OPINION: Why boosting is a religious issue

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OPINION: Why boosting is a religious issue

Five members of The Women’s Faith Forum explain why getting jabbed against Covid has its roots in many religious traditions' belief in protecting life

People queue at a COVID Vaccination Centre at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London,
People queue at a COVID Vaccination Centre at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London,

“Get Boosted Now” is not just a political directive, nor a requirement from the overstrained, overworked NHS. Getting vaccinated against Covid 19 can also be read as an obligation of religious faith.  Along with responsible behaviour and social distancing, we must get our booster jabs. The sanctity of life – the life we are given as individuals and the life of the family and community in which we live – is central to the teaching of all the world’s main faiths.  Getting boosted is a religious as well as a civic duty and needs to be taken seriously as the nation, and indeed the world, faces the tsunami of Omicron infections.

The sanctity of life is encapsulated in the centuries old Babylonian Talmud, in which this principle of “Pikuach Nefesh” is one of the most important obligations. It means that saving life should take priority over everything, even if this means breaking some of the laws set out in the Torah.

That we are all neighbours and responsible for one another is developed in Christian teachings. In his letter to the Church in Corinth the Apostle Paul urges there to be ‘no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it, if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.”  Interpreted in the contemporary Covid setting, our interconnectedness, and our interdependence become irrefutable.

Further, our responsibility to collective wellbeing is taken up in the Sikh story of Bhai Kanhaiya which highlights the need to show compassion and kindness, even in the most trying and conflicted of circumstances. During the war of Anandpur Sahib, Bhai Kanhaiya gave water both to his own wounded but also to the enemy casualties. Recognising the value of every human life Bhai Kanhaiya told Guru Gobind Ji, “When I look into the faces of all these wounded men, all I see is you. I have to serve them because all I see is you and God in them.”  In return Guru Gobind Ji Guru Ji told Bhai Kanhaiya Ji, “From now on, You should also put this balm on the wounds of all who need it.”’

Islamic teaching goes further as The Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] said “Make use of medical treatment, for Allah has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, with the exception of one disease, namely death” –  Abu Dawood, Sunan Abu Dawood

The commandment to value life, to be responsible for the welfare of our neighbours and to recognise the divine in each living soul underpins thinking in all our scriptures.  This is active, not passive, a command to act.

With the rise in Covid 19 reaching record levels, the NHS under threat of collapse, and death rates rising, vaccination is the only known way to challenge its appalling effect.  As women of the diverse faith communities of the UK, as mothers, wives, daughters and, so often, the prime carers and educators, we urge our faith leaders, our parents and our teachers to encourage vaccination.   It is much more than as a political imperative, it is rather, engrained in our religious and historical truth.

  • By members of the The Women’s Faith Forum: Dr Husna Ahmad OBE,  Dr Jagbir Jhutti-Johal OBE, Joy Madeiros,  Bijal Majithia,  Laura Marks OBE

Read more here: http://commongood.uk.com/why-boosting-is-a-religious-issue/ 

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