christian walk generally, because there is no area of life where the believer does not seek to honour God. 

The Government, therefore, must face up to the fact that there are Christians who firmly believe that it would be wrong before the Lord to be vaccinated. Many have genuine conscientious objections, not because they are ‘anti-vaxx’, but precisely because the nature of the Covid vaccine is that it is novel, experimental and still at the stage of its clinical trials. I vigorously argue that there should be no vaccine mandates at all, but, if they are to exist, there must also be a specific religious exemption in place. 

Many Christians also have a problem with the fact that the Covid vaccine is not a traditional vaccine at all, but is rather a genetic device designed to produce within the body a toxic ‘spike protein’. This is viewed by many as constituting a step too far in interfering with our God-designed immune systems. So it is not enough to say that taking the vaccine is to love one’s neighbour. Clear-cut and irrefutable evidence that the vaccines efficiently work and are completely safe is simply not there.

Biblical teaching states that the body of the believer in Christ has become the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16). This means that Christians view their bodies as belonging first and foremost to God. Indeed, the Bible speaks of each believer as being “bought” or purchased by Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Therefore every Christian sees himself as directly responsible to Christ for what he does with his body. 

The State accordingly has absolutely no right to arbitrate on an individual’s interaction with God concerning the maintenance of his or her own health. To put it another way, our personal medical choices are a private matter between us and the Lord, and no government should deign to interfere with this liberty of conscience before God. Quite simply, our bodies belong to Christ, not to the State.

Many Christians also have a moral objection to the Covid vaccines because of their connection with an aborted foetal cell line at the development and testing stages. The Government needs to understand that a connection with abortion anywhere along the line in respect of all the available UK vaccines creates an enormous ethical and moral problem for many who believe that God has pre-determined the existence of all human life, and that to take it away, even in the womb, is in direct breach of the sixth commandment.  

I respect the decision of all those who have chosen to take the vaccine – it is their fundamental right to make their own personal medical decisions – but this respect and tolerance need to work two ways. Being vaccinated does not convey moral superiority.

So the Government must abandon its plans to impose a vaccine mandate upon NHS staff. I firmly advocate the basic civil liberty of Christians, and indeed of all others, who decide not to take the vaccine to carry on working in their chosen environment, be it in the care home sector or anywhere else.

Furthermore, our leaders must pay far more attention to the value and effectiveness of each individual’s God-given natural immune system in dealing with the virus. There must be respect for the Christian’s liberty to act according to his or her own conscience before the Lord. Our political leaders need reminding : the State and its experts are not our God.    

Pastor Peter Simpson, Penn Free Methodist Church