The Gospel Coalition often posts theoretical or theological articles. However, yesterday Joe Carter posted a helpful and practical piece on vaccines. In case readers need a Christian resource for their Christian anti-vax friends, I post a link to it and a few related comments.
The current resurgence of cases has been driven by a rise in religious exemptions. Anti-vax activists are increasingly vocal and have taken on pro-life arguments to bolster their cause. Prominent conservative evangelicals such as David Barton and “activist mommy” Elizabeth Johnson have spoken against vaccines.
Carter has spoken out before on medical issues. He wrote a scathing response to David Barton and Kenneth Copeland when they advocated treating PTSD with Bible verses. Given the fact that many Christians are using religious arguments to support their anti-vax position, I am glad to see this piece published by The Gospel Coalition.
I want to emphasize this part of Carter’s final paragraph.
If we choose not to vaccinate our children then we must accept that there will be some public institutions in which they cannot participate.
Especially in a public health crisis, I don’t believe parental rights are absolute. The state has a responsibility to protect all of us and in this case that might mean keeping unvaccinated children out of the general population, including schools.
On Saturday (May 10), the Everett (WA) Daily Herald carried an article following up on naturopath John Catanzaro’s response to the suspension of his license in January over cancer vaccines provided by his clinic. Although not a focus of the complaints against him, Catanzaro also claimed to have a professional relationship with the University of Washington and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University. Both institutions denied any connection to Catanzaro and Dana Farber Cancer Institute demanded that Catanzaro stop claiming that he was working with the clinic. Subsequently, all references to Dana Farber as well as to the University of Washington disappeared from his materials without explanation.
According to the DailyHerald, Catanzaro has launched a website to defend himself and serve as a platform to raise money. His defense now is in the court of public opinion, but his formal hearing before the naturopath board is not slated to take place until August 6-8 of this year.
Catanzaro also told the Herald that he hopes to raise money in order to reimburse cancer patients for funds spent on vaccines. According to the Herald, Catanzaro said, “These are stage 4 cancer patients waiting on treatments we had to throw away and I just want to be able to pay them back for all they’ve lost.”
It is unclear why unused vaccines would require payments from patients. Patients pay as they go for treatments and if the vaccines are not going to be used, the clinic might suffer loss but the patients should only have to pay for what they use. Furthermore, Catanzaro’s non-profit arm seems to have sufficient resources to cover these research costs. According to the 2012 990 for the HWIF Cancer Research Group, the organization set up to fund vaccine research, the organization had a fund balance of $818, 301. The document demonstrates that revenues from program fees exceeded clinic expenses by just over $300,000 in 2012. Perhaps 2013 was a leaner year (the 990 is not available) but it appears that the non-profit should be able to step in for patients.
In the media coverage since Catanzaro’s suspension, additional questions are still unanswered.
Catanzaro has yet to address why he told the public that he had working relationships with the University of Washington and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University. While he removed these references from his website after the lack of relationships came to light, he has not addressed the claims that he needed funds from clients to secure the services of Dana Farber. Dana Farber denied performing these services.
His relationship to his non-profit organization raises questions as well. According to the state of Washington, he is a director of the HWIFC Cancer Research Group, but his name does not show up as an officer or key employee on the organization’s IRS 990 report. According to the most recent 990, two of his employees, his wife and his accountant make up four of the six board members. As with the 2011 990, the 2012 report also shows significant transactions between the non-profit organization and Catanzaro’s for profit business.