Nearly three dozen Navy SEALs and Sailors join lawsuit to seek religious exemption from COVID-19 vaccination

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Nearly three dozen Navy SEALs and Sailors have joined a lawsuit claiming their First Amendment rights were violated because they failed to secure a COVID vaccination mandate exemption. 19.

First Liberty filed on trial on behalf of SEALs and Sailors Anonymous Tuesday in U.S. District Court, North Texas District, Fort Worth Division.

The 26 Navy SEALs, five Special Warfare Combat Craft crew, three Navy divers and an explosive ordnance technician were among the plaintiffs, while President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro were named as defendants in the suit.

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The legal record explains that the service members all requested religious exemptions, although the Navy had granted none as of Oct. 28, according to a spokesperson for the military branch.

Each of the SEALs or Sailors is either Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant, and as such, they have “sincere religious beliefs prohibiting everyone from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine for various reasons based on their Christian faith as revealed. through the Holy Bible and prayerful discernment ”, according to the costume.

“The complainants believe that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine that has been tested, developed or produced using aborted fetal cell lines would force them to violate their sincere religious beliefs by involving them in the abortion business, which they consider it immoral and very offensive to God, ”he said.

Mike Berry, senior military counsel, told the Washington Examiner in an interview that their case is “actually quite straightforward” because “the only thing the serviceman has to do is establish that he has sincere religious beliefs and that the government weighs heavily on that sincere religious belief, that the the government weighs heavily on their free exercise of religion.

Berry was unsure whether his clients had received exemptions for other mandatory vaccinations demanded by the military.

Service members do not object to standard COVID-19 precautions, including wearing a mask, social distancing, regular testing and telecommuting, according to the lawsuit. Further, Berry explained that the lawsuit did not seek to overturn the entire vaccination mandate, but rather to get the military to approve religious exemptions.

Case alleges military violated service members’ rights under the Restoration of Religious Freedom Act, their First Amendment right to religious freedom and their rights under the Administrative Procedure Act .

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The plaintiffs hope the judge will agree that the rights of the military have been violated under the First Amendment, the Restoration of Religious Freedom Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and they want the judge to issue a preliminary injunction and permanent prohibiting the military from applying vaccination. policy towards them.

As of November 3, 95% of assets sailors are fully immune, while 99.3% have received at least one dose. The Navy demands that active-duty forces be fully immunized by Nov. 28, although Sailors will need to receive the last injection of a two-dose or single-dose vaccine by Nov. 14, as it takes two weeks to be considered vaccinated. .

Five medical exemptions have been approved.

A Navy spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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