Of God, medicine, and private schools

With a headline like, “Parents Sue Catholic School for Denying Admission to Their Unvaccinated Son” you just have to click that link and read what’s up. Interestingly, the headline pretty well sums up the story:

A New York couple is suing a Catholic high school for refusing to grant a religious exemption that would allow their 14-year-old son to enroll in ninth grade without state-required vaccinations, claiming immunizations are a “violation of God’s supreme authority.”

Andrea and Paul Polydor, of Garden City, believe human bodies “should not be defiled by vaccines,” according to a complaint filed in Nassau County Court against Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale.

They claim their son — identified in the seven-page lawsuit as “JP” — should be granted an exemption to public health laws that require children to be inoculated for diseases including mumps, measles, rubella, hepatitis B and others.

“[W]e are all created in God’s image,” reads a letter the Polydors sent to the school on Feb. 13, according to the lawsuit. “Therefore, we must not defile our blood and our bodies with diseases and other impure substances. As the divine Architect, God designed our bodies to have immune systems that must not be defiled by vaccines. Immunizations are a violation of God’s supreme authority, and therefore, unholy. Since immunizations are unholy they violate my religious beliefs.”

And that pretty much tells me that these folks aren’t Catholic. The Catholic Church deeply appreciates and honors the gift of medicine from our Father and we don’t consider medical care to be an affront to his plans. Vaccinations are a time-tested approach to disease control, the science of which various scholars of the Church have contributed to over the course of centuries. To suggest that they somehow are against God’s will because he created us with immune systems is the same as suggesting that first aid and hospitals are against God’s will because he granted our bodies the ability to heal. Ridiculous.

The lawsuit seeks to apply an exception in the law to the school. That would be fine – if the school was a public school. It’s not. It’s a private school and the school’s administration is well within its rights to set the criteria for admission. The Polydors have voluntarily sought out this school, they were not forced into it as they would be a public school. (Meaning, they can’t simply decide to send their son to a different public school than the one that handles their residential area.) With that voluntary decision, they are held to the standards of the school. And if the school says you have to be vaccinated to go there, then that’s it. Don’t like that? Go to a different school. That requirement is held for everyone regardless of race, gender, creed, or anything else.

I’m pretty sure that the court will rule that way, as well, when this gets to the hearing. As I hear more, I’ll pass it along.

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