LONDON, England (ChurchMilitant.com) - Hundreds of Christian leaders in Britain have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson categorically stating they are "wholly opposed" to vaccine passports as a precondition of admitting worshippers to churches.
"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,'" pastors and lay leaders unequivocally declared.
"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," over 1,200 Christian leaders wrote Thursday.
Pastors "would be compelled to resist any such Act of Parliament vigorously" since "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 organizations could not do this," leaders across a range of denominations maintained.
While some Catholic clerics, including Anglican convert Fr. Benedict Kiely — now a Catholic priest in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham — have signed the letter, Catholic bishops across Britain have remained silent on Johnson's threats to issue vaccine passports.
"I think the letter is very calm and clear. I particularly was moved to sign it because of the pledge to never deny entry to our churches," Fr. Kiely told Church Militant.
"The Church in Britain seems to be remarkably silent as centuries of civil liberties are removed with barely a word of protest or even questioning," said Fr. Kiely, who has devoted his entire priestly ministry to helping persecuted Christians, especially in the Middle East.
Speaking to Church Militant, popular English writer and commentator Dn. Nick Donnelly said he'd also signed the letter but lamented the acquiescence of the Catholic hierarchy.
"The English bishops have made social justice, especially the rights of the socially disadvantaged, the focus of their proclamation of the gospel," Donnelly noted.
"So you'd be excused for thinking that the threat of vaccine passports — creating a social apartheid — would have them loudly protesting. But yet they remain strangely silent," he remarked.
Donnelly questioned the bishops' "apparent lack of concern for those members of their own flock whose consciences cannot bring them to benefit from abortion-tainted vaccines."
"Though a minority, these faithful face exclusion from sectors of society because they take the Church's absolute prohibition of abortion seriously. Couldn't the bishops' concern for the rights of minorities include their fellow Catholics and encourage them to speak?" Donnelly urged.
"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," the letter argues.
Moreover, it noted, "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."
The leaders also explain that such a document constitutes an "unethical form of coercion and violation of the principle of informed consent" and risks "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."
Emphasizing that the passports constitute "one of the most dangerous policy proposals ever to be made in the history of British politics," the pastors warn of the scheme's "potential to bring about the end of liberal democracy" and "to create a surveillance state in which the government uses technology to control certain aspects of citizens' lives."
A significant number of Christian leaders remain submissive to the draconian, State-imposed COVID-19 regulations citing proof texts from Scripture.
In similar discussions on social media, Pastor Oliver Gross, minister of Buckingham Chapel in Bristol, repeatedly urges submission to the State based on Titus 3:1–2: "Remind them to be subject to the authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work ... ."
Leaders also cite St. Paul's letter to the Romans (13:1–2), which exhorts everyone to "be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established." Paul warns that "whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."
By press time, no Catholic or Anglican bishop had signed the statement or issued a similar statement urging the government to halt its vaccine passport juggernaut.
On Tuesday, archbishop of Westminster and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales Cdl. Vincent Nichols wrote a joint article with Anglican archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in the Evening Standard, accusing the government of immorality in making cuts to foreign aid.
However, neither Nichols nor Welby — who enthusiastically shut churches even before the government ordered the lockdowns — have cautioned the government on vaccine passports.
High-profile Christian leaders from the Evangelical Alliance and the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches (FIEC) — who have been strongly supportive of the state vaccine rollout and urged Christians to take the abortion-contaminated jabs — have also not signed the statement.