U.S. Federal District Judge Reed O’Connor cited “the loss of religious liberties outweighs any forthcoming harm to the Navy” as he issued an injunction Monday barring Joe Biden’s Department of Defense from taking administrative action against 35 Navy SEALs who declined to take the coronavirus vaccine.
The lawsuit, filed on the behalf of these Navy SEALs, represents the most organized challenge to the vaccine mandate of the US military to date.
First Liberty Institute, a legal organization defending religious liberties, represented the Special Forces sailors in the suit, said this “sends a clear message to the Biden administration, to the Pentagon and to the Navy that our service members do not give up their religious freedom when they serve their country.”
O’Connor, of the Northern District of Texas, declared that the coronavirus pandemic provided no excuse for the federal government to abrogate the religious freedoms of Americans, stating that service members did in fact have the right to decline receiving a vaccine on religious grounds.
🔹The lawsuit targeted White House Resident Biden, his Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (who now has COVID-19), and other senior military officials.
🔹The lawsuit cited the indirect use of fetal cell lines originally obtained decades ago from aborted fetuses in the development of the coronavirus vaccine.
🔹Navy and the Marine Corps have denied every request from service members for religious exemption from vaccination.
🔹This injunction applies only to the litigants who have cited a personal religious opposition to receiving vaccination.
Special forces units in the military have incurred higher levels of vaccine refusal than others, with some elite organizations standing to lose a significant amount of personnel.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed the federal government was aware of the ruling on Monday, with Biden administration lawyers pledging they’d legally fight against the ruling at higher levels of the court system.
Observers note that the DOD process merely rubber-stamps each denial without real consideration of vaccine objectors.
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