You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- Exodus 20:16
Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’”
- Matthew 26:59-61
I may be the last person in my family to get the COVID-19 vaccine, maybe the last on earth. I have filled out various forms for my wife who is at greater risk, but to no avail, only getting on waiting lists to receive an e-mail for information about future, sorta, maybe, information about how we will be unable to get on a waiting list in the future. If you followed that logic, you get a gold star.
Yet, some of the people that I know have already gotten their first shots and they are not as infirmed as I am, and they are just as retired as I am. How does that happen?
I go to the governor’s website and frontline workers are the only ones eligible to get the vaccine, so how do retirees that should be staying at home get the shot? With one couple, my wife said that they had relatives who were nurses. My response was, “So?!” My wife rolled her eyes and said, “It’s the old you scratch my back, and I will scratch yours. Connections! Connections!”
What brought up my search was a friend at the church who is a parttime church employee, the person that goes into hospitals and nursing homes to bring the bread and wine for communion, serve the elements, and to chat about how they are doing. This friend has been unable to get that done, and the church pulled some strings under the “clergy” provision. That makes sense, since this friend is more frontline than the pastor who preaches on Sunday to a sparse crowd of healthy people. Nothing against the pastor…
Now this is me talking from a state that is woefully behind many other states in getting the vaccine out to people. My wife and I have relatives in several Southern states and all members of almost all the families have had the vaccine already, almost all younger, all less infirmed, and none who go to a kidney dialysis center with 20-30 “friends” from nursing homes three times each week, but then the local news broke within the last few days that some hospitals are administering vaccine doses to the general public, some by appointment and some by first come first served basis. I hate the idea of that second option unless they have a lot of security to break up the fights in line. There have been people killed in the Black Friday shopping frenzy and stampedes in the past. This would be worse.
And how do you get on the “list” to wait in line for an appointment when the appointment making software is in “we are not accepting applications at this time” mode? In that mode because they are officially not giving vaccines to the general public – yet they are. So, how did a few people get on a list that does not exist?
I know people who have spent all day for weeks applying to be put on lists, and they have finally been successful. I have no idea how many lies they had to tell. I follow the same steps, and I get kicked off as eligible to get the vaccine but not eligible to be placed on a waiting list, while my wife is a 1B category person, just behind medical professionals and first responders. Yes, I am doing her computer work. As I said at the start, I may be the last person to ever get the vaccine. I am hitting one brick wall after another trying to get my wife on a list.
And this is a lot of sour grapes, I suppose. I am not saying any of this has happened, but if a church has a volunteer at the church that has a solitary job of fixing toilets, do they qualify as clergy so they can get the vaccine, when the classification is for clergy only, those people that visit the sick? Is it okay to say that you go to a group environment health facility when all you do is drop off your spouse at the front door while she goes into the facility? I could go on, but that might give some people more ideas of how to cheat their way to the front of the line.
In other words, is your fear of the virus so strong that you would bear false witness in order to bump yourself up to a higher priority level? Could you get a church to vouch for your lie? And the idea of “false witness against your neighbor” would apply if your neighbor has a greater need than you have and you get your vaccine first, putting that neighbor at greater risk.
Don’t think that too absurd. The Matthew Scripture about finding a good-enough liar to have Jesus crucified was done by the church’s leadership. I may write about Niccolò Machiavelli in a future “Heavy Topics” post, but many may think that the ends justify the means on this topic – more from fear and lack of faith – even among Christians, even among churches.
Do I have anyone willing to stand with me and do it the right way? Socially distanced of course… With a mask on… Maybe double masked as a good Doctor has suggested… And we may wait so long that they have no more vaccine or the virus has mutated and the vaccine is no good anymore anyway. What do you say? Can we trust in God and trust that following His Commandments will work?
Okay, a week after writing this, my wife got the information necessary to get past the red tape and we are finally on a waiting list. That is the good news. The bad news is that she was supposed to get preferential treatment due to kidney dialysis, immune disorders, etc., but we can only register as 65 or over. Now the waiting begins.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.