Ginger Taylor, MS dubiously invokes “religious freedom” to argue against vaccination

The weekend was rather busy, what with the Easter holiday and everything. (Yes, this heathen still celebrates Easter because his family celebrates Easter.) As a result, this might end up shorter than the average Orac screed. Also, I realize that I mentioned at the end of last week that I was hoping to move on to other topics besides vaccines, but given Easter and Passover this weekend, one last vaccine-related topic came up, thanks to the rants of one Ginger Taylor, MS (who, hilariously, almost always insists on using her master’s degree title in her bylines and email signatures, hence my always referring to her as “Ginger Taylor, MS” in this post), on that wretched hive of scum and antivaccine quackery, Age of Autism. It seemed to me that, as Easter and Passover approached and passed, antivaxers were going more wild on the “religious” objections to vaccines than I remember them doing in a while. I guess that when it rains it pours, and I should just go with the pseudoscience that, unfortunately, remains very much in the news.

It rather makes sense, in a warped sort of way, for Ginger Taylor, MS to be invoking Judaism. The largest measles outbreak in the US is currently centered in the Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn, Queens, and Rockland County, NY, fed by antivaccine misinformation spread by a group that represents itself as being Jewish. Then there is the even more enormous ongoing outbreak in Israel itself, which, in fact, fueled smaller outbreak among the Orthodox Jewish community in my neck of the woods. So it’s not surprising that the antivaccine cranks at AoA would seize on the issue of tightening vaccine mandates and other measures taken to combat these outbreaks as an issue of religious freedom. Hell, Del Bigtree beat her to it by donning a Yellow Star of David patterned on the ones that the Nazis made Jews wear during the Holocaust as a sign of “solidarity” with the “persecuted” Jewish communities where the measles outbreaks are currently raging.

So this time around, Ginger Taylor, MS declared Jacobson Must Die: Rockland County Jews Barred from Worshipping God Unless They Disobey God. Yes, it’s good to see that, after all the years during which I haven’t been paying much attention to Ginger Taylor, MS, she’s still got it in terms of histrionics:

If even ONE Jew is barred from entering a place of worship on Passover… we have a big problem.

Rockland County has told the Jewish people that they cannot obey God, and worship Him as He instructed them, unless they first inject aborted fetal cell remains and pig into themselves and their children.

Which God has instructed them not to do.

“And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.” – Leviticus 11:7-8

But unless they disobey God in his instructions in Leviticus, Rockland County will not let them obey Exodus 12:

“I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and strike every firstborn male in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. I am Yahweh; I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt. The blood on the houses where you are staying will be a distinguishing mark for you; when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No plague will be among you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

“This day is to be a memorial for you, and you must celebrate it as a festival to the Lord. You are to celebrate it throughout your generations as a permanent statute…”

New York has turned going to a house of worship for a regular service established thousands of years ago, into an act of civil disobedience.

What is Ginger Taylor, MS referring to? She’s answering this news story in the Jewish Press, On Passover Eve Rockland County Bars the Unvaccinated from Synagogues. Basically, last Tuesday Rockland County banned all exposed, unvaccinated people from public gathering places, including houses of worship, for the next three weeks. Meanwhile, a few days earlier, New York City health officials had ordered the residents of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, which is heavily Jewish Orthodox, to be vaccinated for measles or face fines as high as $1,000.used. Of course, the ban wasn’t about just synagogues, and it wasn’t about just unvaccinated people. Basically, the order bans people definitively diagnosed with measles from public spaces, which is hard to argue with, even for antivaxers. However, the order also bans unvaccinated people who have been exposed to a person with measles from all public spaces for the length of the incubation period (21 days from the date of exposure), with exceptions for medical care, emergency situations and court appointments. Again, this is a reasonable public health response to an outbreak. I also can’t help but note that antivaxers frequently claim that they think quarantine is just fine in the event of outbreaks and that they would cooperate with them but when real outbreaks happen and even limited quarantines are implemented, they lose their minds.

Which brings us to this question: What does Ginger Taylor, MS mean by “Jacobson must die”? She’s referring to a famous Supreme Court ruling:

In 1905, in HENNING JACOBSON v. COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, SCOTUS held that a pastor who didn’t want to pay the five dollar fine for failing to get the Massachusetts government prescribed smallpox vaccine, had to pay the $5. The Massachusetts order was issued ONLY to adults, to address an epidemic of a deadly disease for which there was no treatment. And SCOTUS also said that such orders by governments could not be onerous or unreasonable.

Governments then took the ruling and applied it to onerous and unreasonable orders, including orders for children to get dozens of vaccines, even for diseases that had been completely absent in their states (or country) at the cost of the price of an education ($50k and up.)

Of course, ordering vaccination against measles during the middle of a large measles outbreak is hardly onerous or unreasonable. I also can’t help but note that nearly the exact conditions in Jacobson v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts hold here. This is an outbreak of a serious, sometimes deadly, disease for which there is no treatment other than supportive. The only difference is that children are the primary victims. Not surprisingly, Ginger Taylor, MS, being Ginger Taylor, MS, goes right off the rails:

Oliver Wendell Holmes even decided he could use the law upholding a FIVE DOLLAR FINE to force sterilize women, writing in the case of Buck v. Bell that:

“…in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 , 25 S. Ct. 358, 3 Ann. Cas. 765. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

That demonic ruling in Buck v. Bell still stands, by the way. If the individual states did not prevent it by law, you could have your right to reproduce violently removed tomorrow in the United States, and it would be legal.

So where is the line? If a five dollar fine is allowed by law, but having your reproductive organs involuntary mutilated is anathema to the American mind, where is the line?

Yes, no one denies that the early 20th century was a shameful time in American history in terms of the embrace of eugenics by so many states, and, yes, Buck v. Bell was a horrific Supreme Court ruling. It is also true that the US embrace of eugenics did, in part, inspire Adolf Hitler in his own efforts to institute eugenics policies. However, Buck v. Bell has little do to with the current situation, as times have changed and it is incredibly unlikely that, were a suitable case to come up, that the decision would be upheld. Not that that stops Ginger Taylor, MS from going all Godwin on us:

So where is the line? If a five dollar fine is allowed by law, but having your reproductive organs involuntary mutilated is anathema to the American mind, where is the line?

Or maybe the continued good standing of both Jacobson and Buck mean that the Jews can be put back into ghettos and camps for the protection of the public, and that I can be strapped down and cut into because I am a, “probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring.” All you have to do is state the government has a “compelling interest” and shout, “GREATER GOOD!” What say you, America? How far past that little FIVE DOLLAR FINE can government go? Where is the line?

Is the blatant violation of the rights of the The Jewish People to practice sacraments thousands of years old to prevent even one case of what is now a nuisance infection (treated with Vitamin A) in the US over the line?

Ah, yes. The old claim that measles is not a serious disease. It is, and it’s more serious than commonly thought. As I like to say, The past and present rebuke antivaccinationists (like Ginger Taylor, MS) who claim measles is “benign.”

As for Judaism, what does it really say about vaccination? Well, in my neck of the woods, the Council of Orthodox Rabbis of Greater Detroit issued a statement:

In light of the recent spread of measles in our community, each and every individual is halachically obligated to take the necessary precautions to protect one’s self and family, and prevent the spread of the disease to others.

Due to the outbreak, the Michigan Department of Health has issued updated vaccination guidelines. Every member of the community should follow those guidelines to ensure that they are fully vaccinated.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of the measles, as described by the Oakland County Health Division notice, you are halachically required to stay home and immediately contact your health care provider for further instructions. It is absolutely forbidden for anyone experiencing symptoms to go out (even to Shul), and expose others and place them at risk.

May Hashem grant each and every member of the community health, strength and blessings.

It’s not just Michigan’s Jews, either. As this op-ed by Dr. Alan Kadish in the NY Daily News notes:

As an observant Jew and a medical expert, I find this both perplexing and deeply disturbing. Opposition to vaccinations on so-called religious grounds has no grounding at all when the vast majority of religious leaders — including key rabbis in all walks of Orthodox Judaism — insist on vaccinating children.

The Agudath Israel of America, one of the largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, recently issued a statement saying, “countless rabbinical figures and leaders, including leading rabbis in the Agudath Israel movement and doctors serving these communities, have repeatedly encouraged vaccination in the strongest possible terms.” In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the major Satmar newspaper Der Yid recently called anti-vaxers “senseless, heartless, Torah-less and reckless.”

Nevertheless, the outbreak of measles in New York City has been widest in haredi, Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods. I can only attribute this phenomena to the fact that a small pocket of Orthodox Jews are not only ignoring their doctors, they aren’t listening to their rabbis either.

Consistent with her extreme case of Dunning-Kruger syndrome with respect to science and vaccines, apparently Ginger Taylor, MS thinks that she understands Judaism better than actual rabbis.

What Ginger Taylor, MS is doing here is no different than what she and others have done with other religions. For instance, antivaxers have tried to claim that the use of cell lines derived from a fetus to grow virus stocks for certain vaccines means that Christians can’t use vaccines on religious grounds. Never mind that the most anti-abortion church of all, the Roman Catholic Church, long ago shut down that argument and urged Catholics to vaccinate their children.

In fact, Ginger Taylor, MS plays the religious freedom card for all the major religions:

Thus the need to look the difficult issue squarely in the face, as the loss of the right not to participate in the abortion industry in order to fully participate in public life is now at stake, and there are a large number of people who will be very upset when they find out after the fact that they have lost that right.

Because if you can extort a pro-life Christian into injecting aborted fetal cell line remains, and a Muslim into injecting porcine products, and a Hindu into injecting bovine serum, and a vegan into injecting monkey kidney cells, then religious freedom is gone in America, and no one has a right to exercise their conscience.

Similarly, Islamic legal scholars and imams have rejected the claim that the use of gelatin from “impure animals” is against Islam, concluding that the tranformation, “which means the conversion of a substance into another substance, different in characteristics, changes substances that are judicially impure or are found in an impure environment, into pure substances, and changes substances that are prohibited into lawful and permissible substances,” concluding that “gelatin formed as a result of the transformation of the bones, skin and tendons of a judicially impure animal is pure…” Indeed, the Dakar Declaration on Vaccination explained the necessity for vaccination to protect children from infectious diseases and laid out religious jurisprudence regarding the use of vaccinessupporting vaccination against deadly diseases. Basically very few religions have objections to vaccines, and nearly all encourage vaccination of children, and the antivaxers who invoke religion as their reason for not vaccinating are almost always not listening to their religious authorities, misrepresenting their religion, or represent a far fringe.

But what do I know? I’m not Ginger Taylor, MS.