@MitchWagner As a clergywoman, I am stumped about exactly how religious exemptions for vaccination work. Do you have to prove membership in a religious community which holds theological objections to vaccinations? Get a note from your pastor? Or are we talking about 21st century Sheilaism? In that case, why drag religion into it? Why not just call it an objection of conscience?
@annahavron Interesting, and something I've been following. It seems to me that the "note from your pastor" would have to say that your religious confession forbids a practice (e.g. Jehovah's Witnesses and blood transfusions, maybe involvement in consuming forbidden substances?). Otherwise how is it different from a statement about individual conscience?
In my own confession (eastern Orthodoxy), objections have been focused on mandates that require some sort of vaccination proof, but exempt "essential activities." As in Romania (I just read), you don't have to offer vaccination proof to shop for groceries, but you might to go to church. In our view church is an essential activity, maybe more essential than food.
@JMaxB The Orthodox tradition is far from alone in considering church an essential activity. My denomination has not demanded that people prove vaccination before attending in-person worship. However, in my parish we therefore have changed the order of service and some of our practices to make it more safe. But I also have the freedom and the backing of my bishop to close a service down or significantly change how it is run if it endangers the lives of the worshippers (e.g. limiting singing, holding outdoor graveside services instead of indoor funeral services; requiring people to wear masks...); the same as I have the authority to stop a wedding if the bride and/or groom appear to be drunk (in which case they can't consent to the vows they are making, or the legal documents we are all signing...). Romania's history includes, in living memory, violent suppression of religion, so I'm not surprised that church is not considered essential. P.S. I spent several months in Greece, including attending Holy Week and Easter services at Orthodox churches; there is much "holy envy" (in Krister Stendahl's sense) that I enjoy toward Orthodox expressions of Christianity. Not least the artwork. Light and life to you.