Is It OK to Claim a Religious Exemption to the Covid Vaccine?

Is It OK to Claim a Religious Exemption to the Covid Vaccine?

This is from the New York Times Magazine section. The Ethicist columnist, Kwame Anthony Appiah, weighs in on religious commitments versus civic responsibilities. Access is free.

Some people seem to think that merely uttering the words ‘religious exemption’ obliges us to let them do whatever they want.


Sure, as long as you endanger nobody else.

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Many religious exemptions are bogus, made up to justify what someone wanted. But the case is more challenging for genuine, long-standing religious objections to medicine. The theology behind that is not sound, but I do not trust the government to be a good arbitrator of sound theology. What level of toleration of error is the price of ensuring toleration for right?


The government doesn’t rule on sound theology; it tries to access how genuine the religious conviction is. This is discussed in the article.

Genuine theology doesn’t justify being a killer disease vector.

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