֎ [Newsy] New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that would eliminate religious exemptions for children’s vaccinations amid an ongoing measles outbreak. Under the new law, children who attend school or daycare can only be exempted from vaccine requirements if they have a medical reason. In a statement, Cuomo said: “The science is crystal clear: Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to keep our children safe. This administration has taken aggressive action to contain the measles outbreak, but given its scale, additional steps are needed to end this public health crisis.” Opponents of the bill say it violates religious freedoms and that they’ll continue to fight for their rights. The U.S. is currently facing one of the worst measles outbreaks in decades. In Rockland County, New York, there have been more than 260 confirmed cases since June 12.
Vaccination is a classic example of confrontation between freedom of religion and freedom of state. The largest religions address the common good in their doctrine but there are uncountable variations and assumptions in religious practice. The same is true of most governments; they are founded on principles of common good but the interpretation of common good runs to irrational extremes.
Common good must prevail else humanity may not survive. At its simplest, humans are a tribal species. Sans an available vaccine, the black plague wiped out sixty percent of Europe’s population in the fourteenth century. Regarding the issue of vaccination, whose freedoms take priority? Solutions require some doctrinal or legislative adjustment; whose common good is more important? Can one imagine a Venn diagram solution? Mariner leaves this issue with the reader to reconcile.