A Staten Island mother has filed a lawsuit this week in Brooklyn Federal Court agains the city Department of Education for not granting her five-year-old daughter a religious exemption from vaccinations, claiming that her First Amendment rights have been violated. But school officials called bullshit on her religious reasons, and barred her kid from attending classes because the law requires that public school children receive vaccinations, as it's a health issue. And they're fucking right.
Dina Check says that, as a Catholic, she believes:
[Li]fe is a gift from God and the body is a marvelous work of divine creation to be reverenced as a temple of God…To inject invasive and unnatural substances into this divine creation is showing a lack of faith in God and His way.
First of all, having also been raised as a Catholic, I know that, while Catholicism has some issues when it comes to adapting to modernity, childhood vaccinations aren't one of them. (Also, if you're following "God's way," why not throw caution to the wind in every regard and let your little girl walk home from school alone, hoping God will protect her from a kidnapping. Or don't bother to cook her chicken all the way through, hoping God will protect her from salmonella.) School officials knew this, too, stating that Check didn't substantiate that she has "genuine and sincere religious beliefs which are contrary to immunization."
In fact, Check had previously applied for an exemption based on medical grounds, saying that her daughter had gastrointestinal problems. It was only after that exemption was denied that she put in a request based on religious beliefs.
What this comes down to, it would seem, is that Check is part of that whole ridiculous parenting movement that erroneously believes that childhood inoculations—or the schedule in which they are received—is somehow unhealthy or causes autism. It is so stupid. It defies logic and science (which I guess is, in a way, not dissimilar from religious beliefs). But mostly, it's just so fucking selfish.
Of couse, not getting your child vaccinated is your own decision as a parent to make, if that's your way—however misguided—of protecting your child. But then don't expect that other people should relinquish their rights to protect their children from the little petrie dish you're raising. Check and her lawsuit is indicative of the arrogance of this particular kind of modern parent. Sure, you might think of your child as number one—but your child is not the only one. What you do or don't do as a parent has a ripple effect on society, particularly when you send your kid to school and expose other children to your parenting beliefs (and also, the measles).
If you're going to insist on mainstreaming your child in the public school system, then you should actually, you know, follow the mainstream—and the law—and get your kid vaccinated.
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