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Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: RIP Religious Exemptions

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

 (Note -- This article originally ran a year ago under the headline "Pray For the Religious Exemption." Now California is just days away from possibly denying it to the state's families.) A couple of recent court cases have me convinced that the religious exemption from childhood immunizations is in big trouble.

The first case is one I somehow missed when it was decided last month. It’s a bit convoluted, but the gist is that three New York parents said their unvaccinated children were denied their rights by being kept out of school because another child had a vaccine-preventable disease. The judge said no.

To tell you the truth, I am not terribly concerned about that. Most parents I know who forego vaccines say that a better solution to disease control is informal quarantine – keep your kid home when they’re sick, or if you don’t want them to catch a disease they’re not vaccinated against.

But the scary part – especially in a state with no philosophical exemption and a nasty habit of trying to make parents prove the sincerity of their religious convictions -- was this comment in the federal judge’s ruling. “The Supreme Court,” he wrote, has “strongly suggested that religious objectors are not constitutionally exempt from vaccinations.”

I couldn’t find a link to the judge’s ruling, but according to the Times, he was pointing to Jacobson v. Massachusetts, which in 1905 (!) found that if Mr. Jacobson wanted to skip being vaccinated during a smallpox epidemic, he had to pay a $5 fine. More broadly, “Jacobson” has been cited as proof that the state’s police powers trump personal choice when it comes to a battle over vaccine mandates.

I don’t see it. He objected, he said, because both he and one of his children had bad reactions to earlier vaccinations. And all he had to do was pay five measly bucks, which even accounting for inflation is not much. How that undercuts religion as a basis for declining vaccination – especially absent a raging, deadly epidemic – is beyond me.

But just as I was digesting this, along came this week’s Hobby Lobby ruling from the Supreme Court itself, which said closely held companies whose owners are opposed to contraception don’t have to pay for insurance coverage. Regardless of what one thinks of that ruling, logic dictates that such firms might now be able to decline to cover other medical interventions to which they have the same objections – to wit, vaccination. To me, that case seems stronger than it does for contraception. After all, a personal religious basis for opting out of vaccination is already established in 48 states, excepting only Mississippi and West Virginia.

Nothing doing. On the contrary, the opinion emphasized, “Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs. Other coverage requirements, such as immunizations, may be supported by different interests (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them.”

In her epic dissent, Justice Ginsburg also raised the specter of owners who opposed vaccines on religious grounds, and pointed to the federal court ruling from just a couple of weeks ago. That suggests that while she disagrees with the majority on contraception, she too thinks vaccination is too sacred to subordinate to religious beliefs.

Now, this does sound like a court that could find a way to overturn the religious exemption to childhood vaccination. And if the religious exemption goes, I’m not holding out much hope for the philosophical exemption. I can just hear Justice Scalia railing about some crunchy-granola hippie mother attempting to claim the mantle of Socrates with her so-called “philosophy," and Ginsburg talking about keeping grandkids safe from polio.

Speaking of Scalia, remember the court’s ruling a couple of years ago in Bruesewitz, confining all compensation claims for vaccine injury to the so-called vaccine “court” – ruled by the same federal agency that enforces the vaccine mandates?

Scalia wrote the majority opinion, which fawned all over vaccines as if they were ambrosia rather than a consumer product manufactured by a pretty sketchy crowd (big pharma). Like Ginsburg championing vaccines in the Hobby Lobby case, liberal Justice Breyer concurred in Bruesewitz, falling all over the federal government as the arbiter of all things healthy:

“I would give significant weight to the views of HHS. The law charges HHS with responsibility for overseeing vaccine production and safety. It is ‘likely to have a thorough understanding’ of the complicated and technical subject matter of immunization policy, and it is comparatively more ‘qualified to comprehend the likely impact of state requirements.’ HHS’s position is particularly persuasive here because expert public health organizations support its views and the matter concerns a medical and scientific question of great importance: how best to save the lives of children.”

No matter what their politics, it seems, the best and the brightest agree on one thing – they, not parents, know best how to save the lives of children. That’s how we got into this mess.

I can’t help noting that one of the companies that brought suit along with Hobby Lobby, the Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation, is owned by Mennonites. I bet they’re not crazy about vaccinations, either. And I can’t help wondering what their autism rate is.


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.



Using your quote, Barry!


"Only a grassroots revolution and/or civil disobedience will succeed."

Exactly. I honestly believe this is what will have to happen to turn this paradigm around.

david m burd

Dan, you bring up various Supreme Court Justices, etc., as to their blind acceptance that vaccines are all good - no matter if they are either "liberal" or "conservative" (as an aside, you do an injustice - pun intended - when personally attacking Justice Scalia).

Yet, this blind acceptance also applies to virtually all of America's politicians, and recent Presidents including Obama. They've virtually all been brainwashed for decades by the criminal leaders at NIH/NAID, CDC, FDA, etc. Let's stick together and be unified on bringing to light the utter corruptness of these Agencies.

Only a grassroots revolution and/or civil disobedience will succeed.



If truth be told, medical authorities (at least those on the bottom of the totem pole) know very little about the human immune system and how it really works. They know perhaps 50% of what they should know; perhaps not even that much.

I was discussing this issue with a fellow Director at the time I was working as the CA State Director. I'd realized via my research that it was readily apparent extremely little was known about the immune system mechanisms re how it was impacted and would react, when bombarded by retroviruses and toxins, etc.

She was a nurse and opined that in her opinion, even LESS than 50% is known about the human immune system.

Worse, our court systems fully rely on ACCEPTED SCIENCE as it stands TODAY BEHIND VACCINATION. They will not even consider there is REAL SCIENCE out there which completely refutes the generally accepted cigarette science touted as THE REAL science behind vaccination.

Years ago, when I asked our son's then Palo Alto Medical Foundation allopathic pediatrician what HE knew about vaccines and how they supposedly worked, he said, "Well, they TRICK the immune system into creating antibodies, blah, blah, blah." I asked him HOW the immune system was 'tricked' and how that all related to the ingredients within the vaccines and how that translated into how our bodies actually HANDLED the vaccines.


These physicians don't even know what's IN vaccines, much less what they do to the infant's immune system (or adult's for that matter). They are simply taught that all vaccines are great and are completely safe/effective.


How pathetic that our modern legal system is relying on an antiquated 1905 legal ruling that occurred based on a mere fraction of today's science surrounding the human immune system. Does anyone believe that the judge who made that ruling believed that all science was in on the matter and that his ruling would still be legitimate despite ANY additional information on the subject that had not yet been discovered. It's more likely that he's rolling in his grave. I am sure he, as any logical ethical human being today does, expected and expects laws to improve as relevent information is continually gathered. I expect my representatives, also, to improve our laws based on incoming information.

The science even jumped light years in 1922, a mere 17 years after his ruling, when new discoveries of mechanisms of the body's own innate defense systems and its potential were discovered.

Maybe soon we could update the law to reflect at least 1922 science standards as opposed to information from 1905. Then, maybe in another 95 years we can kick forward to about
the late 1930's and see what else has been ignored for the past 85 years.

Jeannette Bishop


Thank you for another point to consider.

Page five on this CCHC packet is a visual aid that effectively demonstrates the impact SB277 will have in protection of the immune compromised:



I got a call today to host a foreign exchange student, and this made me realize that SB 277, the California Bill that outlaws all exemptions except medical seems not to have addressed foreign exchange students, many of whom will be coming from countries without vaccine mandates. I guess California will have to opt out of foreign exchange programs. I saw that the "religious exemption" is often used as a way of getting around mandates for students who might not have the right paperwork or may not have had all those multiple doses of the 10 required vaccines. With no personal belief or religious exemptions I don't see how there can be foreign exchange programs. Wouldn't it be the height of hypocrisy to allow foreign exchange students into the schools without ALL the mandated vaccines and doses while citizens are banned from public and private schools because they may just lack one vaccine or maybe haven't had the required doses?

Bob Moffitt

@ Laura

Just viewed your .. as recommended .. excellent video:
"Vaccine Mandates: Greater Good or Greater Greed? Guest: Atty. & Scholar, Mary Holland"

It is truly sad that I have far more confidence and trust in watching a serious discussion and debate on the most critical issues .. such as .. vaccine mandates and state sponsored denial of a parent's humanitarian right to "informed consent" .. on "you-tube" .. than what masquerades for disseminating such critical information on all major media news outlets.

Think about this for a moment .... on May 9, 1961, Newton Minow gave an extremely critical speech on television broadcasts .. saying:

"When television is good, nothing ... not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers .. nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there for a day without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, with a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure that what you will observe is a vast wasteland".

Indeed .. main-steam media .. "a vast wasteland" .. now replaced by "you-tube".

Laura Hayes

One more pertinent video to watch:

I received the link to this new video of attorney Mary Kay Elloian interviewing attorney Mary Holland. I cannot recommend it highly enough!

If only we could somehow get every single legislator to take a mere 30 min. to watch this, as each will most likely be voting on vaccine-related legislation at some time soon if they haven't already.

This is what an interview should look and sound like. Our pathetic mainstream media should take note.

Don't miss a minute of it...watch from start to finish. Then, share it with your legislative representatives like I just did :)


For The Legal Edition Community--

New Program Just Released!

Vaccine Mandates: Greater Good or Greater Greed? Guest: Atty. & Scholar, Mary Holland

In depth discussion on the legal issues as they pertain to vaccine mandates and constitutionality.
A must see for anyone interested in the law and how it is and should be applied.

Yours in Health & Truth,

Mary Kay Elloian, MBA, JD, Esq.


Laura Hayes

Thank you for rerunning this article, Dan. And, Barry, great quote you posted...thank you.

In a rally speech I gave at the Capitol in Sacramento, CA this week opposing SB277, I talked about 2 historical events...the Jacobson decision and the Nuremberg Code...and how the Nuremberg Code nullifies and forbids vaccine mandates, or any mandated medical treatment or procedure...and it should have led to the overturning of the 1905 Jacobson decision.

Here's a link for anyone interested to have a watch/listen. My actual speech starts at the 1:15 mark:


Jeannette Bishop

Denise, you're welcome!

Just to add some more on Jacobson v. Massachusetts, Mary Holland has a more technical discussion on The Legal Edition, @ 3:58 minutes:


Denise Anderstrom Douglass

Thank you, Jeanette Bishop! I posted the link to Mike Gatto's statement on FB. It is encouraging to me.


I liked Assemblyman Mike Gatto's speech. The California Legislature probably like the Supreme Court is operating under the old paradigm of vaccines are safe and effective. They are assuming that the viruses and bacterium that vaccines treat are different than those treated by antibiotics. Of course, that isn't true. The whooping cough vaccine has developed a vaccine resistant strain as apparently has the hib and for some reason the mumps vaccine doesn't work as effectively as it should either. In other words, in the future all vaccines might be less effective because they have been overused just like antibiotics. Wouldn't it be wiser to not put every microbe under pressure to shift, and further disturb the microbiology of the bugs that we have lived with for thousands of years. Vaccine manufacturers have hundreds of vaccines in the pipeline they say, but I am not sure that vaccines will play a big role in the future of medicine because they are not based on the new paradigm. They may play "some" role like to fight really super serious diseases in the middle of an epidemic but as the central pillar of preventative medicine...no. One day the law will have to catch up with the courts. And in terms of the religious right... well it is written in the constitution and I believe that will outlast vaccine science.

Maureen Fischer

When parents who strongly object to vaccinations-- don't -- then their children will be truant. Will the state be allowed, under this law, to forcibly vaccinate, against the parents will? I just don't see where this is going. Also what about the teachers and anyone who works at a school? If the measles vaccine only lasts 5 years don't we need a law to ensure that they are vaccinated against things like measles every 5 years? Who knows -- the passage of this law could be the best thing that could happen to wake people up to the flawed science of vaccines.


“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.”

Michael Ellner

Wake Up America

Hey at first thought-- I would be fine paying a $5 fine to avoid vaccinating my child. Seriously. I would be fine paying pharma an opt-out price to make up for not using their hideous product. No it's not fair or right, but it would certainly make the point. And maybe if they got their money anyhow they would shut up and go away?

Also: My husband was once studying to be a priest, so he knows Roman Catholic law very well. According to St. Aquinas, Catholics have an OBLIGATION to do what their conscience demands. If we tell Catholic doctors that a vaccine is likely to harm our child, by St. Aquinas teaching, that doctor has an obligation to find out more about this. He is not allowed to use the excuse of ignorance. Further, as a Mom who saw her child get harmed, I have the conscience and obligation to say: It's a GREATER GOOD for the community not to harm my child more. I can make that judgment and I am supposed to make that judgment. . This specter of us losing the right to think for ourselves goes so very much deeper than the vaccine issue at hand. We have to do everything we can to wake people up. Forcing someone to pay the potential costs of contraception versus forcing them to use it are two different things. Forcing someone pregnant to have a vaccine is evil. I believe my first miscarriage was caused by my stupidity having a flu vaccine. But it took years before I connected the dots. Those in the very core know this. What are we going to do?

cia parker

It is chilling, and the only answer is massive revolt, boycotts, demonstrations, and protests of every sort. We will NOT pay the tax on tea!

Gary Ogden

Chilling to contemplate. This is odd, considering the words of Ginsburg's dissent in Breusewitz v. Wyeth. Whenever I encounter the word "expert" in an argument I know it's time to grab the tinfoil hat (as I did while listening to Pan's "experts" from the AAP and Kaiser. I'm uncertain of the statutory status of the Declaration of Independence in U. S. law, but Jefferson's words "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" scream out to me. The sentence following gives hope as well. In the meantime, our best hope is the Honorable Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Please, everyone, write to him. I suspect we may have an ally here.

Jeannette Bishop

California Assemblyman Mike Gatto made a very strong case against SB 277, based in part on the over-reach that Jacobson v. Massachusetts has been used to justify already:


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