This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 12, 2021:
In another lawsuit filed against President Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, 23 plaintiffs complained to the Middle District Court of Florida that their requests for religious exemptions from Biden’s vaccine mandate were denied, thus violating their First Amendment rights, among others.
The plaintiffs included Navy SEAL 1 and 2, two Lieutenant Colonels, an Army Ranger, a National Guardsman, and several federal civilian contractors, among others.
No names were provided in the lawsuit, but the backgrounds of each were provided in the 120-page lawsuit. The story of “Navy SEAL 1” reveals the character and integrity each possesses, along with the courage needed to “buck the system” with this lawsuit.
Liberty Counsel represents them and noted in its lawsuit that
Plaintiffs are United States Armed Forces servicemembers, federal employees, and federal civilian contractors who face a deadline under [Biden’s] Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate … that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs, and have been refused any religious exemptions or accommodation.
They are facing
pressure and abuse … and disciplinary actions have already commenced for some….
Defendants are threatening these military heroes with dishonorable discharge for even requesting a religious exemption from COVID-19 shots.
Dishonorable discharge is worse that a criminal conviction for these service members because it is a badge of disgrace that follows them for the rest of their lives.
The lawsuit declared
Having sacrificed everything to defend America and its citizenry — and while carrying the images and sounds of war with them throughout their lives — America, the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” would betray them with the worst punishment of dishonorable discharge. And for what cause?
Simply because they seek an accommodation from the COVID-19 shots on account of their sincerely held religious beliefs. [Emphasis in original.]
Navy SEAL 1 serves well as an example of the 23 individuals willing to risk it all to challenge the vaccine mandate:
Plaintiff NAVY SEAL 1, United States Navy, is a citizen of the State of California currently stationed at a United States Naval facility in California.
NAVY SEAL 1 has requested an exemption and accommodation of his sincerely held religious objections to the Secretary’s mandate that all United States Armed Forces personnel accept and receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines as a condition of remaining in their sworn posts.
NAVY SEAL 1’s request for a religious exemption and accommodation was denied, and he was immediately removed from his position in the United States Navy.
Liberty Counsel provided the court with his background and achievements while serving:
Special Operations Chief NAVY SEAL 1 enlisted in the Navy in 2009 and wanted to serve his country to the best of his ability.
NAVY SEAL 1 sought to and became a Navy SEAL. He received training from 2009 starting and finishing BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) and SQT (SEAL Qualification Training) with class 278.
He deployed to Afghanistan from December 2011 to September 2012, and received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a combat “V” (valor) for his actions during deployment, along with a combat action ribbon.
NAVY SEAL 1’s second tour was to the Philippines in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, working under Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF), and receiving an Army Commendation medal.
For his third tour, which was outside of his usual deployment cycle and thus 100% voluntary, NAVY SEAL 1 volunteered to augment SEAL Team Seven during the height of the Mosul, Iraq clearance from February to April 2017.
During NAVY SEAL 1’s fourth tour, in Iraq from August 2017 to March 2018, NAVY SEAL 1 was the acting assault lead, putting him in charge of a platoon level force to execute the tactical direction of the platoon chief, and he earned a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a “C” (Combat).
His most recent tour was to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from March to September 2020. For his leadership setting up, organizing, and executing a large joint close air support (CAS) and combat search and rescue (CSAR) exercise, NAVY SEAL 1 received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. This robust exercise included units from 5 different countries and over 15 assets.
NAVY SEAL 1 also received awards for his time spent at training commands. His first tour was at TRADET-1 as the SOUC (Special Operations Urban Combat) Lead Petty Officer from December 2014 to June 2016. He received a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Award for his efforts there.
His second training command tour was as the Lead Chief Petty Officer of the Navy’s only Joint Close Air Support school. For his efforts in synchronizing joint assets and providing mission critical qualification training for creating Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) he received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Award.
Navy SEAL 1 is also a Christian. As Liberty Counsel explained,
Plaintiffs [including Navy SEAL 1] sincerely hold religious beliefs that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that they are to glorify God with their bodies lays the foundation for everything they do, consume, or inject into their bodies.
From this foundation they make studied and reasonable decisions about what is good and what is not good or may not be good for their bodies.
To knowingly abuse their bodies by engaging in a dishonorable act, or consuming or injecting a substance that will or may produce adverse consequences, is a sin against God.
This belief and other sincerely held religious beliefs are foundational to all their decisions and actions and are not limited to aborted fetal cell lines.
Plaintiffs [including Navy SEAL 1] have sincerely held religious beliefs that the Holy Spirit — through prayer and the revelation of Scripture — guide them in all decisions they make in life.
Plaintiffs [including Navy SEAL 1] have sincerely held religious beliefs that Jesus Christ came to this earth, died on the cross for their sins, was resurrected three days later, and that when He ascended to Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell His believers and to guide them in all aspects of their lives.
This is anathema to Navy SEAL 1’s commanding officers, as Liberty Counsel explained:
On September 7, 2021, NAVY SEAL 1 submitted to the United States Navy a request for religious exemption from the Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate as an accommodation of his sincerely held beliefs.
NAVY SEAL 1 articulated to his commander that he has and exercises sincerely held religious beliefs that compel him to abstain from receiving any of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines.
NAVY SEAL 1 met with his unit’s Chaplain, who reviewed his request for a religious exemption and accommodation and found that NAVY SEAL 1’s request was sincere.
NAVY SEAL 1’s Chaplain forwarded NAVY SEAL 1’s request to the command.
After review, NAVY SEAL 1’s request for a religious exemption and accommodation was denied, and he was preemptively removed from his position as Platoon Chief.
NAVY SEAL 1 faces potential court martial, dishonorable discharge, and other life altering disciplinary measures for exercising and seeking accommodation of his sincerely held religious beliefs against COVID-19 vaccination.
As a result of the denial, Navy SEAL 1 and the other plaintiffs “face the unconscionable choice of violating their sincerely held religious beliefs or facing court martial and dishonorable discharge from their faithful service to the nation,” according to the lawsuit.
They are “suffering irreparable injury,” claims the lawsuit,
By being prohibited in their constitutionally and statutorily protected rights to the free exercise of their sincerely held religious beliefs….
By being forced to choose between maintaining the ability to feed their families and the free exercise of their sincerely held religious beliefs….
By being stripped of their rights to equal protection of the law and being subjected to disfavored class status in the United States Armed Forces….
[and by facing] the prospect of irreparable medical injury as a result of the Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate.
The plaintiffs demand that the court issue a temporary restraining order and that Biden and the other named defendants “immediately comply … so that each individual has the option to accept or refuse administration of the COVID-19 vaccines.” Biden and the others “will immediately cease in their refusal to consider, evaluate, or accept Plaintiffs’ requests for exemption and accommodation for their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Time is running out. Navy and Marine Corps servicemembers have until November 28 to become fully vaccinated, or suffer the consequences.
Unless the court intervenes.