Search

Are You Facing A Vaccine Mandate?

Our friend John Stemberger, President of the Florida Family Policy Council recently announced his always-in-the-fight conservative organization has launched a COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates and Religious Exemptions info page to provide those with religious

scruples up-to-date resources on how to defend their religious liberty in the face of the growing war on religion cloaked as public health.


As Mr. Stemberger pointed out, many government agencies and employers are now requiring employees, healthcare workers, and other private citizens to provide proof of vaccination for COVID-19 as a requirement for continued employment. New York City has imposed new mandates that require a vaccine to enter an establishment of indoor dining, entertainment, and fitness, and the city will fine businesses who do not comply. And some colleges and universities are also requiring vaccination of all students who plan to attend in-person classes.


Here are just a few of the top Frequently Asked Questions addressed on the Florida Family Policy Council COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates and Religious Exemptions info page:


My employer or school requires masks. I have a religious objection. Do I have any recourse?

First, you must ensure that you have a bona fide religious objection. Few, if any, religions have specific teachings against wearing masks. You must be able to articulate a religious belief that the mask requirement violates. Medical, cultural, or political objections do not qualify as a bona fide religious objection. Some plaintiffs have sued based on religious objections to wearing masks in public, but courts have rejected those to date.


Is being forced to get the vaccine unconstitutional? Specifically, aren’t there religious freedom issues?


Courts have ruled for over a century that the government may require mandatory vaccines in certain circumstances. Religious objectors may be entitled to accommodations in some circumstances. For more information on mandatory vaccines in employment and education, see the document entitled “Summary Guidance for Religious Accommodations and Exemptions from COVID-19 Vaccination Mandates.”


Are there free speech issues with mandatory vaccines?


Not in most circumstances. Private employers and private schools are not subject to the First Amendment. Even in cases where a government employer or public school may require you to disclose your vaccination status, it would not likely be considered compelled speech under the First Amendment.


My school or employer requires a COVID vaccine but offers religious “accommodations” that include wearing masks or periodic COVID testing. I’m afraid of being singled out. What can I do?


In most situations, employers or schools that provide such religious accommodations are legally permitted to do so. However, if you experience actual repeated and severe harassment in the workplace based specifically on your religious beliefs, you may have claims based on workplace harassment. But feeling singled out, without more, is unlikely to violate the law.


I work for an employer that requires vaccination, but I have religious objections. What are my options?

You must first determine if your objection is based on a sincerely held religious belief against taking any of the available vaccines (since they are different), or whether your objections are based on other medical, health, cultural, or political, but not religious, concerns. Many people have medical or other concerns which do not rise to the level of an actual religious belief. A belief that taking a vaccine is unwise or could be harmful will normally be considered a medical or health objection, not a religious objection.


Private employers. Private employers may generally impose work-related job requirements on their employees so long as the requirements do not violate the law. However, if an employer institutes a policy requiring its employees to take a vaccine, and to take the vaccine would violate your sincerely held religious beliefs, the employer may be required to grant you a reasonable accommodation if it can do so without incurring an undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation may include a mask or social distance requirement, temperature checks, COVID-testing, reassignment, or other measures.


Government employers. Government employers may also have to grant reasonable accommodations to their employees who have sincerely held religious beliefs that conflict with the employer’s policies or directives, just as private employers do. In addition, unlike private employees, government employers must also respect the constitutional rights of their employees. So a government employee may also have constitutional rights to avoid the government employer’s vaccine mandates. For example, if a government employer offers any exemptions to a mandatory vaccine requirement, then the Constitution may require that it also offer an exemption for religious reasons.


I or my child attend(s) a school that requires COVID vaccination to attend. I have a religious objection to all of the available COVID vaccines. Do I have any options?


You must first determine if your objection is based on a sincerely held religious belief against taking any of the available vaccines (since they are different), or whether your objections are based on other medical, health, cultural, or political, but not religious, concerns. Many people have medical or other concerns which do not rise to the level of an actual religious belief. A belief that taking a vaccine is unwise or could be harmful will normally be considered a medical or health objection, not a religious objection.


If you do have 1) a sincerely held religious objection to taking all vaccines, or 2) a specific, sincerely held belief rooted in your faith that taking these particular COVID-19 vaccines would violate your sincerely held religious beliefs in a way that you can articulate, then you may be entitled to request an accommodation, depending on the situation. You should also first check to see if any other objections to the vaccines are permitted, such as medical exemptions, or pregnancy. If you receive an accommodation, you should be willing to accept other requirements such as wearing a mask, temperature checks, and/or regular COVID-testing.


In addition to the lengthy FAQ page, through the Florida Family Policy Council COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates and Religious Exemptions info page you can also access links to trusted legal resources and opinions from conservative allies at Liberty Counsel and Alliance Defending Freedom to help you stay informed and know your legal rights.


Some states, such as Democrat-controlled Washington, have made it extraordinarily difficult to qualify for a religious exemption to a vaccine mandate.

Keith Eldridge, reporting for KOMO News, reported the state released a new form that asks several questions for those who are applying for the exemption.


The form's questions to state workers include:


"You assert that you have a sincerely held religious belief or religious conviction that prevents you from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.. Yes or no?"


The second question is the most controversial. “You affirm/agree that you have never received a vaccine or medicine from a health care provider as an adult. Yes or no.”

“The purpose of this question is to understand whether there was a history of declining medical treatment or vaccination based on an applicant’s religious belief," Gov. Jay Inslee's office said. "If they answer no, the HR professionals would engage in follow up questions to better understand the person’s history, such as demonstrating changes they have made as an adult based on those beliefs.”


Among those targeted for their religious objections to forced vaccination are Ultra-Orthodox Jews. Also objecting are Christians who object because abortion-derived cell lines were used in the development of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.


However, as the Prinz Law Firm documented on its very useful webpage, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, individuals have the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of religion. As part of their religious beliefs, many individuals object to vaccines. Employers are required to accommodate religious observances and practices, unless doing so imposes an undue hardship on the business.


And “Religion” is very broadly defined and encompasses not only organized religions, but also informal beliefs. “Religion” under the law can also encompass non-theistic and moral beliefs.


The attorneys at the Prinz Law Firm cited Chenzira v. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 2012 U.S. Dist. Lexis 182139 (S.D. Ohio, 2012), a case where the court recognized that veganism, in some circumstances, may constitute a sincerely held religious belief. That court exempted an employee from a flu shot requirement.


If you are confronted with a vaccine mandate and have questions about your rights go to the Florida Family Policy Council’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates and Religious Exemptions info page to learn how to defend your religious beliefs from government intrusion.


  • COVID variants

  • delta variant

  • Anthony Fauci

  • vaccine passports

  • mask mandates

  • booster shots

  • Pfizer vaccine

  • Israel

  • FDA approval

  • religious exemptions

  • religious liberty

  • BioNTech vaccine

427 views12 comments