The National Faith Advisory Board (NFAB) and more than 1,000 religious leaders sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Nov. 15 urging the Department of Defense to grant religious exemptions from the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for all military personnel.
“As faith leaders representing millions of Americans from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds from across the country, we write to express our strong concern about the potential for military members to be stripped of their religious liberties by not being granted an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate,” the letter reads.
NFAB went on to reveal that out of the hundreds of service members who have applied for a religious exemption, which the mandate allows them to do so, not one has been granted.
“On October 14th, the Navy announced a timeline and ‘discharge details’ for those refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. In the announcement, it says that ‘Sailors seeking an exemption to the vaccine mandate can apply for medical reasons or a religious accommodation.’ However, as of October 19th, Mike Berry, general counsel for the First Liberty Institute, stated that he has ‘read hundreds of service members religious exemption requests…and of the hundreds I’ve seen, not a single one has been granted.'”
Highlighting the potential risk to national security for discharging service members, NFAB added that “losing some of our military’s finest over a vaccine mandate would be a travesty.”
“With the current threats we face – whether it be an emboldened Al-Qaeda or a rising communist regime in China – losing some of our military’s finest over a vaccine mandate would be a travesty. By not approving legitimate exemptions in a timely manner, you will be threatening the basic liberties of servicemen, servicewomen, and their families increasing the polarization of our armed forces, and potentially risking our national security.”
“We urge you to grant religious exemptions as soon as possible for every American risking their lives to defend our country. Religious freedom is enshrined in our Constitution and must always be protected,” the letter concluded.
The letter comes after Mike Berry, General Counsel for First Liberty, discussed with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson the serious possibility that Navy Seals could be denied religious exemptions from the vaccine mandate and will be forced to lose their jobs.
According to a press release, when Carlson asked where religious are leaders to help, NFAB lunged into action, calling for the Department of Defense to protect service members’ religious rights.
“Unlike other countries, America was founded on the idea that we were God’s children and that the government is there to protect our rights and safety – not trample them. If our men and women in uniform are purged from the military because of this, our country will be less safe and it will signal to the public that their religious liberties could be at risk, too,” NFAB Founder and President Pastor Paula White-Cain said.