For the past few years, AFA has supported legislation to provide a religious exemption that would allow children to attend school if their parents have a religious objection to certain vaccines.
SB 2398, introduced in the Mississippi legislature, would address the injustice that many parents face when they prayerfully choose not to vaccinate. Sponsored by Senator Joey Fillingane, the bill provides a common-sense religious exemption similar to what 47 other states offer.
SB 2398 needs to be voted out of the Senate Education Committee by Tuesday, February 5. Your calls and emails to committee members are urgently needed to keep this important legislation alive.
As Christians, we share the deeply held religious belief that the Bible teaches that parents are ultimately responsible for raising their children, not the government (Deut. 6:4-9).
However, when it comes to vaccinating children, the State of Mississippi places the power of governing authorities over and above parents. Child vaccination should be a choice that's left up to parents to decide.
Contact and urge your MS Senator to vote for SB 2398 to allow a religious exemption for vaccinations.
While parents disagree over the merits of certain vaccines and vaccination schedules, we can all agree that:
- Parents have the final authority to make moral and religious decisions for their children.
- Barring children from access to both a public and private school education because of their parents' religious beliefs is outrageous and un-American.
- As confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some vaccines are cultured on electively aborted fetal tissue, and some pro-lifers object to injecting these products into their children.
- Some religious groups object to vaccination, and these people have the same right to religious liberty that protects others from harmful government mandates.
- Mississippi's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), for which we all fought so hard, requires that the "government should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification."
Prohibiting a child from attending school because that child's parents have religious objections to vaccination is a serious and substantial burden. At the same time, we also know that this religious exemption will act as a safety valve for those parents (between one and two percent) who object to certain vaccines. This common-sense religious exemption will also protect other children by preserving "herd immunity." The bill allows schools to require unvaccinated children to stay home in the event of an outbreak.
Mississippi's current vaccination laws violate two significant religious principles held by our organizations, our supporters, and the vast majority of people in our state. The first is religious liberty, and the second is the sanctity of human life. Mississippi lawmakers need to act now to restore the right to an education to families of faith who prayerfully object to certain vaccines.
Contact and urge your Mississippi Senator to ask that SB 2398 be passed out of the Senate Education Committee by Tuesday, February 5.