In news that will most likely desiccate the last little puddle of faith you have in human rationality, some enthusiastically religious parents in Queens are asking a judge to nullify a law that would keep their children out of school if classmates are carrying communicable diseases such as measles, mumps, and chicken pox (which, to my daily mounting terror, I've never contracted). Lawsuits filed last week in Queens Supreme Court by parents Fabian Mendoza-Vaca and Nicole Phillips have been transferred to Brooklyn Federal Court and could be resolved as early as next week in an emergency hearing where some secular-minded necromancer will hopefully raise Clarence Darrow from his grave so he can give everyone involved a proper finger-wagging.
Mendoza-Vaca, who kicked off the litigation last week after his two children were sent home by the principal of P.S. 107, has said, "It is my opinion that resorting to vaccinations demonstrates a lack of faith in God, which would anger God and therefore be sacrilegious." Oh, well, that makes complete, empirical sense and, since God's will is like mysterious or whatever, there's really no arguing with Mendoza-Vaca's logic. Phillips added, "We don't want anything being into our bodies at all. We'd rather rely on our natural immune system and our faith in God. This is about my children's rights."
According to Patricia Finn, the attorney representing both Queens parents, plenty of unvaccinated children attend school in New York daily, as New York state law offers vaccination exemptions for religious reasons. Some principals, however, have invoked a Chancellor's regulation that gives them the power to exclude unvaccinated children when their peers have contracted communicable diseases. While this ongoing legal battle may remind some of you that people can interpret religious doctrine in really wackadoo ways or that Jenny McCarthy irresponsibly used her celebrity pulpit to decry a medical practice that has all but eradicated previously life-threatening diseases in developed countries, the real tragedy here is that not only are these kids being denied vaccinations because their parents believe that God's an unreasonable asshole, they're also being denied all the days off that their super religious upbringing should entitle them to.
Since the Catholic Church has been in the news recently as being particularly opposed to certain forms of preventative health care, it'd be unfair not to note that a Catholic preschool booted a kid last year because she wasn't vaccinated and, for its efforts at keeping her safe from her disease-riddled classmates, the New York Archdiocese was sued by the girl's parents.
Religious ‘Rents Rage Against Vaccines [Gothamist]
Queens parents who oppose vaccination on religious grounds asking judge to knockdown city policy [NDNY]
Image via Sergej Khakimullin/Shutterstock.