A federal judge has upheld a New York City policy that bans unimmunized children from public schools whenever a schoolmate is diagnosed with a disease that can be prevented by a vaccination. New York Times reporter Benjamin Mueller quotes Dina Check, one of the unsuccessful plaintiffs in the case, explaining that piety is her prescription.

Ms. Check said she rejected vaccination after her daughter was “intoxicated” by a few shots during infancy, which she said caused an onslaught of food and milk allergies, rashes and infections. Combined with a religious revelation she had during the difficult pregnancy, she said, the experience turned her away from medicine. Now she uses holistic treatments.

“Disease is pestilence,” Ms. Check said, “and pestilence is from the devil. The devil is germs and disease, which is cancer and any of those things that can take you down. But if you trust in the Lord, these things cannot come near you.”

Viruses and bacteria don’t care whether or not we believe in them. As parents like Check put their kids in private schools that are more accommodating of their beliefs, they turn those institutions into reservoirs of susceptible children. This madness is having tragic, utterly preventable consequences: American public health agencies are dealing with clusters of deadly diseases that had been wiped out a generation ago because people like Dina Check think disease is something you just pray away.

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