WHENEVER I get off the bus at Oxford city centre, I see the monument to the Oxford martyrs, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, who were burned at the stake in Broad Street in 1555, and Thomas Cranmer, who suffered a similar fate the following year. The three refused to renounce their Protestant beliefs during the reign of Catholic Mary Tudor, and died the most horrific deaths as a result.
I have often thought, when passing the monument and the commemorative plaque set in the wall of Balliol College opposite, that these men could have saved themselves simply by recanting, an option that was open to them and indeed, Archbishop Cranmer did recant before reaffirming his belief in Protestantism.
Now, I see more clearly that, whatever the consequences, they could not in all conscience revert to a faith they no longer believed in. We like to think we live in more civilised times and no longer burn people at the stake for not conforming to the religious orthodoxy of the time – but do we? The history of the last three years has been an updated version of martyrs being consigned to the flames for their beliefs, but this time the rejected articles of faith are the Covid vaccines.
They have become the new religion, with fervent advocates even among church and spiritual leaders. Instead of enjoining us to believe in God, they have urged us to save ourselves by having the vaccine. Their sermonising on the matter has even acquired the status of holy writ as, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Jesus would have wanted us to have the vaccine. The Dalai Lama urged his many followers to ‘be brave and come forward to be vaccinated’ after having the jab himself.
So, as the faithful line up for their sixth jab, the vaccine can be considered the secular equivalent of Holy Communion. The point of Holy Communion is to partake of the body and blood of Christ to absolve us from our sins, and the mRNA vaccine is supposed to protect us against bodily ills. In both cases, the idea is to keep the devil out by a ritual and oft-repeated observance.
Those of us who have done our research, and cannot in all honesty believe in the magical power of the vaccine to ward off the devil of Covid infection, are the heretics of today who deserve to be burned at the stake, or in today’s equivalent to be cast out of polite society and ridiculed as anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, tinfoil hat wearers and covidiots. Doctors have lost their jobs for refusing to accept the supremacy of the vaccine and the (very) few politicians who have spoken out against it have been ostracised and marginalised.
Of course, when it comes to Protestantism or Catholicism, it is a question of belief. Yet we know how the vaccines work, and have proof that they are harmful and can set up a variety of adverse reactions in the body. As such, those of us who know the truth cannot recant whatever the cost, as to do so would be to accept the lie that the mRNA vaccines have been a wonderful success story the world over, saving millions of lives.
But even as evidence of severe damage and sometimes death from the vaccine mounts up, as reported on TCW, this continues to be brushed aside, discounted and even denied. Indeed, those who question the holiness of the mRNA to protect us from all ills do so at our personal and professional peril. Whenever a vaccine-related serious side effect or death is reported, it is dismissed in the media as ‘extremely rare’ and insignificant compared with all the good the rollout has accomplished.
And when a fully-vaccinated individual catches Covid anyway, the believers’ standard response is to allege that, but for the multiple jabs, their illness would have been much worse. Vaccines have become, one might say, the holy water of our times.
We may live in a largely secular age, but we have substituted belief in God for a belief in science, and most especially medical science, or what passes for it these days. We have come to worship Big Pharma with the kind of adoring reverence we used to reserve for God and Jesus, and this persists even when the so-called science fails us.
The religious fervour goes even further. The ever-increasing number of vaccines administered to babies can be considered analogous to a holy baptism. For just as baptisms and christenings were supposed to cast out original sins before the baby had time to commit any, so today the many vaccines are supposed to cast out devils in the shape of measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox, or prevent them from entering. Once again, the supposedly protective substances are injected long before the baby has had time to develop any of the infections.
Belief in the efficacy and safety of vaccines is so devout that nobody is allowed to raise a dissenting voice, and anybody who dares to do so, such as Dr Andrew Wakefield, risks not only being discredited, but struck off the medical register and not allowed to practise. More recently, Dr Sam White was suspended for ‘spreading misinformation’ about the efficacy of the Covid vaccine. Robert F Kennedy Jr, a challenger for the American presidency, is routinely attacked for promoting anti-vaccine propaganda. Yet to their eternal credit these people will not be silenced.
The search is now on to find a vaccine for every ill that flesh is heir to, including cancer and malaria. Living in Oxford, I am always getting alerts from the Oxford Vaccine Group to be a volunteer for one of their new studies. If vaccines cannot actually deliver eternal life, they can, we are led to believe, confer the next best thing, which is eternal health.
At one time, those who did not believe in God were considered wicked. Nowadays, you are labelled an apostate if you don’t believe in the almighty power of the vaccine.
So I wonder whether I would be prepared to concede, under extreme torture, that the mRNA vaccine was safe and effective. Thankfully, my conviction that it is neither has not been put to such a severe test but pondering on the issue has given me a new understanding as to why Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer were prepared to die horribly for what they believed was true, rather than recant.
We know now that it was the sacrifice of these men, and particularly that of Cranmer, which made England a Protestant country. By the same token, I can only hope that those who have had the courage to speak out against the mRNA vaccine, and who because of this have been marginalised, ridiculed and in some cases lost their livelihood, will enable the tide to be turned at last.
Note: I hold no particular brief for either Protestantism or Catholicism but am just pointing out that the ultimate sacrifice from a few brave people can change beliefs – and society.