First Liberty Files Class Action Lawsuit Challenging Navy Vax Mandate

January 28, 2022
Fli Insider 01 28 2022 | SEALs Class Action

by Jorge Gomez • 3 min read

This week, First Liberty amended our Navy SEALs lawsuit challenging the Navy’s vaccine mandate to make it a class action.

This is a major development to fully restore the rights of all U.S. Navy members who requested a legal, religious accommodation to the mandate.

We already won an important, first victory in favor of the Navy SEALs. In a strongly worded order, a federal district court stopped the Department of Defense from enforcing the mandate and punishing our clients while the case moves forward.

A class-action victory could have broad impact and protect thousands of other military personnel whose requests have been rejected.

Watch the video below. First Liberty President and CEO Kelly Shackelford explains why this recent legal action is so important:

In his order in favor of our clients, Judge Reed O’Connor noted the Navy has failed to give service members the due process they deserve. He wrote:

“The Navy provides a religious accommodation process, but by all accounts, it is theater. The Navy has not granted a religious exemption to any vaccine in recent memory. It merely rubber stamps each denial.”

Federal law requires military officials to individually review each request. But documents published in recent weeks show what appears to be a generic form letter denying them across the board. They are refusing to follow the law.

But it’s not simply that our clients—and thousands of other religious service members—have been rejected. Even more shocking, the Navy has threatened to destroy the careers and purge the ranks of service members who have religious objections to the vaccine mandate, although thousands of administrative and medical exemption requests have been granted.

Just two weeks ago, the U.S. Navy kicked out the first sailors who exercised their legal right to decline the vaccine. The group included 20 who had just entered active service and were removed via entry-level separations, causing them to be booted within their first 180 days.

This is vindictive and outrageous, and it harms our national security. Our brave military heroes are being forced to choose between their faith or serving their country. Putting them in that untenable position dishonors the sacrifices they make to keep us free.

And the Navy’s approach isn’t just wrong, it’s illegal. Service members do not give up their religious liberty when they join the military. Both federal and military law protect their right to seek a religious accommodation from any requirement—including vaccines—that burdens their sincerely held beliefs.

As our Navy SEALs gear up to enter this new phase, they’re going to need YOU on their side to help them win the fight. This will be a tough legal battle, which means First Liberty is going to need your ongoing support.

Together, we can deliver a final victory for our Navy SEAL clients and thousands of service members and their families. Please donate to First Liberty today.

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