vaccine religious exemption policy

Shalom everyone;

In light of the ongoing controversy regarding vaccine mandates, I need to make known our position on the matter here at Jacob’s Tent.

While I have very strong feelings about the COVID vaccination, personally, and am very troubled by the attempts to force these vaccinations upon people, I am not comfortable elevating my personal view on the subject to the level of established Jacob’s Tent policy. In other words, Jacob’s Tent does not take an official stand on whether someone should or shouldn’t take the COVID shot or any other shot for that matter — that choice is left to the individual. To do so would, in effect, be telling someone what to do or what not to do which is something I have not done where other issues are concerned and will not do in this regard.

I realize that certain Scriptures can be interpreted in such a way to justify abstaining from this vaccination; that I do not contest. However, there is no specific verse that says, “Thou shalt not get vaccinated,” and so then, there are some in our fellowship who have opted to take the vaccination and feel peace at doing so. In my view, this is a matter of personal conviction — I have mine and you have yours — and we must be willing to respect another’s position even if we vehemently disagree with it.

You should know that, within the by-laws of Jacob’s Tent, there is no stated position on seeking medical treatment — preventative or otherwise — including shots and vaccinations. Consequently, while we are very sympathetic to the fact that many of the faithful are having to make life-altering decisions in this regard, we will not be furnishing religious exemption letters to our congregants. To do so would be to concede we have an official position on vaccinations when, in fact, we do not.

Frankly, this is something that every US citizen has a right to pursue for themselves — in other words, you don’t need Jacob’s Tent to do this for you. Under the US constitution, you have the right to practice your faith according to your own conviction and I heartily recommend that you do just that. There are, in fact, organizations who advocate for people of faith within the court system and who have a better understanding of the legal issues involved here. Some of those organizations, like Advocates For Faith and Freedom, provide downloadable forms to use as templates for creating an individual’s petition for religious exemption. I recommend that you look into what assistance these organizations have to offer.

I realize that taking this position will not sit well with some but, after much prayer and reflection, this is to be our policy on the matter. I assure you that we not indifferent to the stress and concern this is causing for so many — we are very concerned. Yet, speaking as a pastor with an eye on the future, we must understand that this mandate and its ramifications is a precursor of other challenges yet to come. All of us — whether we are currently facing vaccine mandates or not — are going to enter into the valley of decision in the coming months and years. While we still can, take advantage of the freedoms and rights provided for us as U.S. citizens; pursue every option available under the U.S. Constitution (Paul asserted his right as a Roman citizen in order to avoid persecution and petition those in authority).

However you must consider that, if we are living in the last days, protests and exemption letters aren’t going to deliver us — only a committed faith in our Heavenly Father will see us through the trial. Therefore we must resolve, today, what costs we are willing to bear for our faith and whether or not we are prepared to enter the fire that is surely coming — none of us will get an exemption from that.

Be strong and of good courage!