Vaccinations, Constitutions, Rule of Law

Vaccinations, Constitutions, Rule of Law

2021 | Week of May 31 | Radio Transcript #1414

How do six bills dealing exclusively with the COVID-19 vaccination issue land in a state legislative committee on the Constitution and Ethics? Good question.

Each of these bills is about the rule of law. And the rule of law in this country and this state rests squarely on the US Constitution and the Wisconsin Constitution.

The question each of these bills addresses is whether or not it is lawful for state or local government, or any of its agencies or departments, or for publicly funded universities and colleges, or for any for-profit business or any not-for-profit organization to require proof of a person having been vaccinated in order for that person to enter a facility, to transact business, receive a service, or attend school. Put another way, the bills address the question of whether requiring proof of vaccination discriminates against our individual freedom to make our own medical decisions. Those are constitutional issues, rule of law matters.

As a full disclaimer, Wisconsin Family Council does not take a position on whether someone should receive any vaccine. We believe the decision to vaccinate or not is a personal medical decision. That said, we have always and will always defend the right of individuals to make their own medical decisions because we believe those are God-given rights and as such are constitutionally protected.

Based on the above, it makes perfect sense that the six bills in question are in the Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics. This committee, chaired by Republican Representative Chuck Wichgers, is holding a hearing this week on these bills. The bills are authored by and have support from Republicans.

When two bills that also deal with this vaccination issue had hearings earlier this year, testimony was passionate on both sides. Both those who supported the bills and those who opposed the bills invoked science and scientific authorities. The main difference was and will be once again in the hearings this week that those supporting the bills will appeal to the rule of law. They will assert that even during a public health crisis, setting aside the constitution and its protections is wrong and might ultimately prove to be disastrous.

Opponents of the bills will assert that in a public health crisis government, school officials and employers have the right to do whatever they believe is in the best interest of the public good, including, if deemed necessary, breaching the rights of citizens by requiring proof of vaccination to work, to attend school, to travel, to enter buildings to shop or to conduct other business and more.

Some question the necessity of these bills since Wisconsin currently has three exemptions for vaccines: medical, religious, and personal conviction. However, the law regarding these exemptions is specific to parents utilizing them to exempt their children from vaccinations required to attend school. What we don’t know is whether these exemptions would apply more broadly, for instance, in a workplace, or in a store, or in a government building.

Not all of these bills will get votes in the Assembly and the Senate. Leadership will end up determining which ones go to the floor, but I’m confident at least one, if not more of these bills, will land on Governor Evers’ desk. Then he will, once again, be faced with the question of whether the rule of law is important and must be maintained and respected even in, and really, especially in times of crisis, whether a public health crisis or some other type of crisis.

These are not inconsequential matters that will be discussed in the Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics this week. Committee members will be considering whether the government or anyone else for that matter has the right to question a citizen about his or her healthcare choices? And if we decide the government or schools or businesses have the right for this virus, what about the next public health threat?

We as Christian citizens need to be informed and involved as our government continues to work its way through this current crisis. We need to prayerfully make the best medical decisions we can for ourselves and our families. We need to ask God for the strength to show meekness about our decision and extend grace to those who disagree with us. We also need to understand the rule of law, and as we are instructed in Scripture, we must pray for our elected officials as they grapple with this bedrock issue that has implications far beyond this specific virus.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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