We Hear You: Tracking Religious Objectors to Vaccine Mandates and Protecting the Unborn

Editor’s note: The Daily Signal’s audience continues to respond to our reporting on the Biden administration’s tracking of federal employees who apply for an exemption from its COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Here’s a sampling from the mailbag at [email protected]—Ken McIntyre

Dear Daily Signal: We as Americans should all be disturbed by this trend reported by Sarah Parshall Perry and GianCarlo Canaparo (“18 More Federal Agencies Eye Making Vaccine Religious-Objector Lists“). This comes after parents who speak out during school board meetings have their names put on government lists.

What is disconcerting about this particular government list of federal employees is that it involves religious objection to the COVID-19 vaccines. This has grave First Amendment implications. The next logical step is that the government is going to test people’s sincerity in their religious objections.

This means that their religious faith is going to come under scrutiny. So who’s going to decide whether these people are sincere enough in their faith to receive an exemption from a COVID-19 vaccine mandate?

We see in blue states how religious exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccination and other inoculations is coming under fire. Here in Connecticut, that has happened.

Some have said this is an attack on people of religious faith. My question is: Which specific faith? Christianity has come under fire more and more in this country over the past couple of decades. According to critical race theory tenets, white people of Christian faith are especially horrid oppressors.

Jesus said that these days would be coming. In his discourse on the Mount of Olives, he said that people would take the lives of those who serve him and think they’re doing God a service. He said that the whole world would hate people of Christian faith because of him.

Unlike Schindler’s list, these government lists do not mean life.—Eric Kielhorn, Norwich, Conn.

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Dear Daily Signal: What conservatives need to do about this proposed list of vaccine objectors is to enter official comments on the Federal Register. I am aware of the process from being a ham radio operator. We get alerts of proposed rulemakings that affect us and are instructed to make official comments.

I clicked on a hyperlink and it brought up the proposed rule with instructions on how to make comments. But it really is rather a farce, since only insiders generally are even aware of such proposals and know how to comment.

And I am a little concerned in that official comments are public information, including name and identifying info. This compiling of lists of religious information on federal employees just because they ask for a religious exemption is creepy. It seems to be an obvious violation of the First Amendment.

It is not up to government to evaluate our religious beliefs. Even within groups such as Roman Catholics, with a hierarchical authority structure, individuals do differ. For Protestants, it is even less a standard set of views on issues that the Bible does not specifically address, such as vaccines.

But the scriptural point is very clear on doubtful things, or where believers might have different views: We are to be firmly convinced in our own minds and not go against what we are convinced is wrong. No one should try to convince someone to go against their beliefs.—Kathi Robinson

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Using religion as an excuse for not getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is just an excuse, not a true reason. Whoever came up with this nonsense should be immediately terminated. There is no valid excuse to allow anyone to transmit disease to others. 

If someone choses not to be vaccinated against a disease that can kill, they should be quarantined until the pandemic is over. That means that they cannot interact with anyone, and it is at their own expense.—Jeff Savlov

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This article sounds a lot like what is happening or has happened in Communist China. Keep shining “the light of truth” on this administration.—Stan Beachy

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I work for the Transportation Security Administration as a transportation security officer at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. They collected our information regarding our religious exemption, and it is on a government website.

When we filed for a religious exemption, they directed us to the database. We were required to answer a series of questions as to why we were applying for the exemption.—Dan O’Leary, Illinois

Anticipating a Post-Roe World

Dear Daily Signal: Finally, a commentary from five pro-life leaders with remarks that match mine on Roe v. Wade and the abortion issue (“Protecting Unborn Children in a Post-Roe World“).

I am a Lutheran, former pastor, and retired pathologist’s assistant. I have seen the results of abortions, whether diagnostic or therapeutic. As part of my job, I had to describe the “specimen” and submit sections so the pathologist could render a diagnosis.

In this arena, I handled a surgical specimen composed of blood and tissue, preserved in formalin. It was called “products of conception,” not the mangled body of a tiny baby.

The early Christian church at Corinth was located at a very sinful seaport. Early Christians were surrounded by, and unfortunately succumbed to, the sins of that society. St. Paul did not tell those Christians to march on Capitol Hill and demand changes; in his two letters to the Corinthians, he wrote to tell them to live in the light of Christ and to let their witness of faith bring others to do the same.

Legislating change is good, but it can be undone with the next Congress. Having your views heard is wonderful, but your side can be shouted over. Legislation is good, but changing hearts and minds for Christ is better.—Ralph Otte, Safety Harbor, Fla.

Dear Daily Signal: I am in complete agreement with the effort to overturn Roe v. Wade as well as the preservation of life for the unborn.  However, in various media outlets’ coverage of the anti- and pro-abortion arguments, I never have heard that prevention measures are important. 

It would be quite distasteful, I imagine, but nevertheless it is an important factor to be considered since sexual activity certainly is flaunted in movies, in music, and on social media sites.

Pro-choice individuals apparently do not want to admit their decision to participate in sexual activity is what results in pregnancy. They obviously do not want to acknowledge that their desire for pleasure overrides their sense of responsibility. 

This attitude prevails among men and women. The part men have in a pregnancy is another factor virtually never mentioned as being a responsibility. Preventive measures available don’t destroy the life of an unborn child at any point. The “morning-after pill” isn’t one of those measures, as I understand it will destroy the beginning cells of a fetus. 

I acknowledge that the case of rape necessitates an extremely difficult decision. Along with the effort to save the unborn, we must do much more effective work in providing safe, respectful, and supportive places to assist at such a time for girls and women.

Those with financial resources and a heart of compassion could do much to assist in the development, operation, and support of such facilities.  We shouldn’t rely on support from the federal government.

There also needs also to be a return to mutual respect between men and women. Our young people must be informed, educated, and helped to understand responsibility for appropriate adult actions. It should not be assumed that young people will experiment with sex, nor encouraged. Their bodies and differences should be emphasized, honored, and preserved. 

Finally, a return to marriage between a man and a woman must be emphasized, as that is our Creator’s plan and purpose.—Lulenore Unger

Fact-Checking Democrats on Clean Elections

Dear Daily Signal: Here’s a thought after reading Fred Lucas’ article headlined “Fact-Checking 3 Claims at Democrats’ ‘Voter Suppression’ Hearing“: Pass a law stating that any member of Congress who fabricates or twists facts to make his point would lose his seat and be banned for life from a position in government.

Any media outlet that does the same would permanently lose any operating licenses.—Jeff Savlov

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I just read Fred Lucas’ article headlined “Fact-Checking 6 Claims From Biden’s Voting Rights Speech,” which included many facts about which I was unaware.

I don’t think Republicans in general are far off from the thinking of most Democrats, barring the most extreme progressives. On the issue of voting rights and processes for example, everyone must be concerned to have fair elections where every eligible voter should be able to reasonably cast his vote, expecting an accurate count and result.

It could be easier if everyone involved acknowledged the good parts of the others’ plan. OK, hoping, trusting.—Patrick Jensen

This and That

Dear Daily Signal: Vaccination for COVID-19 does not relax the mask-wearing guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a “feel good” measure without scientific evidence to support it.

So under the Supreme Court rulings described by Sarah Parshall Perry and Paul Larkin (“Unpacking Supreme Court Justices’ Reasoning in Vaccine Mandate Decisions“), President Biden apparently has the “authority” from Congress to require 24/7 mask wearing by health care workers if he thinks masks protect patients from exposure to the virus. 

That said, nothing in the court’s decisions addresses the penalty for noncompliance with Biden’s vaccine mandate for health care workers, or a mask mandate—the withdrawal of federal funding of critical medical care services in the midst of a pandemic! 

Does that draconian measure also fit the “authority” granted by Congress discovered by the Supreme Court? Does the president have unfettered authority to withdraw funding approved by Congress to force compliance with any preference conjured up by him or the executive branch?

Health care workers should call his bluff, and see what the Supreme Court does.—Herb Zeller, Boston 

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About Jarrett Stepman’s commentary on crime in New York (“New York District Attorney Calls for End to Prosecuting Serious Crimes“): Nine years ago, as my wife and I were planning our move from New York City to Southern California, the then-developing list of candidates to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg was chilling and seemed to be a race to the bottom.

I am pleased that we left prior to the debacle of Bill de Blasio.  Now the city’s new district attorney essentially says, ‘Nope, not going to prosecute crimes like other rational district attorneys.’ So even with a safety-oriented new mayor, Eric Adams, citizens of Manhattan are left to their own devices to safeguard their life and property.

I don’t know what the rules are, but it seems the new DA, Alvin Bragg, should be recalled or impeached or whatever procedure is available, as it seems Bragg isn’t giving full allegiance to the duties he swore to uphold. 

It is a repeating problem in many major cities. When will the lunacy end?—Lee Doble, Huntington Beach, Calif.

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In response to Marguerite Bowling’s article: As a psychotherapist before I retired, I helped many parents understand the developmental stages of their children (“We Are Mothers. Here Are Our Reactions to ‘Woke’ Children’s Books“).

What is key in this is what children at each stage of development are capable of understanding themselves, and what the tasks are for their developmental stage. A young child, one under 10, doesn’t have the cognitive development to understand sexual preferences, the concept of sexual activity, gay or straight, etc. 

In early adolescence, a key task is individualization: Who am I? Who do I want to be? What do I want to do? Part of that task is to establish gender identity. 

To confuse or pressure a young child or adolescent regarding gender identity is harmful. They must be allowed  to explore as is appropriate for their developmental stage without being misled for the sake of promoting political agendas.—Cynthia Naff

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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