Sen. Cruz Leads Response To Provide Military Personnel Religious Exemption From Vaccine Mandate
U.S. Army soldiers salute during the national anthem during the an anniversary ceremony of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 on September 11, 2011 at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.
John Moore/Getty Images

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz led a group of eight GOP senators and 38 Republican House members to file an amicus brief in support of 26 Navy SEALs and other service members seeking religious exemptions from President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The friend of the court letter in the case of U.S. Navy Seals v. Biden argued that both the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the First Amendment require the federal government to allow exemptions for the sincerely held religious beliefs of Armed Forces personnel.

“Religious freedom is fundamental to every American’s liberty,” Cruz tweeted on Monday.

The other senators who joined the brief included Rick Scott (R-FL), Mike Lee (R-UT), James Lankford (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Roger Marshall (R-KS). The 38 members of the House of Representatives were led by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA).

“Plaintiffs’ religious liberty and the government’s asserted interest in protecting our service members from COVID-19 need not be in conflict, especially where, as here, the individuals seeking an exemption are willing to adopt non-vaccination measures to protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID-19,” the brief said.

“They are only in conflict here because Defendants refuse to accommodate Plaintiffs’ religious objections even as they accommodate those who will not receive the vaccine for non-religious reasons. This violates RFRA by substantially burdening Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs without a compelling reason, and violates the First Amendment’s guarantee that government not discriminate against religion,” it added.

The letter also noted the military members seek the same freedom from encroachment “by the very government” they have sworn to protect.

“Our men and women in uniform have fought to protect the freedoms that every American, regardless of belief, enjoys. Now they ask this Court to protect their religious freedom from encroachment by the very government they have sworn to protect with their lives,” the amicus brief said.

The SEAL members’ – including members who are Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant–“sincerely held religious beliefs forbid each of them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine for a variety of reasons based upon their Christian faith as revealed through the Holy Bible and prayerful discernment,” the lawsuit says.

“Plaintiffs believe that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine that was tested, developed, or produced using aborted fetal cell lines would force them to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs by causing them to participate in the abortion enterprise, which they believe to be immoral and highly offensive to God,” it added.

As The Daily Wire previously reported:

The Pentagon announced in August that COVID-19 vaccinations would be mandatory for all members of the military. Without the shot or an approved exemption, the service members who continue to refuse will be forced out of the armed forces.

Each branch of the military has fielded thousands of requests for religious exemptions since the announcement was made and military officials are struggling to work through the backlog. While some requests have been denied, many of those are being appealed. No requests for a religious exemption to the shot has been approved. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Sen. Cruz Leads Response To Provide Military Personnel Religious Exemption From Vaccine Mandate