Vaccines, Jesus and John Wayne, and our Racialized Society

The morality of vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has Christians asking afresh whether it is ethical to take vaccines that use fetal cell lines from aborted babies in their production. Thankfully, this is not a new moral dilemma and serious Christian ethicists have weighed in.

Mere Orthodoxy: “The use of these vaccines does not encourage more abortions.”https://mereorthodoxy.com/others-may-live-fetal-cell…/

ERLC: “To determine the morality of using the tissue, it is helpful to compare it to another situation: the use of organs from a person who has been murdered. If a doctor were to offer to transplant a kidney or heart from the murder victim into a Christian, we would likely not have any objection.”https://erlc.com/…/explainer-vaccines-and-aborted…/

Public Discourse: An “appropriators” is someone who benefits from an evil act. Such a person is morally culpable if they approve of that act, if they make it appear as though they approve of the act, or if they encourage future acts. None of these must apply to the use of fetal cell lines in vaccine production.https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2020/05/63752/

The Vatican: The cooperation with evil is passive and remote and must be weighed against the common good: “The morality of vaccination depends not only on the duty to protect one’s own health, but also on the duty to pursue the common good” https://www.vatican.va/…/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20201221…

Jesus and John Way Reviews:

The Book Jesus and John Wayne by Calvin Professor Kristen Du Mez is getting a lot of buzz in evangelical adjacent circles these days and for good reason. The book tells a compelling narrative that, for many Christians, has incredible explanatory power. Instead of writing my own review, I will share two reviews that capture the best and worst of this provocative book:

Review #1: “Perhaps I’m a particularly needy reader, but if Du Mez hopes to persuade skeptical readers, you wouldn’t guess it from the book. Due to frequent sarcasm as well as a lack of charity toward its critics and, at times, a lack of evidence to back up its claims, I fear this book will be rejected by many of the people who would most benefit from reading it.”

Review #2: “All to say that Jesus and John Wayne should be required reading for those who live and move and have our being within American evangelical denominations and churches. And the first thing we should do is to look in the mirror and say, “It’s true—let me see myself as I am.” Then, going forward to change will prove whether we evangelicals are doers of the Word or just hearers only.”

White Evangelicals in the Racialized Society

Divided by Faith by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith has a haunting thesis: White evangelical Christians, despite their best efforts, don’t only fail to address the problems of our racialized society, but perpetuate them. I wish their thesis weren’t true, but despite a few bright spots, I’m pretty sure they’re right.

I’ve done my best to partially explain their thesis in a couple of posts over at Reading in Babylon. The first discusses the concept of a racialized society. The second, and explanatory key to the whole book, is the description of the white evangelical religious and cultural toolset, applied to race.

While we’re on the topic of race, I want to recommend to you this fantastic podcast from The Gospel Coalition. Collin Hanson interviews Thaddeus Williams about his book Confronting Injustice without Sacrificing Truth. You’ll want to hear Williams distinguish between “Social Justice A” and “Social Justice B”.