by Jorge Gomez • 5 min read
Following the announcement of the military vaccine mandate, it appears the Biden administration is relentlessly punishing and threatening service members of faith whose religious convictions prevent them from getting the vaccine.
In a recent Fox News report, several U.S. Marines spoke out in anonymity, stating they’re being “crushed” by the mandate. Some claim they’re witnessing a “political purge” that’s forcing out some of our most distinguished and decorated heroes over their deeply held beliefs.
Another report from The Hill notes that more than 200 Marines have been dismissed, many of them for exercising their right to refuse the vaccine, and thousands more could face the same fate, putting their careers, years of service and their livelihoods on the line.
In their own words, several Marines describe the attacks they’re facing right now:
Under the First Amendment, federal law and military regulations, service members can apply for a religious accommodation from any requirement that burdens their sincerely held beliefs—including vaccines. However, not a single religious accommodation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine has been approved so far.
Even more shocking, many of our military heroes are receiving “form-letter” denials of their religious accommodation requests. The law requires the Department of Defense (DoD) to consider, read and deliberate on each individual religious accommodation request before issuing a final decision.
Based on documentation made public in recent weeks, it appears DoD officials are issuing generic and nearly identical letters vaguely citing “military readiness” as the reason for denial.
Our men and women in uniform make incredible sacrifices, putting themselves in grave danger when they choose to serve our country. America’s military heroes should not be denied their religious freedom while they are fighting for our liberties. They deserve far better than to be stripped of their rights or to simply receive a blanket denial.
But even as hundreds of U.S. Marines’ careers are on the verge of destruction, there are reasons for hope and optimism.
Earlier this week, First Liberty secured a major victory for religious liberty amidst the current constitutional crisis unfolding in the military.
A federal judge issued an order in favor of our 35 U.S. Navy SEAL clients. While the case moves forward, he stopped the Department of Defense from punishing these military service members who have religious objections to the vaccine mandate. This is an important preliminary victory that paves the way for our clients to be fully vindicated.
It’s also a crucial step in the right direction and possibly the beginning of a precedent that could protect religious liberty for ALL military service members—including the hundreds of Marines who’ve faced punishment and separation because of their religious beliefs.
Make no mistake, however. We expect the Biden administration will appeal this decision—and that means there could be a long, arduous legal battle ahead.
As our legal team continues to fight this case in federal court, will you join us in the fight for our Navy SEALs? They need your ongoing support to restore their constitutional rights.