The U.S. military continues to ignore the religious beliefs of over 12,000 active service members seeking a religious exemption from the experimental COVID-19 jab.
Most requests have neither received approval nor rejection, leaving the service members in the dark about the convoluted process.
While most troops received the COVID-19 injection, those with sincerely-held religious beliefs will continue to be scrutinized for their faith.
When you consider most troops have a 99.99% survival rate from COVID-19, it’s ridiculous to deny the small percentage that sought religious exemptions.
More than 12,000 military service members refusing the COVID-19 vaccine are seeking religious exemptions. Not a single one has been granted. That's raising tensions in the military, even as the vast majority of the armed forces have been vaccinated. https://t.co/rj2NUkZiya
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 19, 2021
Every active-duty military member must be vaccinated, now that each branch's deadline has passed, unless the person has been granted or is awaiting a an exemption.
While no exceptions have been approved thus far, many have not yet been denied either.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) December 19, 2021
"The military has not approved a single religious exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine, even as more than 12,000 service members have sought one." https://t.co/byypVtTH3M
— AssocAmerPhys&Surg (@AAPSonline) December 17, 2021
AP News explained:
The services, urgently trying to keep the coronavirus pandemic in check by getting troops vaccinated, are now besieged with exemption requests they are unlikely to approve. Meanwhile, troops claiming religious reasons for avoiding the shots are perplexed because exemptions are theoretically available, yet seem impossible to obtain.
Caught in the middle are chaplains, who must balance the desire to offer compassionate care and guidance to personnel with the need to explain a complicated process that may well be futile. They also must assess requests from those who may be using religion as an excuse to avoid a vaccine that, while credited with preventing needless deaths, has become politically charged.
“So many of them come in thinking that I make the decision, and if they make this case, that it’s a done deal,” said Maj. A’Shellarien Lang, an Army chaplain for the National Guard. “I don’t make the decision. And so when they find that out, it’s a kind of game-changer in the sense that they know that the process has to continue.”
According to the services, at least 30,000 service members are not yet vaccinated, but several thousand of those have gotten temporary or permanent medical or administrative exemptions approved. Of the remaining — which is likely 20,000 or more — thousands are working their way through the exemptions process, such as for religious reasons, or have flatly refused. That’s about 1.5% of the roughly 1.3 million active duty troops.
Military – 12,000 religious exemptions filed, none approved.
Nearly 3 dozen Navy sailors, majority of whom are Navy SEALs, filed a lawsuit to get religious exemption requests approved. Those involved are either Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestanthttps://t.co/xcHv66aHfh
— Carol (@CaroL007_) December 18, 2021
(Our military no longer believes in religion of any kind)
Armed forces approve zero religious exemptions for vax despite over 12K requests.https://t.co/nRaxi3hGqk
— Easytime (@Easytime4) December 17, 2021
The Washington Examiner noted:
According to data released by each branch, 1,746 soldiers, 2,751 sailors, 4,756 airmen, and 3,144 Marines have asked specifically for religious exemptions. While none have been approved thus far, many have not yet been denied either.
Last month, a group of nearly three dozen Navy sailors, the majority of whom are Navy SEALs, filed a lawsuit seeking to get their religious exemption requests approved. The SEALs and sailors involved in the suit are either Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant.
The archbishop for military services addressed many of those concerns back in October when he encouraged Catholic service members to get the vaccine, though he also defended their religious freedom.
Archbishop Timothy Broglio said that it’s “morally permissible” to get the vaccine, even though the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were tested “using an abortion-derived cell line” and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine “was developed, tested, and is produced, with abortion-derived cell lines,” because the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found that receiving the vaccine “‘does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion,’ and is therefore not sinful.”
Each of the service branches has begun issuing separations or reprimands for the military members who have refused the vaccine, though this represents a minuscule percentage of the overall force.