Two faith-based organizations based in Texas and Mississippi claim that simply implementing the Biden administration’s vaccination mandate would be a “sin against the Holy Word of God” and put their employees in a position to sin as well.
The American Family Association, a Christian fundamentalist organization based in Tupelo, Mississippi, and the Daystar Television Network, an evangelical Christian church network in Dallas, made these arguments in court Tuesday.
The two nonprofits weighed in on a lawsuit in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn an Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule requiring workers at companies with 100 or more employees. be vaccinated before Jan. 4 or face mask requirements and weekly COVID-19 testing. Companies that do not comply could be fined as much as $ 14,000 per violation.
“AFA and Daystar have religious objections to forcing their employees to test their conscience before receiving the vaccine. AFA and Daystar believe that if they implement the required vaccination mandate, they will hurt the conscience of their employees and potentially lead them to sin, ”the organization’s lawyers wrote.
“Further, the AFA and Daystar believe that if they even put their employees to the test, the very act of implementing the vaccination mandate is a sin against the Holy Word of God.”
The two organizations’ court records are one of several that the 5th Circuit Court is considering in the fight this week over whether to suspend OSHA’s rule across the country pending further litigation. Lawsuits against the vaccine rule have been filed in at least five other federal circuits.
Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Utah and several companies sued the Department of Labor and OSHA over the vaccine requirement for large companies last week. The New Orleans 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency stay of the rule over the weekend. The court ruled that the states’ request suggests that there are “serious statutory and constitutional problems” with the warrant..
The American Family Association was among the petitioners the court responded to when it suspended the warrant.
The American Family Association owns and operates nearly 180 radio stations across the country under the name American Family Radio. Daystar Television, one of the two largest Christian television networks in the world, is part of the Word of God Fellowship.
The groups say they were formed according to God’s call and for his purposes. They believe that the Bible is the inspired, infallible, and authoritative word of God, and that it teaches that the right of conscience is sacred and must remain inviolable.
“AFA and Daystar must obey the Word of God. They have no other choice. The AFA and Daystar have a sincere religious belief that they cannot force their employees to test their beliefs or their conscience by forcing them to obtain one of the COVID-19 vaccines, ”according to the court record. “Putting their employees to the test is a violation of the Holy Word of God. “
The Biden administration’s workplace vaccination mandate allows employees to request religious or medical exemptions.
The five states argue that the vaccination rule, released by OSHA as an emergency standard last Thursday, is unconstitutional and beyond the reach of President Joe Biden’s power.
Government lawyers oppose the suspension of the rule by the 5th Circuit Court, saying in court documents it would result in many deaths.
In its court case, the government argues that the injuries alleged by states are “speculative and remote” and do not outweigh the interest in protecting employees from a dangerous virus while the lawsuit continues.
“The petitioners have also failed to show that their alleged injuries outweigh the harm caused by maintaining a standard that will save thousands of lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations,” according to court documents. “OSHA’s detailed analysis of the impact of the standard shows that a stay would likely cost tens, if not hundreds, of lives per day.