Why I Believe It Is Wrong To Take The COVID Vaccine - And Response (2)

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Christians should be against using products or medicines that contain, are derived from, or were tested by using aborted fetal cells. All three vaccines available in the U.S. use aborted fetal cells to test their product. (If you have already taken a vaccine, see my comments at the end.)

The two gentlemen I will be taking issue with from the Spirit of Saint Tikhon’s podcast agree that all three vaccines conduct testing using fetal cells. However, their conclusion is flawed—I would even say wrong. 

They are good men. One is a friend. And yet this pivotal issue of our time must be addressed, even opposed. I trust that my disagreements will be received as loyal opposition.

St. Tikhon’s Seminary is considered by many to be one of the more conservative of the handful of Orthodox seminaries in America. The interviewer, Fr. John Parker, Dean of the Seminary, and the interviewee, Dr. Ryan Nash, a prestigious physician and Director of the Center for Bioethics at Ohio State, are longtime pro-life and conservative leaders. Both are weighty figures. Their podcast, “Covid and the Vaccines,” I believe fairly represents the Orthodox position in America. Any real objections to their views in the Orthodox hierarchy would likely come from more left-leaning leaders, not a conservative like me who would disagree with their conclusion that it is permissible for Orthodox Christians to take the Covid injection.

While fetal cell testing is the main issue discussed, their podcast also covers mRNA technology and the safety of the “vaccines.” (I will use this word, knowing that these are not traditional vaccines. You can’t fight every battle at once.) This article will deal primarily with the fetal cell issue.


Yes, all three vaccines available in the U.S. use or contain aborted fetal cells (see here). Because both Fr. John and Dr. Nash agree with this, my article will be mercifully shorter. (To his credit, Fr. John even cuts through the euphemisms and calls aborted fetal cells “murdered baby parts.”) Nash cites the Charlotte Lozier Institute as an authority, which confirms that all three vaccines—Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson—use aborted fetal cells in testing, while J & J also uses them in production.


I believe it is wrong to use them. Dr. Nash is clearly uncomfortable with vaccines that use aborted fetal cells for testing. But he is also uncomfortable saying it is therefore wrong to take the vaccine. He says the following at various points in the interview: 
 “So to make things clear, I prefer, I don't think HEK (Human Embryonic Kidney) cell lines should be used. I think there can be alternatives now.”

“I'd rather not use HEK cell lines. I think there should be viable alternatives, but I don't want to profit from anything that was related to an abortion.”

And Fr. Parker confirms: “This is a striking point that I think everyone needs to hear. You have been extremely clear that as a medical doctor and a bioethicist, you would prefer that we not use HEK cell lines, that is, the cell lines that have been derived from a 1970s era abortion.”


So, what are the reasons Dr. Nash provides for the permissibility of taking these vaccines? I will cite several, saving his primary argument for last. 

He mentions that some Orthodox academics have defended the use of cell lines, that more abortions are not being performed for the stem cell practice, and we can benefit from the cells that already exist. To his credit, Nash discounts that view, saying, “I'm a little bit more hesitant than that. I think there are viable alternatives that should be used instead.” And, yet, he still is not willing to completely denounce the use of these cell lines.

Nash mentioned that the post-production testing done by all three companies using aborted fetal cells allows them to do “really rapid and excellent science.” What might take much longer to test and verify can be done swiftly. While this is obviously a plus for efficiency, it’s not a good reason to use aborted fetal cells. And Dr. Nash never says it is a good reason.

One other lesser argument mentioned was that we may not have an issue with using a donated organ from someone murdered. “In that case, it's also murder, in this case murder of an adult,” said Nash, “but a person is directly benefiting from that.”

The difference here would be that murder of adults is in fact outlawed in our country. Allowing a murdered person’s organ to help someone after the fact does not support, advance, or threaten the abolishment of murder laws. If murder of adults were legalized, the analogy would be stronger.

Dr. Nash also attempted to make an equivalency between abortion funding and using fetal parts. “The very computer that some [use to denounce stem cell testing] probably directly contributes to future abortions, more by funding companies that further political agendas that are antithetical to Orthodoxy.”

There is no equivalency between doing business with a company that donates to Planned Parenthood and doing business with a company that actually uses “murdered baby parts” to develop their product. Beyond that, proponents for the Covid vaccine are advocating that the products relying on aborted fetal cells actually be injected into our bodies.


What is Nash and Parker’s primary argument for permitting the use of vaccines that use aborted fetal cells in their testing? In short, they say the use of aborted fetal cells is so pervasive in our world that there is no way to escape using them. 

In their own words:

Dr. Nash: This has been not quite ubiquitous, but incredibly common for any pharmaceutical, any naturopathic remedy. So, vitamins and things such as that, any diagnostic or therapeutic device often are tested against tissue cultures and [it’s] often that the second most common human tissue culture available in labs is the HEK cell line.

Fr. John Parker: ... those cell lines, while not ubiquitous—meaning everywhere present—are quite all over the place. Present in all kinds of various medicines and vitamins. You've mentioned to me Vitamin D supplements on the one hand. And you mentioned to me in an earlier conversation, I believe, metformin, one of the most common blood pressure medications.

Dr. Nash: All of your common diabetes and blood pressure medications are going to be tested on HEK cells. Most, many, of your herbal remedies and vitamin supplements are going to be tested on HEK cells. I mean, it's just common. Very, very common.

Fr. John Parker: ... I imagine we could buy almost nothing from anyone, from food to shoes, electricity, whatever, because of the amount of taint, for lack of better word, that's not generically sin—it's in everything. But specifically, the sin of abortion touches so many companies and the products that they sell.

Dr. Nash: If you're going to reject the vaccine solely based on HEK cell use, I'm sorry, you're going to have to reject almost all of modern medicine, all of [the] supplement world. And there are other industries that will be problematic as well.

... I agree that as Orthodox Christians, we must distance ourselves from sin. But because we live in a fallen world, in a world that is corrupted by sin, our ability to have a pure, untainted reality, is, elusive. 

… Again, if you want a completely morally ethically pure world, or ethically pure medicine, you're not going to find it.”

Thus, the primary argument by Orthodox Christianity, even for the traditional Orthodox, is that the use of aborted fetal cells is so pervasive in our culture, it is impossible and unrealistic to try to do otherwise. 


This is a disheartening conclusion by two good men who have spent their entire careers as pro-life advocates. Their position is wrong on several counts, and I would ask them to consider reviewing their position. 

1. Resources Are Available To Avoid Using Aborted Fetal Cells

Firstly, it is factually wrong that alternatives to the use of aborted fetal cells are not available and that there is no ability to determine what products we can use to avoid participation in the evil sin of abortion. 

The pro-life group Children of God for Life has been diligently providing the information for several years. A list can be found here for the following products that use aborted fetal cells in testing: vaccines, medicines, food products, cosmetics. It is a one-page finite list. 

The cogforlife.com site also provides a list of alternatives to the several vaccines (not just Covid injections) that use aborted fetal cells for testing or production. It is a one-page finite list. 

2. We Should Not Choose A Hopeless Spirit Of Futility

Secondly, the conclusion of Dr. Nash and Fr. Parker lacks hope and spreads a spirit of futility for changing our culture. According to Rehumanize International, “Kraft, Solae, Campbell Soup, and Pepsi — have changed or cancelled their contracts [to] ensure that no fetal cells were used to develop their products.” So public pressure brought to bear on a culture CAN change things. 

Both Parker and Nash actually allude to the opportunity for change. Parker says all the questions about Covid are “a good problem, because people are starting to think in bioethical terms.”

Nash alludes to similar momentum: “The intent of the Charlotte Lozier Institute is to increase public awareness of the HEK cell line and to encourage science to find better alternatives and for them not to use it.” He said the Lozier Institute’s president told him “their website has had more hits in, I think, a week, on the HEK cell line news than it had had for probably years.”

This is not the time to give up. This is a time to rally the upright in our world to fight against the evil of abortion. As a personal example, I have chronic diabetes, but I will never again take metformin or any other diabetes medicine that uses stem cells. I did not learn about metformin until now. (Update: metformin does not qualify. It was invented in 1922, long before stem cells.)

Of course, sometimes we are not able to produce the change we desire in this “corrupt and perverse generation.” And that is why the third reason for refuting the premise of the Nash and Parker podcast is the most important. We ourselves must not become corrupt and perverse. 

3. God’s Standard For Perfection And Holiness Should Not Be Compromised

Dr. Nash: “If you're going to reject the vaccine solely based on HEK cell use, I'm sorry, you're going to have to reject almost all of modern medicine, all of [the] supplement world. And there are other industries that will be problematic as well.”

We have already seen that in terms of other products (cosmetics, food items, supplements) it is not true that these must all be rejected. Alternatives exist, and good people and organizations have provided the lists. 

And if it is true that “almost all of modern medicine” must be rejected, then it is time to do so. Modern medicine has ingratiated itself with the murder of unborn children. While I think alternatives can be found there as well, if they cannot, it is time to suffer, and even die, for what is right. Do not take the vaccine.

Jesus did not say, “Don’t try to perfect, it’s not possible” (Matt. 5:48). Jude said we are called to hate “even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh” (Jude 1:22), not to inject ourselves with potions associated with the corrupted flesh of murdered children.

I’m sorry these are hard words. I don’t doubt that Fr. John and Dr. Nash take those Scriptures as seriously as I do. However, Dr. Nash did mention pro-lifers more “radical and sensational” than those who take his “sober” pro-life approach. But I believe we have reached a time that requires radical purity, radical obedience. We may lose our jobs. Those in the lucrative medical profession may have to give it up. We may have to suffer. We may have to move toward more separatist communities. We may have to die. The sufferings of the martyrs I sing about every week (see the one pictured at the bottom) endured far worse than what we will likely suffer if we refuse to take the vaccine. 


Have you already taken the vaccine? Is it too late for you? Definitely not. God is an abundant forgiver of both our voluntary and involuntary sins. Should you take another shot? Definitely not. 

I believe we will all have plenty of opportunities in the near future to refuse the next shot and demonstrate to God and man our commitment to purity and our resolve to bear the consequences of being regarded as “unvaccinated.” 


While Fr. John and Dr. Nash spent some time during their podcast on questions of whether the vaccine is safe or not, on the fact that it was just approved by the FDA (it was not and will not be in the near future), on the experimental mRNA technology, and on nanoparticles, tracking technology, and Luciferase, the lion’s share of the talk was on aborted fetal cell use. 

I will not discuss these other items for now, but rather choose to focus on fetal cells as the primary topic, even though this is not, in fact, the biggest reason I refuse to take the vaccine. It is certainly a good enough reason, and it is the easiest to discern. It is a gift to Christians and the Church. Experimental gene manipulation, official reports of large-scale injury and death from vaccines (along with other official denials), sophisticated tracking systems, and haunting authoritarianism ushered in by deceptive officials of the Noble Lie—these are more difficult to discern. 

But the question of whether or not to associate with the use of aborted fetal cells is easy to discern. Before you can figure out the other reasons, don’t take the Covid vaccine for the obvious moral reason.

* * *

Dean W. Arnold is an author and documentarian. He is tonsured “The Reader Gabriel” in the Orthodox Church in America.

* * *

Mr. Arnold, I respect your rights and opinion, but I’ve learned over the years a good salesman doesn’t have to have a long presentation to sell their product. I found your article lengthy and honestly lost interest due to repetitive remarks.

If I’m correct, over 4.5 million people worldwide have died from this disease. Regardless, of religious affiliation it comes down to choice and, unfortunately, most of these individuals choose wrong.

I encourage everyone to get vaccinated. I’ve seen the results and comforted family and friends as a result.

John Tilley

* * *

Mr. Tilley, you say "I’ve learned over the years a good salesman doesn’t have to have a long presentation to sell their product."

Well, I've learned that a good product doesn't need a government mandate to sell it. 

So why do the present mandates come after perhaps the longest presentation ever for any medicine?

One logical conclusion might be that we don't trust the product, and we don't trust the salesmen.

Larry Cloud

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