Under severe pressure, hospital grants religious exemptions to COVID shots

By Bob Unruh

Connecticut Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Sara Landon prepares COVID-19 vaccine doses April 1, 2021, in Morton Hall Gymnasium at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tristan B. Lotz)

It took only hours for Methodist Health System in Texas, facing a legal demand letter from Liberty Counsel, to decide to grant several employees religious accommodations to its demand that all accept the experimental COVID-19 vaccines.

The hospital corporation had announced that all workers would be required to accept the shots, or be fired.

But that, according to Liberty Counsel’s letter, delivered just a day ago, violated several state and federal laws.

Three of the four employees cited in the Liberty Counsel letter were notified, within about five hours of the letter being issued, that, “The Exemption Committee re-analyzed some of the exemption requests that were submitted and had been initially denied…and has reversed its initial decision and has now approved your exemption.”

A decision on the fourth employee was expected shortly.

“The four employees represented by Liberty Counsel submitted religious exemptions because of their sincere religious beliefs regarding the association between the COVID shots and aborted fetal cell lines. All three of the currently available COVID injections are produced by, derived from, manufactured with, tested on, developed with, or otherwise connected to or associated with aborted fetal cell lines,” Liberty Counsel explained. “The employees submitted the religious exemption form in a timely manner, and all were unlawfully denied. MHS is accusing the employees of religious ignorance and fraud, either for believing ‘erroneous information’ that the injections are associated with aborted fetal cell lines, or for holding theological beliefs that purportedly contradict their declared denomination’s public statement against the injections.”

But Liberty Counsel noted Texas law provides that employees have the right to determine what medical care to accept or refuse, including the rights for all health-care workers to abstain from participating in abortion.

Liberty Counsel chief Mat Staver said, “We are happy for these health-care workers who received religious accommodations. However, many more have been denied by the sham committee designed to force employees to take these shots. What kind of an employer acts this way toward these health-care heroes?”

Liberty Counsel reported on Wednesday that after it contacted the hospital corporation “many more health care workers have come forward confirming that MHS’s unlawful conduct toward its employees is widespread.”

The legal team said, “All MHS employees seeking religious exemptions are encouraged to do so immediately. Those who have been denied religious exemptions are encouraged to contact Liberty Counsel for assistance.”

Staver earlier had described such demands for vaccinations as “irrational mandates.”

While the hospital was accepting requests for exemptions until September 10, it was refusing virtually all requests.

In fact, Methodist was accusing its workers of requesting an exemption “based on erroneous information,” or because their denomination holds a different position that they do. Also, it rejects requests if people have had other vaccinations in the past.

Liberty Counsel noted that Texas law also requires employers to accommodate employees’ sincere religious beliefs.

Further, the vaccines are experimental and cannot be made mandatory and federal law makes it unlawful for an employer “(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or (2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

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