To the Editor:

The October 20th editorial ‘Two battles underway: one against the pandemic, the other against misinformation’ began by comparing the basic workplace condition of “not using or being impaired by alcohol or drugs” to the condition of going to work unvaccinated, the latter of which until recently was deemed acceptable—even commendable—throughout the first year of the pandemic. I’m not sure if the same commendation could ever have been said for the former example of showing up to work impaired? Though suppose it was, I think we could all agree a serious apology and acceptance of the consequences would be in order, acknowledging it should never have been permitted in the first place.

If you opt to sideline the basis of your own argument and respond, ‘we were making the most of the resources we had at the time,’ then I ask, would it not be wise for our understaffed health care facilities to apply the same principle to the few trained and experienced workers who remain unvaccinated at this time? The editorial observed “there are some who feel that mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers are not part of workplace health and safety.” One reason might be because their employer felt the same way until recently, and those who remain unvaccinated have the overtime hours to prove it.

Further, if the number of health care workers losing their jobs due to being unvaccinated are so small and unimpressive, tell me again, why is it necessary to mandate it in the first place? Also, try applying your same logic to the significance we should attribute to the less than 0.1% of Canadians who have lost their lives to COVID-19. Every single human life represented by that small percentage of COVID related deaths is sacred. I likewise apply the same principle to every single human life represented by that 1% of HGH employees who are threatened not only with the loss of their current means of providing for the necessities to live, but also the potential loss of years—if not decades—of accumulated skills, training, and seniority.

Every life matters. And I grieve every life that is lost as a result of COVID-19 and I offer my pastoral support and sympathy to any family who has or will face such a tragedy. I grieve and offer my support to our societies’ minority who are choosing to pay the price of their current means of livelihood in order to walk in integrity with their beliefs and commitment to love their neighbour, which—in case you missed this point—until recently they were being lauded as heroes for doing so. I grieve and offer my support to those who chose to violate their conscience to keep their job. I also support and rejoice with the many healthcare workers who were able to freely choose to do what they believed they could or ought to do by getting vaccinated. Finally, I grieve with those on all sides who have lost relationships and communities due to one’s failure or success to measure up to the unprecedented and shifting standards introduced to our society over the past year and a half.

In conclusion, I have a much more foundational observation to make in response to the editor’s thought-provoking question: “As humans, if we know that something is destroying us, why would we not take action to save ourselves?” God likewise asks, “Why will you die…? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live” (Ezekiel 18:31b-32 [ESV]).

I agree, “it is scary how many mistakes can be found in our past,” scarier still that most of us continue to think of ourselves or our own governments as being morally superior to the generations who thought the same thing before us. If history teaches us anything, it is that the only solution to getting out of the mess we’ve created is not at all found in ourselves. Since the fall of Adam, civilization after civilization, we have been taking action to save ourselves by our own means to our own glory and ultimately to our own destruction, prompting God to declare to the people of Israel on the verge of destruction, “I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11).

I believe the two battles the editors identified are ultimately the result of one and the same thing. We face the same problem of misinformation today as our first parents in the garden of Eden who fell hook, line, and sinker for the conspiracy that they could be “like God,” asserting their own autonomy and power against His Word (Genesis 3:5). And dear friends, much more than civil liberties or physical health or a long life well lived, our eternal souls are at stake in this battle. Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)

We may have a long road towards sorting out the mess before us, but the journey of redemption and restoration can only begin with coming to the end of our self-proclaimed powers through repentance and faith at the cross; where Christ our Lord offered his perfect life, paying the penalty by his death for where we all have gone wrong, and rose again on the third day so that we too can be raised to new life through faith in him. Christ alone has the power to set you free to labour by his grace towards making all that is wrong with ourselves and his world right again.

Scott Sadlier
Pastor, Christ Church