Christian Scientists Are Exempt From Australia's New Vaccination Laws

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IN PHOTO. According to the latest Galaxy Poll, 86 per cent of all Australians want childhood vaccination to be compulsory Reuters/ Dmitry Naumov

Australia’s social services minister, Scott Morrison, notes that a single organisation is qualified to be exempt from the country’s new government-mandated vaccination rules. It has been recently revealed that the Christian Scientists is the only religious group that is not affected by the country’s new vaccination protocols.

Initially, Morrison said, “I'm not about to advertise it for fear of it having a lot of new followers on a fairly unfair basis”. However, the ministry’s Web site revealed that the group being mentioned by Morrison is the Church of Christ, or also known as Christian Scientists.

The Church of Christ was established in the late 19th century by Mary Baker Eddy in the United States. She said in her book, Science and Health, that sickness is an illusion that can be cured by prayer alone. The book sold nine million copies in 2001, together with the King James Bible. Science and Health has since then become the group’s central reference of faith worldwide.

There are 1,356 Christian Scientists in Australia according to the 2011 census, reports Guardian Australia. When asked about the possible growth of the group’s population due to the recently announced exemption, Christian Science Australia spokeswoman Kay Stroud told Fairfax Media, "We're not silly." She said that they will be able to detect individuals whose main objective for joining the group is to prevent vaccinations only.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott previously announced that the state will have to cancel the benefits of children whose parents choose not vaccinate them. Such government actions are being put into action to strictly implement current regulations and tighten the system. The population of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children has significantly increased from one to two percent. Abbott aims to strengthen the country’s immunisation programmes despite these numbers, hence the new rules were announced. Families who opt not to vaccinate their children are said to forego welfare and tax benefits amounting to approximately AU$11,000.

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