Gerard Benjamin
Gerard Benjamin

The advent of social media as platforms of information and communication has brought with it what I would call the "Dispensation of Universal Expertise". Well, what do I mean by that? I simply mean that almost everybody these days, once they listen to, hear, or read any kind of information from whatever source, automatically arrogate to themselves the status or accreditation as an expert on that particular subject matter. Never mind if that source itself is just a re-hasher or regurgitator of "facts" acquired from questionable or dubious origins.

So people with no actual knowledge, learning, training or comprehension in these particular fields are now experts in law and justice, politics and governance, health and wellness, meteorology, history, anthropology, God, the bible and salvation, and of course prophecy and prophesying; and the list goes on.

But WOW! With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, we're now inundated with an insurgency of experts, many of whom didn't even know what the term pandemic meant before the onset of the dreaded virus. Welcome, my dear people, to the golden age of the self-proclaimed biochemists, virologists and immunologists...and God knows what else. You can now avail yourself of immediate and free anti-vaccine consultation on treatment for, or prevention from, infection as per the virus thanks to the intensively persuasive propagators belonging to the anti-vaxxers sector. The plethora of prognoses determining the detrimental outcome of being vaccinated has resulted in worldwide confusion as many experts, of which there is no short supply in the Caribbean, including right here in Dominica, have effectively dissuaded many persons from being vaccinated. One highly educated and very intelligent Christian friend of mine who has resolutely rejected the vaccine informed me of the genetic alterations that are going to be effected in three to four months in those who have been jabbed. He did not quote his source of "information".

"Even my doctor has advised me against taking the vaccine," some would advance as a formidable rational. The reluctance of quite a few in the medical and health sector to being vaccinated, particularly in the US, seems to even lend credibility to such conspirational sound-bites of "global population reduction"- courtesy Bill Gates and associates- or "mark of the beast" agenda et al. I was greatly enlightened as I listened to a Dominican-born US-based astute immunologist and biochemist Dr. Swinburne Augustine differentiating between a medical doctor and a medical scientist. Basically, he was saying medical doctors (MDs) and even specialists in various fields of medical care are not necessarily reliable authorities on the development of vaccines since that is not automatically included in their field of studies. So they too are susceptible to being self-opinionated or subjective on the issue like anyone else.

Well, then having said all this, am I now a clearly overt pro-vaxxer? To be plain honest, I'm still not one hundred percent sure as to the efficacy of the jab having taken it; although I still hope it will afford my family and I a measure of defense. My faith in my heavenly Father's protection has certainly not been compromised now, any more than at the times I still took prescriptions such as antibiotics, having read the accompanying warnings of possibly lethal effects to users of them. So I consider myself in a win-win situation whether the vaccine WORKS OR NOT. If it does not work, then neither it nor the virus will harm or kill me. See Psalms 103 verse 2,3,4. And that's MY FAITH. Not yours.

But here lies my greatest problem: It's about those of us of the faith who are among those experts. In particular, a few of us church leaders have used our position and stewardship to advance paranoid, doubt, and even conspirational theories as a "thus sayeth the Lord" to our membership about vaccination. I think this is grossly unethical, downright irresponsible, and an abuse of our God-given leadership positions. We ARE NOT doctors or scientists. Let us at best leave the people to decide for themselves if we've chosen not to take it. The pastors who reportedly in the US adopted such positions and the members as well who later succumbed, may by now I'm certain, have a completely different opinion. Not a few are the reports of desperately ill persons requesting vaccination upon being hospitalised, after having previously rejected doing so.

My conclusion? In light of statistics which consistently show that the mortality rate clearly confirms the majority being that of the unvaccinated ( of course the "experts" would resiliently opine that such statistics are exaggerated and coercion-driven ploys meant to lure the unvaccinated into taking the jab), let us if we still chose to opt-out on the jab, be responsible on our part, and to encourage our fellow believers likewise to observe every recommended protocol while praying fervently and disarming our "expertise" penchant to preventing persons from making their own decision. I have no hesitation in fully endorsing and utilising any proven health-enhancing and immune system-boosting foods or supplements. The issue of mandatory vaccination, though very important and understandably concerning, is quite another issue, however, and should not be mixed up with the present discussion. Is THIS anything too hard to ask?