AN open letter to the Prime Minister signed by almost 1,000 clergy and church leaders, describing vaccine passports as a ‘fundamental betrayal’ of Christian belief, was reported in several newspapers over the weekend.
The signatories told Boris Johnson they will defy vaccine passport rules if they are told to implement them in churches, saying: ‘To deny people entry to hear this life-giving message and to receive this life-giving ministry would be a fundamental betrayal of Christ and the Gospel.’
To my knowledge, however, none of the papers published either the full letter and the full set of signatories. Yet it is hard to compute its impact with our seeing them.
This is why we have now decided to publish the full document. Only by seeing page upon page of those who have put their name to the letter do we get any idea of the extent of Christian outrage at the Government’s proposals.
Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP
cc Members of Parliament
13 April 2021
Dear Prime Minister,
As Christian leaders across a range of denominations, we continue to pray at this time for your government ‘and all in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life
in all godliness and dignity’ (1 Timothy 2:2).
However, we write to you concerning an area of the most serious concern, namely the potential introduction into our society of so-called ‘vaccine passports’, which have also
been referred to as ‘Covid-status certificates’ and ‘freedom passes’.
We are wholly opposed to this suggestion and wish to make three points about the potential consideration of any scheme of this type.
Firstly, to make vaccination the basis of whether someone is allowed entry to a venue, or participation in an activity, makes no logical sense in terms of protecting others.
If the vaccines are highly effective in preventing significant disease, as seems to be the evidence from trial results to date, then those who have been vaccinated have already received
protection; there is no benefit to them of other people being vaccinated.
Further, since vaccines do not prevent infection per se, even a vaccinated person could in theory carry and potentially pass on the virus, so to decide someone’s ‘safe non-spreader’ status on the basis of proof of their immunity to disease is spurious.
Secondly, the introduction of vaccine passports would constitute an unethical form of coercion and violation of the principle of informed consent. People may have various
reasons for being unable or unwilling to receive vaccines currently available including, for some Christians, serious issues of conscience related to the ethics of vaccine manufacture
We risk creating a two-tier society, a medical apartheid in which an underclass of people who decline vaccination are excluded from significant areas of public life.
There is also a legitimate fear that this scheme would be the thin end of the wedge leading to a permanent state of affairs in which Covid vaccine status could be expanded to encompass
other forms of medical treatment and perhaps even other criteria beyond that.
This scheme has the potential to bring about the end of liberal democracy as we know it and to create a surveillance state in which the Government uses technology to control certain
aspects of citizens’ lives.
As such, this constitutes one of the most dangerous policy proposals ever to be made in the history of British politics.
Finally, as Christian leaders we wish to state that we envisage no circumstances in which we could close our doors to those who do not have a vaccine passport, negative test certificate, or any other ‘proof of health’.
For the Church of Jesus Christ to shut out those deemed by the state to be social undesirables would be anathema to us and a denial of the truth of the Gospel.
The message we preach is given by God for all people and consists in nothing other than the free gift of grace offered in Christ Jesus, with the universal call to repentance and faith in him. To deny people entry to hear this life-giving message and to receive this life-giving ministry would be a fundamental betrayal of Christ and the Gospel.
Sincere Christian churches and organisations could not do this, and as Christian leaders we would be compelled to resist any such Act of Parliament vigorously.
We draw your attention to the recent judicial review overturning the Scottish Government’s ban on public worship, which demonstrates that such disproportionate prevention of the right to worship is a clear infringement under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
We cannot see how any attempt to prevent people gathering for worship on the basis of either testing or non-vaccination would not similarly be ruled to be a breach.
We agree with those members of Parliament who have already voiced opposition to this proposal: that it would be divisive, discriminatory and destructive to introduce any such mandatory health certification into British society.
We call on the Government to assert strongly and clearly that it will not contemplate this illiberal and dangerous plan, not now and not ever.
Rev Dr Jamie Franklin, Curate, St George in the Meadows, Nottingham, England.
Rev David Johnston, Minister Emeritus, Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Northern Ireland.
Rev Dr William JU Philip, Minister, The Tron Church Glasgow, Scotland.
Rev A Paul Levy, Minister, Ealing International Presbyterian Church, London, England.
Rev Mez McConnell, Director of 20schemes, Director of Acts 29 Church in Hard Places, Scotland.
Mr Terence McCutcheon, Executive Director, Hope For Glasgow, Addiction Recovery Centre, Scotland.
* * * *
Fr Daniel A. French, Vicar of Malborough, Salcombe and South Huish, England.
Rev Thomas Pelham, Asst Curate, Canford Cliffs, Sandbanks, England.
Fr Richard Mutter, Priest, Church of England, England.
Rev Andrew Gough, School Chaplain, England.
Fr Jonathan Beswick, Rector, St Peter’s London Docks, England.
Rev Josh Johnston, Associate Minister, The Tron Church (Central), Glasgow, Scotland.
Rev Dr Rupert Hunt-Taylor MRCVS, Minister, Edinburgh North Church, Scotland.
William McCurrie, Pastor, Aughton Park Baptist Church, England.
John-William Noble, Pastor at Grace Baptist Church Aberdeen, Scotland.
Thomas Seidler, Elder, Hambro Rd Baptist, Streatham, England.
Rev Garry Brotherston, Minister, Bishopbriggs Free Church of Scotland, Scotland.
Pastor Thomas Yates, Minister, England.
Rev Paul Gibson, Minister, Knox Church, Perth, Scotland.
Rev Garry Brotherston, Minister, Bishopbriggs Free Church of Scotland, Scotland.
Rt Rev D F Stockford, Protestant Truth Society (Chairman), UK.
Rev Tom Brown, Curate, St Thomas’ Church, Kilnhurst, England.
Rev Peter Dickson, Elder, Edinburgh North Church, Scotland.
Gerald James White, Pastor, Hope Church, Bingham, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Dr Matthew Hyde, Minister, Brighton, England.
Pastor Alastair Simmons, Elder, Seagate Church, Troon, Scotland.
Duncan Williams M.A. (Cantab.), Organist, Holy Trinity, Ventnor, England.
John Gamble, Elder, Ebenezer Church, Burnbank, Scotland.
The Rev Dr Samuel Gibson, Vicar, St George’s, Edgbaston, Diocese of Birmingham, England.
Rev Ewen Matheson, Minister, Scotland.
Dr Jonathan Woodrow, Pastor of Christ Church, Loughborough, England.
Rev. Andrzej Stelmasiak, MA, BD, Minister, Bulkington Congregational Church, EFCC, England.
Mr Paul Harkess, Assistant Minister, Scotland.
Gavino Fioretti, Minister Kiltearn Free Church, Scotland.
Giles Woodcraft, Pastor, Hope Church, Ferndown, England.
Rev Mark Williams, Priest in Charge, St Paul’s, Shanklin and Christ Church, Sandown, England.
Richard Gamble, Pastor, Bothwell Evangelical Church, Scotland.
Mr Peter Taylor, Church Leader, Immanuel, Romford, England.
Arthur O’Malley, Pastor, Scotland.
Dr Geoff Fox, Church Leader, Haven Church, Gorran Haven, England.
Rev David Mitchell, Pastor, Connect Church, Kirkcaldy, Scotland.
Rev Fr. John X Leal, Rector St Michael’s, Coppenhall, Crewe, Cheshire, England.
Pastor John Brand, Pastor, Grace Community Church, Broxburn, Scotland.
Rev John M Peters, Retired Methodist Minister, England.
Rev Tomas Workman, Lead Pastor, Riverview Church, Bo’ness, Scotland.
Rev James MacInnes, Minister, Lochalsh and Strath Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), Scotland.
Dale Mcalpine, Elder Grace Baptist Workington, England.
Alan Crooks MRICS, Elder and Trustee, Hope Church, Blackwood, Scotland.
Rev Paul Yeulett, Pastor, Grove Chapel, Camberwell, England.
Rev Steven Hanna, Christ Church, Exeter, England.
Rev Peter Bruce, Pastor, Chardsmead Baptist Church, Bridport, England.
David Moore, Pastor, Milton Baptist Church, Stoke-on-Trent, England.
Rev Dr Ian Stackhouse, Senior Pastor, Millmead, Guildford Baptist Church, England.
Mr Donald J Morrison, Home Mission Worker, Scotland.
Rev Tom Benyon, Associate Vicar, St Michael’s, Stoke Gifford, England.
Rev Paul Murray, Minister, Kinloch Free Church of Scotland, Scotland.
Rev John Palmer, Pastor, Bethany Evangelical Church, Leigh, England.
Rev Matthew C Baines, PhD Student, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Mr Alan Stirling, Leader, Calderwood Baptist, East Kilbride, Scotland.
Rev J Caldwell, Pastor, Kairos Church, Stirling, Scotland.
Philip Hopkins, Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Chapel, Bounds Cross, Biddenden, England.
Douglas Hamilton, Elder and Church Council Member, The Tron Church, Glasgow, Scotland.
Rev Helkias Mapimhidze, Curate, Evenlode Vale Benefice, England.
Dr Dan Martin, Pastor, Grace Church, Gateshead, England.
Rev Steve Lloyd, Church Pastor, England.
Eddie Roberts, Pastor, Stanley Park Independent Evangelical Church, Liverpool, England.
Mrs Kirsten Furr, Co-Founder, East Mountain UK, Pencaitland, Scotland.
The Rev Liam Beadle, Parish Priest, St Chad’s, Toller Lane, Bradford, England.
Mr Dave Hewer, Elder, Grace Church, Gateshead, England.
Peter Kinley, Minister, Needham Market Evangelical Church, Suffolk, England.
Rev Andrew A Downie, Minister, Balintore UFCofS, Scotland.
Jonathan Gibson CFP, Managing Director, Wells Gibson Limited, Scotland.
Rev Stuart D. Reynolds, Director of Ears To Hear Ministries Ltd, England.
David Stanford, Pastor, Solent Evangelical Church, Gosport, England.
Rev M Andreyev, Vicar, St Peter’s Stapenhill, England.
Rev Graeme Craig, Minister, Free Church (Continuing), Ayr, Scotland.
David Hollands BSc PGCE, Elder, Hambro Rd Baptist, Streatham, England.
Rev Paul Brennan, Associate Minister, The Tron Church, Glasgow, Scotland.
Murray Mackay, Elder, Partick Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), Scotland.
Pastor Kieran McKnight, Assistant Pastor, Aspley Christ Church, England.
David Fielding, Pastor, Castlefields Church, Derby, England.
Rev Stephen Mourant BTh., Associate Rector, Farleigh Candover and Wield, England.
Mr Charles Alford, Cornhill, Scotland.
Rev James E North, Elder, Landford Wood Mission Hall, England
Rev K Macdonald, Minister, FCC Scotland.
Rev Kyle Mulholland, Assistant Curate, Ansdell and Fairhaven St Paul (Church of England), England.
David L Court, Minister, Christ Church, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Oliver Allmand-Smith, Pastor, Trinity Grace Church, Ramsbottom, England.
Rev Jeff Higgins, Minister, Barton Evangelical Church, Lincolnshire, England.
Alan Clark, Elder, The Tron Church, Glasgow, Scotland.
Luke Harding, Minister, City Lights, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Stephen Cassell, Elder at Rora Christian Fellowship, England.
Bill McMurdo, Pastor, Garngad Church, Glasgow, Scotland.
Dr Andrew Ritson, Minister in Training, Grace Church, Larbert, Scotland.
Alasdair Macmillan, Elder, Townhead Church, Newmilns, Ayrshire, Scotland.
Reverend J Gareth Parry, Priest-in-Charge Mission of the Good Shepherd and St Tudwal, Conwy (Anglican Catholic Church), Wales.
Rev Tim Gamston, Pastor, Broadstone Baptist Church, England.
Martin Ludbrook, Pastor, Richmond Church, Sheffield, England.
Rev David A Craig, Former Senior Pastor, Bournemouth Community Church, England.
Mr Neil Albrock, Deacon, Cowdenbeath Baptist Church, Scotland.
Rev Rod Cox, Pastor, Drumchapel Baptist Church, Glasgow, Scotland.
Mr Andrew Wood, Elder, Bishopbriggs Free Church, Glasgow, Scotland.
Gary Lister, Manager, the Haven, Kilmacolm, Scotland.
Pastor Andrew Knox, Pastor, Davenport Rd Evangelical Church, Derby, England.
Mr Jonathan Paul Merton, Elder, Grace Church, Gateshead, England.
Rev Richard Ross, Minister, Portree, Scotland.
Andrew Cameron, Senior Support/Pastoral Care, The Haven, Kilmacolm, Scotland.
Rev Andy Hambleton, Minister, Crumlin Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Northern Ireland.
Rev Nathan Owens, Minister, Maxwell Church, Scotland.
Lawrence Hayes, Deacon, Cowdenbeath Baptist Church, Scotland.
Rev Alan, Minister, Harper Church, Scotland.
Rev Fred Rich, Pastor, Allerton Congregational Church, England.
Pastor Jenny Yates, Deacon of Milford-on-Sea Baptist Church, Hampshire; Associate Director of New Forest Healing Rooms,
Rev Terry McGrath, Director, The Dympna Centre, England.
Rev Robbie Brown, Pastor, Fraserburgh Baptist Church, Scotland.
Miss Edith Forrest, Elder, Scotland.
Daniel Mihet, Pastor, Bethany Evangelical Church, Dumfries, Scotland.
Calvin Robinson, Ordinand, England.
Bill Goodman, Pastor, Bethel Baptist Chapel, Bath, England.
Dr James Steer, Pastor for Internationals, England.
Mrs Marion Robertson, Church Elder, Scotland.
Peter Chapman, Elder, Baldock Baptist Church, England.
Daniel Brown, Elder, Caersalem, Swansea, Wales.
The Rev Douglas Dales, Associate Anglican Priest, East Downland Benefice, Diocese of Oxford, England.
Rev Stephen A Marr, Minister of Chryston UF Church, Scotland.
Rev Murdo A N Macleod, Minister at Snizort Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), Isle of Skye, Scotland.
David Ramsay, Elder, Bothwell Evangelical Church, Scotland.
Ian C Boot FCCA, Elder, Richmond Wesleyan Reform Church, Sheffield, England.
Pastor David W Kay MA, Minister of Whiddon Valley Evangelical Church, Barnstaple, Devon, England.
Mr David Mitchell B.A., B.Sc., Station Manager, Revival Radio, Cumbernauld, Scotland.
Rev Phill Sacre, Assistant Minister, Great Clacton, England.
Brian Lowrie, Youth Pastor, Scotland.
Mr Chris Chandler, Elder, Ipswich Christian Fellowship, Ipswich, England.
Mr Stephen Clarke, Elder, Rora Christian Fellowship, Liverton, Devon, England.
Rev Iain M Waddell, Minister, Elim Pentecost, Scotland.
Rev Brian A Shersby, Retired Church of England Rector, England.
Bishop David Onimisi, England.
Mr Martin Begley, Addiction Support Worker, Hope for Glasgow Addiction Centre, Scotland.
Dr Kevin Roy, Pastor, Castle Sowerby Chapel, England.
Dr Mike Viccary, Preacher at Penuel Baptist, Roch, United Kingdom.
Dr Russell Healey, Elder, Evington Chapel, England.
Mr Terry Bees, Elder, Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Cardiff, Wales.
Rev Bill Boyce, Rector, St Brigid’s, Mallusk, Northern Ireland.
Rev Jonathan Vaughan, Vicar, Wolvey Group of Churches, England.
Mr Nicholas Pollock, Pastor, Christ Church, Loughborough, England.
John Lowrie, Pastor, East Finchley Baptist Church, London, England.
Rev Andrew Mathieson, Pastor, Scotland.
Rev Andy Batchor, Vicar of Harbury, Ladbroke, and Ufton, England.
David Dickson, Pastor, Lochee Baptist Chapel, Scotland.
Chris Rogers, Warden, St Michael and All Angels, Wembworthy, England.
Fr David Burrows, Rector of Elland, England.
Rev Canon Phil Harris OSL, Ecumenical Officer, CEEC / Order of St Leonard, England.
Bishop Andrew Golba, Harvest Fields Ministries, England.
Rev Robert M Walker, Elder, St Andrews Free Church of Scotland.
James P Burgess, Itinerant Strict Baptist Minister, Eastbourne, England.
Rev K Hilton-Turvey, Rector of Ledbury and Eastnor, England.
Rev David Swan BVMS BD, Prison Chaplain, HMP Edinburgh and HMYOI Polmont and Junction 42 Outreach
Andrew Chapple, Senior Elder at Redruth Baptist Church, England.
Mr Jo Johnson, Deacon, Church of God, Buckhaven, Scotland.
John Hope, Elder, Providence Baptist Chapel, Cheltenham, England.
Richard Henry, Church Manager, Tron Church, Glasgow, Scotland.
Rev Matt Hornby, Vicar of Coppull Parish Church and St John’s, Coppull, England.
Rev William Macleod, Minister Knightswood Free Church (Cont), Scotland.
Stephen Wilds CQSW DMS, Deacon, Harvest Fields, Doncaster, England.
Bishop Grace Golba, Bishop, Harvest Fields Ministries, England.
Richard Woods, Pastor, Seagate Church, Troon, Scotland.
Peter Fullerton, Pastor, Scotland.
Rev D Hazell, Assistant Curate, St Mary the Virgin, Battle, and Church of the Ascension, Telham, England.
Rev Peter Turnbull, Minister, Burghead Free Church, Scotland.
Mr David O’Donnell, Vicar of Christ, England.
The Venerable Dr Edward Dowler, Archdeacon of Hastings, England.
Martin Ackerley, Elder, Redruth Baptist Church, England.
Neil Longwe, Elder, Cumbernauld Free Church, Scotland.
Rev Josh Williamson, Pastor, Newquay Reformed Baptist Church, England.
Rev Tom Allen, Pastor, Free Grace, Belvedere, England.
Mark Seymour, Minister, Staplehurst, Kent, England.
Steven Grant, Elder, Tron Church, Glasgow, Scotland.
Rev Andrew Morrison, Minister, Arbuthnott, Bervie & Kinneff Church, Church of Scotland.
Rev Hamish Wishart, Pastor, Cornton Baptist Church, Scotland.
Rev Jason Lingiah, Minister, Moncrieff United Free Church of Scotland, Alloa, Scotland.
Pastor Roland Brown, Pastor, Forest Hall Church, Loughton, Essex, England.
George Rodger, Session Clerk, Airdrie RPCS, Scotland.
George Owens, Pastor, Scotland.
Joan Owens, Elder, Scotland.
Timothy Ezat, Theologian, England.
James MacKenzie, Elder, Edinburgh North Church, Scotland.
Prof David J Galloway MD FRCS FACS FRCP FAMM FICS FCSSL, Elder, LennoEvangelical Church, Scotland.
Matthew Fitter, Team Rector, Christ Church and St Paul’s Anerley, London, England.
Michael Shaw, Associate Pastor, Strandtown Baptist, Northern Ireland.
Rev Isaac Wallace, Pastor, International Christian Worship Centre, England.
Rev Graham Burrows, Vicar, Burton and Holme Churches, England.
Mr Yerik Kellett-Smith, Church of Scotland Elder / Outreach Worker, Scotland.
Rev Paul Ackerley, Church Minister, Wales.
Rev Iain Smith, Minister, Scotland.
Regan King, Pastor, The Angel Church, Angel, Islington, England.
Mr Robin Singleton, Pastor, Grace Community Church, Loftus, England.
David Currie, Head of Operations for Connect2 Teen Challenge, Forth Valley, Scotland.
Luke Appleton, Churchwarden, Paignton Parish, England.
Rev David Carmichael, Minister of Abbeygreen Church, Lesmahagow, Scotland.
Graeme Williamson, Elder, Edinburgh North Church, Scotland.
Pastor Dama Safari, Missionary, Shalom Assembly, England.
David Canning, Elder, Dunamanagh Baptist Church, Northern Ireland.
Mr Alasdair Hynd, Elder, Abbey Green Free Church, Scotland.
Rev Iain B Hodgins, BA, Minister Emeritus, Bethesda Burry Green Presbyterian Church of Wales, Wales.
Mr Robert McDougall, Elder, Grace Church, Larbert, Scotland.
Joe Edwards, Evangelist, England.
Veronica Edwards, Evangelist, England.
Rev Iestyn ap Hywel, Minister of the Presbytery, Montgomeryshire, Wales.
Chola Mukanga, Pastor, England.
Veronica Edwards, Evangelist, England.
Rev Tony Ward, Retired Pastor, England.
Lisa Face BSc, MSc, Parish Vacancy Adviser, England.
Mrs Julie McAddock, Manager, Christian Charity, Scotland.
Rev Alasdair Macleod, Minister, Knock and Point Free Church (Continuing), Scotland.
Michael Juggins, Chaplain, England.
Ian Whiteford, Board Member, Glasgow Street Pastors, Scotland.
Mr Dougie Simpson, Young People’s Pastor, Deeside Christian Fellowship, Scotland.
Rev Steve Hayhow, Minister, England.
Pete Rennie, Pastor, Living Hope Church, Inverness, Scotland.
Jason Duffin, Pastor, Glencroft Church, Glen Parva, Leicester, England.
Mrs Liz Kilbride, Youth Leader, Wivey St Andrew’s, Somerset, England.
James Blott, Reader, England.
Pete Stewart, Pastor, Hope Community Church, Barlanark, Scotland.
Tineke Juggins, Sunday School Teacher, England.
Dana Vogelpohl, Pastor, Bible Believers, Glasgow, Scotland.
Brenda Haggarty, Teen Challenge Volunteer, Scotland
Melvyn Lawson, Pastor, Scotland.
Geoff Marshall, Pastor, Totton Evangelical Church, England.
Rev Clyde Thomas, Lead Minister, Victory Churches, Wales.
Frank Haggarty, Connect2 Teen Challenge Forth Valley Volunteer, Scotland.
Katharine Salmon, Licensed Lay Minister St Chad’s Far, Headingley, England. …