We’re only a few months into 2021, but it’s already been a busy one for people looking for the end of the world. Lil Nas X has apparently dethroned Satan, so that’s a whole thing. The government has acknowledged that it has footage of UFOs it can’t explain, of course. We don’t have enough time to get into all the internet conspiracy theories around President Joe Biden and the end times, but there are plenty of them out there. Many of them are related to vaccines, with conspiratorial Christians of all stripes — even several well-known white evangelical leaders — urging people to refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19. But Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is the most prominent one yet to draw comparisons between so-called “vaccine passports” and the biblical Mark of the Beast.
“Is this Biden’s Mark of the Beast,” Taylor Greene asked. “Because that is really disturbing and not good.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene says that a vaccine passport is “Biden’s Mark of the Beast” and that any company the requires one is engaging in “corporate communism.” pic.twitter.com/XtTvqw83tU
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) March 30, 2021
“It’s still fascism or communism, whatever you want to call it,” she said. “But it’s coming from private companies so I have a term for that. I call it ‘corporate communism.'”
Setting aside whether or not corporations can ever be communist, this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. As Taylor-Greene rightly notes, the Biden Administration is leaving the idea of “vaccine passports” in the hands of private companies. “Unlike other parts of the world, the government here is not viewing its role as the place to create a passport, nor a place to hold the data of citizens,” White House senior advisor Andy Slavitt said. “We view this as something that the private sector is doing and will do.”
There will likely be a lot of debate over the extent to which vaccine passports can be mandated, and the U.S. is far from alone in the conversation. Other countries like Israel, China, Japan and the European Union are embroiled in their own attempts to require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, but the Washington Post referred to the current state of the effort as “disarray.”
Here in the U.S., any such passport would be free and likely digital, like a QR Code or a mobile boarding pass that you can pull up on your smartphone — so, not a “mark,” in the traditional sense. That may allay the fears of some, but it also might be viewed with suspicion from Americans leery of Big Tech’s growing influence.
A few elected leaders are already making their positions clear. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis adamantly refused to participate in any such conversations around whether or not to use a vaccine passport, saying “It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society.”
Proponents of the passport idea point out that things like driver’s licenses, green cards and other such state-mandated permits have already set a precedent for government requirements for things like driving and proving citizenship. Though of course, as with driver’s licenses and green cards, there are valid concerns that underprivileged groups who don’t have easy access to vaccines might be disproportionately affected by such passports.
But valid concerns aren’t the Mark of the Beast, however convenient such rhetoric might be for inspiring Satanic Panic.