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Vaccines and Gestapo tactics

School interrogates, rejects parents’ religion

Subjects mom, dad to ‘sincerity test’ after filing vaccination exemption

By Drew Zahn

A mother and father in New York were subjected by their school district’s attorney to a faith “sincerity test,” which ultimately ruled their beliefs were too questionable to qualify for a religious exemption to mandatory student immunization.

Ron and Rita Palma filed the exemption with their son’s school district in 2006 after coming to the conclusion the year before that the required vaccinations violated their conscience and sense of God’s leading for their family.

Rather than accept the standard exemption form, however, the Bayport-Blue Point Union Free School District demanded the couple meet with school attorney David Cohen. The Palmas have twice been compelled to sit down with Cohen to be interrogated about their faith and their convictions about vaccines.

“If you believe God is on your side,” Cohen asked in the most recent of the two interviews, conducted last fall, “does that mean he’s not on the side of someone who believes in immunization?”

“Do you have conversations with God? Has God told you not to immunize?” the attorney asked. “Explain it to me.”

Cohen described to the Palmas’ attorney that the purpose of the interview was two-fold: to determine whether the Palmas’ beliefs are actually religious, as opposed to philosophical or political; and to determine whether the beliefs are “sincerely and genuinely held.”

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