By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
Doubtless, there are going to be plenty of anti-vaxxers who are going to point to the death of former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell as proof that “the vaccine” does not work and that even the real existence of COVID-19 is a hoax.
Gen. Powell died Monday of complications from the disease in spite of being fully vaccinated.
If we’re being honest, hearing that he died from complications from the virus in spite of being vaccinated probably makes us all a little nervous. We are counting on the vaccine to make this world safe to live, work, and play in again. In spite of some religious leaders who have said that fearing death from COVID is essentially doubting the power of God and that we should all be willing to die from the disease if it’s God’s will, it’s probably safe to say that most of us are not of that mindset.
But the raging narrative about the virus being a made-up phenomenon in order to help liberals keep control of the government is beyond comprehension. The virus is deadly, and has killed far too many people globally.
Resistance to vaccines is not new and using God as the reason for resisting them is also not new. In 1902, for example, a Christian pastor, Henning Jacobson, who had been vaccinated against smallpox in his native Sweden and who had had a bad reaction to it, led a crusade against people getting the smallpox vaccination in this country where he and his family migrated when he had been a young boy.
The vaccine was created by using the pus taken from smallpox sores and injecting it under the skin of those seeking to avoid getting ill. Public health departments, horrified that the disease was taking so many lives, mandated that everyone get the vaccine. They were going door-to-door, primarily in poor communities of immigrants and African Americans, demanding that they get the vaccine.
People resisted; some committed suicide, some fled their cities, but some were eventually handcuffed and taken to jail. Rev. Jacobson objected – publicly – and declared that as an American citizen he had the right to choose whether or not he would be vaccinated. The energy opposing the vaccination mandate was as vitriolic then as it is now.
Jacobson never became a part of the anti-vax movement of that time, but he was not silent in his opposition to the vaccines and shared his beliefs, which held more power in the ability to persuade people of the danger of vaccines because of his status as a clergyman.
In the 20th century, smallpox killed over 300 million people. It was eradicated in 1980, not all that long ago, after an effective vaccination was created and distributed. It is certain, though, that if smallpox broke out again and governments issued vaccination mandates again that the resistance would be just as great as it was in 1902.
It is troubling that Powell died in spite of having been fully vaccinated. Supposedly if you are vaccinated you have a very good chance of not getting COVID-19 at all, or if you do, you get a much less severe case and in many cases, do not require hospitalization, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. But according to the way we think, Powell should not have died from COVID.
But though he did, the truth is that many other people contracted the disease and did survive and were not hospitalized. Breakthrough infections happen with any vaccination. At the end of the day, we all have to decide what we are going to do. We can choose to risk getting severely ill and dying, or we can choose to get the vaccine and be as protected as we possibly can.
I chose the latter and hope I don’t get the disease, or if I do, that it doesn’t take me out. But even if it does, I will leave this earth knowing all I could do to protect myself and those whom I love – and even those whom I do not know.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. And she is an award-winning author for her latest book, “With Liberty and Justice for Some: The Bible, the Constitution, and Racism in America,” available through all booksellers. Contact her at email@example.com.
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