This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 11, 2021:
In addition to having every one of their requests for a religious exemption from the Navy’s COVID vaccine mandate denied, 35 Navy SEALs were harassed, intimidated, and threatened for even making those requests.
On Tuesday, they filed suit against President Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, and the U.S. Department of Defense. They are being represented by the public interest non-profit First Liberty Institute (LFI).
Mike Berry, general counsel for LFI, minced no words: The denials are universal, deliberate, intentional, and represent an effort to purge the Navy of Christians:
The fact that the government has not granted a single religious exemption from the vaccine mandate shows that the Biden Administration does not care about religious freedom. Instead, this appears to be an attempted ideological purge.
Forcing a service member to choose between their faith and serving their country is abhorrent to the Constitution and America’s values.
After all these elite warriors have done to defend our freedoms, the Navy is now threatening their careers, families, and finances. It’s appalling and it has to stop before any more harm is done to our national security.
After filing their requests and having them universally denied, Berry explained what happened next:
When they inquired about seeking religious accommodation for the vaccine, the Navy informed many of the plaintiffs that they could face court-martial or involuntary separation if they don’t receive the vaccine. Each of their religious exemption denials appear to be identical, suggesting the Navy is not taking their requests seriously.
A purge of the Navy of Christians seems far-fetched, but LFI’s 38-page lawsuit dispels any doubt about that intention. The Navy had to violate not only the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, but the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the Administrative Procedure Act, Department of Defense regulations, and the Department of the Navy’s own regulations in doing so. The complaint called these denials “unlawful, contrary to law, and arbitrary and capricious.”
The Navy communicated to Plaintiffs that failure to comply with the Navy Vaccine Mandate by the established deadline — November 28, 2021, for active duty, December 28, 2021, for reserve — will result in immediate adverse consequences, which may include: court-martial (criminal) prosecution, involuntary separation, relief for cause from leadership positions, removal from promotion lists, inability to attend certain military training and education schools, loss of special pay, placement in a non-deployable status, recoupment of money spent training the service member, and loss of leave and travel privileges for both official and unofficial purposes….
A Navy spokesperson recently admitted that “multiple religious accommodation requests related to the COVID vaccine mandate have been adjudicated and none have yet been approved”….
Plaintiffs’ sincerely held religious beliefs forbid each of them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine for a variety of reasons based upon their Christian faith as revealed through the Holy Bible and prayerful discernment.
Multiple Plaintiffs hold the sincere religious belief that all life is sacred, from conception to natural death, and that abortion is the impermissible taking of an innocent life in the womb.
As a result of their sincerely held religious beliefs regarding life and abortion, multiple Plaintiffs are unable to receive any of the COVID-19 vaccines due to what they believe and understand is a connection between these vaccines and their testing, development, or production using aborted fetal cell lines.
Plaintiffs believe that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine that was tested, developed, or produced using aborted fetal cell lines would force them to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs by causing them to participate in the abortion enterprise, which they believe to be immoral and highly offensive to God.
The plaintiffs hold that their bodies are the temple of God:
Multiple Plaintiffs hold to the sincere religious belief that the human body is God’s temple, and that they must not take anything into their bodies that God has forbidden or that would alter the functions of their body such as by inducing the production of a spike protein in a manner not designed by God….
In accordance with their sincerely held religious belief, multiple Plaintiffs carefully monitor what they take into their bodies, and they are compelled to avoid anything that adversely alters or may modify their bodies’ natural functions in a manner not designed by God.
Many of the SEALs received a formal “COVID-19 Vaccination Administrative Counseling/Warning” that states, “Per MANMED 15-105, special operations (SO) duty personnel (SEAL and SWCC) who refuse to receive the COVID-19 vaccine based solely on personal or religious beliefs will be disqualified from SO duty.”
They will also be declared “medically disqualified” and therefore “non-deployable” for the very missions for which they have been trained.
The lawsuit spells out the violations of the various laws and constitutional guarantees that the Navy performed to excise the plaintiffs from service for their Christian beliefs and ends by demanding “a declaratory judgment [by the court] that Defendants’ vaccination policies … violate Plaintiff’s rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution … [and] under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act … [and] under the Administrative Procedure Act.”
It demanded “an order declaring unlawful and setting aside Defendants’ vaccination policies” along with actual and other money damages “for the violation of Plaintiffs’ rights,” including back pay, legal fees, and “all other further relief to which Plaintiffs may be entitled.”
If the court grants those demands, the immediate threat will have been thwarted. But the main threat remains: The U.S. military has been so infiltrated by secular and anti-God sentiments among its highest ranks that full cleansing and restoration won’t happen as the result of a single favorable court ruling.