Some Christians are looking for religious liberty exemptions from employer-based vaccine mandates.
David French writes about the surge in Christians (mostly those who consider themselves Evangelical Christians) who are seeking religious exemptions from having to get COVID-19 vaccines.
For example, there is a scramble by Christian Americans to seek “religious exemptions” from employer vaccine mandates. I’ve received correspondence from Christian religious liberty ministries who report a sharp rise in requests for legal assistance to secure religious exemptions. One ministry indicated in an email to affiliated attorneys that it had been “inundated by requests” for help. A pastor in a large church in California has promised to hand out “religious exemption forms” to anyone who attends the church and asks.
The truth is that there are very few exemptions on religious grounds, unless there is a long-standing mandate in that denomination to oppose medical science or vaccines.1
Russell Moore, who has been working on religious liberty cases for 8 years, covers this topic in his newsletter.
In certain, very limited cases they could be. Someone who is part of, for instance, a religious tradition that eschews all medical treatment, along with any other shots or inoculations, could make a credible claim to religious liberty. There are very few such groups—and no group that I’m aware of with a creedal prohibition on masks.
Beyond that, the principle is well established in American law and culture that public health measures are a legitimate state interest. Almost all public schools have required, for years, proof of vaccination for polio and smallpox, etc. The United States military certainly has the mandate to keep troops from dying off from a potentially deadly disease. Certainly, private businesses have the right to ask potential customers to abide by their safety protocols.
The fact that the most vocal Christians, and those that are covered the most by media, are some of the people most vehemently opposed to public safety standards is yet another reason to lament the state of American Christianity.
- Think Christian scientists. [return]