Bill seeks to end religious exemption for vaccines in Vermont public schools

By Taylor Slonaker | Community News Service

Children and adults in schools and childcare facilities would not be able to use religion to avoid vaccination requirements under a new bill being considered in the State House. Here in the White River Valley, both clergy and legislators say they support the measure.

Windsor District Senator Dick McCormack, who sponsored the bill, said the bill centers squarely on the right to safely attend school.

state of Vermont

Sen. Dick McCormack, D-Windsor

“Kids have a right to go to school and that right to go to school would include the right to go to a reasonably safe school,” McCormack said.

The law currently allows for a parent or guardian to provide a signed statement to the school or childcare facility that states their religious beliefs are opposed to vaccination. That statement allows for an exception to be made to the rules requiring children to be inoculated against an array of diseases.

If this bill is passed, individuals could still be exempt from vaccination requirements if a health-care practitioner certifies that a specific vaccine would be detrimental to that person’s health.

The bill, according to McCormack, is a public health matter “that doesn’t change with the motives of the person creating the threat to public health.”

“Freedom of religion is not a freedom to violate other people’s rights,” McCormack said.

At least some local leaders of Christian congregations agree with McCormack and have said they support the bill as well.

Pastor Tom Harty of the United Church of Bethel, said the virus is something that affects everyone, and public health should be the top consideration.

“There is and should be no such thing as a religious exemption for something that affects all of us and public health, health in general. Because it goes all against the precepts of what religions are,” Harty said.

Reverend Mark Pitton of the Sharon Congregational Church said a religious exemption can actually end up weakening religion on the whole.

“It’s using religion, anybody’s religion, for their own personal needs and desires. And that just weakens the idea of religion and faith,” he said, adding he believes that a provision for due process should be included in the bill.

“I would hope that the bill would have some mechanism, some ability to go before a judge and plead a case,” he said. “But as a general rule or general removal of this idea of religious exemptions for vaccination, yeah, I would be for that.”

The lead sponsor of the bill is Bennington District Senator Brian Campion, along with co-sponsors Sen. Richard Sears and Sen. Michael Sirotkin of Bennington and Chittenden districts respectively.

Currently, the bill is in the Health and Welfare Senate Committee after a first reading in the Senate.

The Community News Service is part of the Reporting and Documentary Storytelling Program at the University of Vermont.

Images courtesy of U.S. Secretary of Defense and state of Vermont

17 thoughts on “Bill seeks to end religious exemption for vaccines in Vermont public schools

  1. “California Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 2098 on Feb. 15, which would prevent licensed physicians and surgeons from spreading COVID-19 misinformation. If passed, the law would inject disciplinary actions by the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California to care providers promoting alleged misinformation.”

    Sounds like something McCormack would do.

  2. We need a scientific exemption, based on “the data”, as we hear so often.
    Science includes data, if it’s real science. As far as I’ve heard, the data go against the popular narrative, and that is just not OK, because we must remain very afraid and stick with the program.
    Science is getting a really bad name when it’s used this way. Where are the scientists? They know this is the bunk.

    • Science has devolved as far as I’m concerned re: Fauci in particular. And have any of these clergymen investigated the increasing list of required vaccines in the last ten or twenty years which have contributed to increasing poor health in children? Government answers to Big Pharma these days, not the other way around. I am truly appalled at the lack of inquiry beyond watching/reading mainstream news.

  3. Liberty is risky but it is worth it. If vaccines work and your child is vaccinated then they are safe at school. An unvaccinated child is only a danger to themself. Why does the left seem to be going full speed ahead toward authoritarianism, collectivism and against individual Constitutional rights?

    • Example: ‘They’ (profiteers) called it ‘polio’. ‘It’ came about as the result of the use of DDT. In other words, it was invented. Today, it continues to be a false narrative; a cover story. Please for the love of God, leave the children alone. They and/or their parents deserve the right to say ‘no’ to an unnecessary and often fraudulent dose of something masquerading as a ‘vaccine’, especially an Mrna that isn’t. Personally, I am NOT interested in having an injection of anything containing aborted fetus. It’s against my religion.

  4. First off McCormick has a appropriate first name and maybe should change his middle name
    to Head…. This war on children by the leftist commies is unbelievable until you realize it’s
    to make them fall in line with their future commie rulers.. As has been noted this has nothing
    at all to do with the Science not to be confused with Fraud Fauci “science” which changes
    by the day.. Mandatory vax’ing and masking children should be a crime for a condition
    that only 0.01% chance of effecting them. If this is all to protect teachers then put THEM in a bubble and leave the Kids alone..

  5. That these guys were elected, as State Senators no less, goes to show you just how confused the average parishioners (err, I mean voters) in Bennington and Windsor are.

    As for Reverend Pitton, he’s right out of central casting as Cotton Mather, Puritan clergy man who, during the Salem Witch Trials, ‘warned against performing magic due to its connection with the devil’. Pastor Tom Harty plays the Reverend Samuel Parris.

    Only today, paradoxically, the tables have turned. ‘Performing magic’ is tantamount to having respect for one’s natural immune system and being skeptical of an experimental vaccine that is proving to be less and less effective, not to mention potentially dangerous, as the scientific data is exposed.

    Dr. Mark Levine plays the role of the village doctor Griggs in 1692, accusing otherwise reasonable people of bewitchment. The State Senators play the roles of Chief Justice William Stoughton and the court (err, I mean the Health and Welfare Senate Committee). It remains to be seen how many names will be “cried out” by tormented legislators, teachers, and young students as they accuse the unvaccinated as the cause of their devilish pain.

    Welcome to the unholy puritanic legacy of New England.

  6. The only way Vermonters will ever be safe is when we remove all of the idiots from the dome of gloom

    These people bare crazy

  7. Look, we’ve survived decades using the old system of religious and philosophical exemptions to vaccination. Our children weren’t dropping dead. It was recognized as the right thing to do and the reason it was recognized as the right thing to do is that legislators remembered medical abuses in the past through forced medication, and they recognized the principle of informed consent.

    What next, will McCormack sponsor a bill requiring all Vermonters to take Valium in the morning so that we can all “stay safe” from people who get violent? After all, don’t we all deserve to drive on roadways without fear of road rage, and don’t we all deserve to be safe from people who get violent in public?

    Want to be protected? Take your vaccines. Problem solved. Leave the rest of us alone.

  8. Since school age children are at extremely low risk from the virus, since the virus doesn’t prevent the recipient from getting or transmitting covid and since there has been a significant uptick of negative post-vaccination symptoms (like mortality of recipient) it would appear there is a motive for this unpopular and unjustified mandate that is not revealed. Indeed, there is a plethora of indefensible positions and actions taken in the past year that have had a significant negative impact on the country and its people, that have infringed upon personal autonomy and moved us in a Third World Dictatorship direction. What is the REAL motivation behind these regulations?

  9. This guy needs to be removed. This jab will not stop you from catching or spreading covid. Get with the real science buddy. It wont protect anybody

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