“We really have this strong belief [about vaccination]. If it wasn’t that strong I would never jeopardize my job, knowing I have five kids, a wife, a mortgage. That’s how deeply we feel about this.” Orf so say’s Christian Gary Cowlay, one of several individuals fired from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for refusal to get an H1N1 vaccine.
The story is here, and Phil Plait is talking about it here.
Cowlay’s statement quoted above is both outrageous and typical. It is outrageous because this is a man insisting that it is OK for him to endanger the lives of the very ill children in this specialized hospital because his beliefs are so strong. And it is typical of many highly (or even moderately) religious people, to think that received knowledge is more important and more valid than scientific knowledge. And I use the word “think” in the most meaningless way possible.
This is not the first time that religion has been recognized as interfering with sanitary practices in a medical setting.
It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. The union to which some of the fired hospital workers belong is challenging the firing. Perhaps this will go to court and we can settle the issue once and for all.