By Will Hall, Baptist Message Editor
WASHINGTON (LBM) —The United States Department of Defense has started laying off military personnel after refusing all requests for religious immunization exemptions to date.
As of December 29, 2021, there were 18,548 combined religious exemption requests among active-duty forces of the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy. None had been approved, although some cases are pending.
Meanwhile, the Marine Corps has already fired 206 of those who requested religious exemptions, and the Air Force has separated 27 airmen. The military and navy have said they will wait until January to prosecute those who have been denied a religious exemption from the vaccination mandate.
Now a Texas federal judge has issued a prepreliminary injunction against the vaccination warrant in a lawsuit brought by elite members of the US Navy.
U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of the North Texas District at Fort Worth ruled on Jan. 3 that the DoD violated the constitutional right of mariners to refuse the vaccine because of their religious beliefs.
The complainants are 26 enlisted members or chief warrant officers of the Navy, Air and Land (SEAL), five enlisted Special Warfare craft crew, three enlisted Navy divers and one technician enlisted explosives and ordnance.
Their complaint states in part that due to “sincere religious beliefs regarding life and abortion, several complainants cannot receive any of the COVID-19 vaccines due to what they believe and understand are ‘a link between these vaccines and their testing, development, or production using aborted fetal stem cell lines.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna do not contain fetal cells. However, during the early phase of development of mRNA vaccine technology, “fetal cells were used in a” proof of concept “(to demonstrate how a cell could take up mRNA and produce the advanced SARS protein -CoV-2) or to characterize SARS -Peak protein CoV-2.
In his 26-page order, Judge O’Connor, appointed by George W. Bush, declared “that there is no military exclusion from our Constitution”. In addition, he called the Navy’s religious accommodation process “theater”.
“The Navy has not granted religious exemptions to any vaccine in recent memory,” he said. “It just stamps every denial.”
In April 2020, the Ethics and Religious Freedom Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention joined the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and 19 other pro-life religious, medical and political organizations in calling on the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that “Americans have access to a vaccine that is ethically produced,” adding “no American should be forced to choose between getting vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus and violating their conscience.” .
“[W]We urgently and respectfully implore you not only to ensure that Americans have access to a COVID vaccine free from ethical concerns, but to encourage and induce pharmaceutical companies to use only cell lines or ethical procedures. to produce vaccines. However, none of the $ 10 billion spent on Operation Warp Speed and COVID-19 vaccine development has been designated to provide a 100% pro-life ethical option.
There are approximately 1.3 million active duty military personnel, and for the entire 2020-2021 pandemic, there have been 82 COVID-19-related deaths among them (compared to 814,806 COVID-19 deaths for the whole country).