Poetic justice

A Kentucky teen who sued his school because they required all students to be vaccinated has now been diagnosed as having chicken pox.

A US teenager who took legal action against his school after he was banned for refusing the chickenpox vaccination now has the virus, his lawyer says.

Jerome Kunkel, 18, made headlines last month after he unsuccessfully sued his Kentucky school for barring unimmunised students amid an outbreak.

His lawyer, Christopher Weist, told US media that the teen’s symptoms developed last week.
The student had opposed the vaccine on religious grounds.

His lawsuit argued the vaccine is “immoral, illegal and sinful” and that his rights had been violated.

“These are deeply held religious beliefs, they’re sincerely held beliefs,” Mr Wiest said.

Just because a belief is ‘deeply’ and ‘sincerely’ held does not make it reasonable. People can deeply and sincerely believe all manner of absurd and even harmful things.


  1. mastmaker says

    What religious belief? Is there any basis for this? Which line anywhere in the Bible prohibits vaccinations? The semi-literate nomads who wrote the Bible (or Koran or Vedas or ……) weren’t even aware of bacteria & virii. Hobby Lobby case has enabled all this non-sense. There’s not even a test of religiosity for the claims of ‘deeply’ held beliefs anymore.

  2. ridana says

    The anti-vaxxers have latched on to that to give them an out, basing it on the premise that the vaccine was originally developed in human embryonic tissue, and therefore goes against their “pro-life” beliefs.

    Apparently now you can also claim you don’t have to do your job if it violates your “deeply held religious beliefs.” Getting a job that doesn’t violate their beliefs is obviously too much of a hardship to require of these people. I’m thinking of starting a church that believes that you shouldn’t have to work for your paycheck because the Bible says you can’t serve two masters.

  3. says

    What religious belief? Is there any basis for this?

    Some early research on vaccines used cells lines descended from cells cultured from aborted fetuses. There is a myth out there that the vaccines made today are themselves produced via aborting fetuses to gain cells to use to reproduce virus that can then be inactivated (by I don’t know what cool biotech) and thus become a vaccine. There is also somehow the idea that the inactivated virus particles are somehow “part human fetus”. I don’t know if the kid subscribes to this last delusional belief, but from reporting he clearly does believe that vaccines are made today using human cells cultured from aborted fetuses. (FACT CHECK: This is NOT TRUE.)

    I know that some vaccines are made by infecting chicken eggs, but I have no idea if that’s true of vaccines for chicken pox. The only ones I know that are made that way are flu vaccines, and I know that flus can infect birds. I have no idea if its even possible for chicken pox viruses to infect birds or their ova.

    In any case, the “religious belief” is that taking the vaccine will taint their immortal souls through abortion cooties. Of course, there’s nothing in the bible prohibiting abortion and the bible is clear that that a child isn’t “alive” until it breathes outside the womb and it isn’t valid to count in a census as a real, live part of the Jewish community for a number of weeks (about two months, IIRC) -- and even then, only if the child is male. So it’s unclear where any objection to vaccines produced using aborted fetal cells would be found in the bible, even if it were true that the mass manufacture of (rather than a bit of early research on) chicken pox vaccines used such cells.

  4. mastmaker says

    Yes. They invented ‘abortion is against christianity’ thing out of whole cloth to just get the ‘christian’ votes. Their god specifically instructed to dash infants (albeit of the ‘wrong’ skin) against rocks. A lot he cares about the ‘unborn’! The pro-coat-hanger crowd is one of the most brainwashed bunch in all of the history.

  5. Jazzlet says

    Rubella is still propagated through the same cell line derived from the lungs of an aborted foetus. The Catholoc church has said that the saving of life resulting from using the vaccine over rides the harm done by the abortion over fifty years ago, most other branches of Christianity have made similar declarations where they are anti-abortion, as have the relevant authorities in pretty much all other religions.

  6. says

    The original anti-vaxxers were complaining that vaccination interfered with god’s will. Basically that’s their “issue” all along; just religious sadomasochism.

  7. mnb0 says

    Like I just wrote on PZ’s blog I can’t imagine how a belief can be sincere if it consists of predetermined conclusions so nothing can change that belief.

  8. raven says

    Just because a belief is ‘deeply’ and ‘sincerely’ held does not make it reasonable. People can deeply and sincerely believe all manner of absurd and even harmful things.


    The current champions for deeply, sincerely held religious beliefs that are also absurd and very harmful are…suicide bombers and attackers.
    They pay the ultimate price for their beliefs while killing large numbers of innocent strangers.

  9. Callinectes says

    I remember the chicken pox. The days where alright, but the nights were agony.

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