A couple of months ago I shared with you a letter I wrote my chain of command outlining my concerns with the vaccine mandate for federal employees ( https://seek-the-truth.com/2021/08/14/letter-to-my-employer-i-wont-do-it/). In the two months since that letter, the situation has only gotten worse. I wrote again to my chain of command this past week because I am increasingly concerned about this mandate and the impact it will have on our workforce.
I could easily acquiesce to this mandate. My job would be safe and I would avoid the unnecessary hassle. The cost to me, most people would say, would be very cheap. I have already been vaccinated, so it would take only a few minutes to attest to my status. But I won’t give in, I won’t provide them my status, because I calculate the cost to be very high. The cost is a violation of my conscience which is greater than the financial loss of leaving my job.
I am not financially risking as much as others. I am past retirement age, so I can retire and take my pension, but I don’t want to leave on these terms, so I will play it. The bigger cost, I calculate, is the cost of betraying my fellow colleagues, many of whom may be paying an even higher cost than me.
My employer has said that all federal employees must be fully vaccinated and that we must attest to that vaccination by November 22. Because one is not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after the last dose, that deadline in reality is November 8, which is fewer than three weeks away.
I will play this game of chicken for as long as my employer wishes. I believe in the end the cost to my employer (and many other employers) is greater than our collective individual costs, and, if we are firm in our resistance, they will recognize that reality. Certainly, the cost of giving in will be worse for all of us in the long run. They are counting on the overwhelming majority to give in and avoid the fight , but if enough of us resist, they will be forced to reconsider the cost. We have already seen this successfully played out by employees of Southwest Airlines. They play on people’s fears by threatening their jobs; we use resolve to tell them that we are stronger than they.
Ours, one of the larger agencies in the government, employs about 75,000. This past week, we were informed that 78% of our employees have been vaccinated and that 95% have attested to their status. They are counting a large percentage of the remaining 22% to cave at the last minute. I think some will, but I think we are down to the hard core and I doubt that most of that final 22% will give in.
I think my agency has a big problem. We are either going to have to back down or begin disciplinary action against thousands of employees. We don’t have the resources for that effort, nor do I think we have the stomach for such a mass layoff. Whenever there is a government shutdown for even a day, our media is aghast at the consequences. This is far bigger. Our country will be shutting down a great many government services if this game is played out to the very end. Why isn’t the media screaming about a government shutdown now? With a little pressure from our media, our politicians, especially those conservatives sleeping on the job, will put a stop to this.
Consider the impact to our country as a whole as tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of government employees along with military personnel, police officers, fire fighters, medical personnel, hospital workers, airline pilots and mechanics, truck drivers, dock workers, grocery store employees, and so many other essential workers are let go from their jobs.
At the start of the pandemic we were told these people were essential, and I think they are, but why are so many employers blithely letting them go now? Many have already been let go unfortunately. Others are still battling as I am. This is all unjust and immoral. I will fight it for as long as I can. How quickly our opinions can change.
My employer says we can apply for medical or religious exemptions, but then they pre-emptively deny medical exemptions for something like natural immunity. They tell us that HIPPA does not apply. HIPPA protects your right to keep your medical status private, at least until the government says it no longer applies. We can’t let them get away with this. I am not a lawyer, but I would think there has to be some strong justification provided before dismissing the HIPPA requirements. They are not willing to provide that reasoning, so I suspect they are not on solid ground. I’m not sure what they will do with the religious exemptions. Will they be taken seriously? I know many people scoff at those who have religious exemption requests, like they scoff at all things religious; they want say those who claim such exemptions are all hypocrites, just like this woman in the Washington Post who says: People lie about their ‘religious’ objections to vaccines. Proving it is hard. https://wapo.st/3ppzljJ.
This past week, I received another perfunctory response from my chain of command, along with a promise to forward my concerns up the chain. I was always doubtful any of them would acknowledge or support my concerns, but I continue to make appeals to others in my organization. I have entered a religious exemption, as is my right to do so. I will keep attempting to prick the consciences of those considering my request in the hopes that someone in a position of authority will recognize the unjustness of this and the folly of playing this game to the bitter end.
Below, I share the questions on the exemption form and my answers. Perhaps this will inspire others to take action as well. I can only hope. I find their questions a bit snarky; I think are worded to help provide a reason to say no to the exemption. Perhaps I am being a bit too skeptical, but I no longer trust this government and its hidden agendas.
My Religious Exemption Request
- Please describe the nature of your objection to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement
This is a matter of conscience. I cannot in good conscience lend support to the current forced vaccination policy which I consider unjust and immoral. I am following my conscience to lend support for others who are being threatened and must make a choice to protect their jobs or accept treatment they believe is not in their own self-interest.
I can easily provide my vaccination status and avoid any consequences for myself, but I choose not to provide my status in order to stand with others who are impacted, many more significantly impacted than I am. I believe the only way to support my fellow colleagues and follow the dictates of my conscience is to withhold my response to my vaccination status.
The option “decline to answer” was originally allowed and I entered that as a valid response in August. This option was later rescinded. I have not updated my response because this has now become a matter of conscience.
2. Would complying with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement substantially burden your religious exercise? If so, please explain how.
Not for me personally. I object to my employer asking for my status and others’ status. I believe they have no right to ask. However, my objection goes much further; this is also a moral issue. I object to my employer compelling my colleagues to accept medical treatment which they believe is not in their own best interest. I cannot lend my support to a policy that is forcing people to do something not only against their will, but not necessarily in their best interest.
Not I, nor those of you considering this request, nor our employer has the intimate knowledge to know what is best for each individual’s health and safety. Each individual, in conjunction with their doctors, along with family and friends must make this decision for themselves. To indiscriminately impose this mandate and to ignore legitimate objections from individuals (as is already being done), will unnecessarily harm many individuals. I do not want to be complicit in this; therefore, I am not responding to the inquiry. Again, my conscience would convict me if I were to support the policy which I believe is indiscriminately harming many individuals.
3. How long have you held the religious belief underlying your objection?
My objection is recent; I object to the vaccine mandate policy implemented in 2021.
4. Please describe whether, as an adult, you have received any vaccines against any other diseases (such as a flu vaccine or a tetanus vaccine) and, if so, what vaccine you most recently received and when, to the best of your recollection.
This question is not relevant to my religious objection. I do not have any objections to vaccines themselves; however, I do believe that my employer has no right to demand medical information from me as a cause for continued employment.
Furthermore, I have raised many concerns and asked many questions myself. I am a front-line manager and I have twice written lengthy notes to my chain of command, up to the fourth level of management, outlining my concerns. I received two very short responses saying only that my concerns would be forwarded to the Human Capital Office. There was no attempt to address any of the specifics I outlined in my messages, nor has anyone from the HCO reached out to me in the two months since my original note was drafted.
I have asked my chain of command why the government believes it can force upon its employees a medical treatment which may not be in the best interest of many of those employees. I have asked why the government believes this policy is not a violation of HIPPA guidelines, not to mention an employee’s basic freedoms. I have asked my chain of command if they are willing to countenance a large number of employees having their jobs threatened and if terminating a substantial number of employees is in the best interest of our organization. I have asked how threatening the jobs of so many individuals, forcing many into retirement, and subjecting others to disciplinary action is helping the common good of the organization.
I have asked why the government does not recognize the value of natural immunity in preventing the spread of COVID when there is a large body of scholarship to support this and by many estimates as many as 120 million of our fellow citizens may have some level of natural immunity. I have asked why the government does not recognize that individuals under 30 years old have minimal risk from COVID and may reasonably choose to forgo a vaccine. I have asked why pregnant or women of child bearing age should have their concerns regarding vaccine safety dismissed. I have asked how does the science support indiscriminately vaccinating all employees and why is the government forcing a one-size-fits-all policy on all of its employees. I have asked why employees who have worked at home for the last two years (as I have, as well as all of the employees that I manage, and virtually all of the colleagues I work with today have), should be required to be vaccinated to keep our work places safe.
Two months after first raising concerns, I have not received answers to any of my questions, only promises that my concerns and questions will be forwarded to the next level. I attended a town hall meeting with all IT employees and executives where some of these same questions were raised by others; no adequate response was provided to any of these concerns, either during or after the town hall. The only response to any of these concerns is an FAQ sent to all employees, an FAQ which is sorely lacking in detail or justification.
Along with other employees, I have received glib videos of executives repeating facile statements that vaccination is best for us all without providing any solid legal, medical, or ethical justification for this policy. I want to know how these executives know that vaccinations are best for all of us. I have provided to my chain of command studies, videos, web links, and statements from numerous medical experts who raise concerns about not only the vaccine policy but the safety and efficacy of the vaccines themselves. Not one person within our organization has acknowledged any of the concerns I have raised or has attempted to explain why they are not legitimate.
I have made the point that while vaccinations may benefit some individuals, and they may even benefit a majority of individuals, they are not necessarily the best for many individuals. As a manager myself, I believe we need to recognize that many of our colleagues can be negatively impacted by this policy, especially those whom we manage. We need to look out for their best interests; the employees that I manage have always counted on me to look out for their interests on a variety of issues. Even if a vaccine is the right choice for these individuals, I believe each of them should be allowed the freedom to make their own medical choices.
5. If you do not have a religious objection to the use of all vaccines, please explain why your objection is limited to particular vaccines.
I have extensively detailed my concerns in writing to my chain of command. I have described for them why this particular policy is unjust and immoral. I have not updated my vaccination status because this has now become a matter of conscience, as I have outlined above.
The following is an excerpt from the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding conscience:
A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous about acts to be performed or already committed. This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.” In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits . . . A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time “from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith”. The more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by objective standards of moral conduct. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1790-1794)
I do not want to deliberately act against my conscience and condemn myself in so doing. I am being force-ably compelled to choose between my conscience and my job. I am being compelled to choose between support of an employer mandate which I view as unjust and misguided and support for my direct reports and fellow colleagues. If I act as my conscience directs, my job is threatened. If I wish to save my job and acquiesce to this demand, I would be in direct violation of my conscience and would have to live with the consequences of such action the rest of my life.
I have always been able to separate my concerns about the actions our government is taking in the political and public policy arena from the responsibilities I have in my job–at least until now. As an American citizen who stays abreast of contemporary issues, I have grown increasingly concerned about the policies implemented by our government. As a federal employee, I am a part of that government. However, I have not been required to participate in any of these objectionable policies, nor do I have any influence over those areas of the government which implements those policies. I raise my objections to these policies in many forums unrelated to my work as a federal employee. I have had no conflict of interest carrying out my job each day and outside my regular working hours raising concerns about government policies; the lines have never been blurred–at least until now. But now, an objectionable government policy is being implemented in which I have been asked to participate as part of my normal duties as a federal employee. For me, a line has been crossed.
I have spent 38 years in the military and civil service. I am proud of this country and I am honored to have served it for so long. I have never before been placed in such a position as I find myself today. I am appalled at the incursion of freedoms by our elected officials. I have no choice but to stand up for all that I have believed in the last 38 years, for what is right and what is good, and to do all I can to prevent our freedoms from being taken away from us now and incurred upon even more in the near future.
6. Do you refuse to use other medicines or products because of the religious belief underlying your objections? If so, please explain
Again, this question is not relevant. My objection is to indiscriminately mandating a specific medical treatment for government employees. My conscience compels me to stand with my colleagues against this unjust policy from the government.
It is reasonable for people to refuse the vaccine given their own risk factors. There are many valid reasons, and I have outlined these particular concerns in my correspondence with my management. One reason for forgoing a vaccine is because of a natural immunity developed after contracting COVID. I quote the following from my local pediatrician’s newsletter:
Unfortunately and fortunately, almost 1/3 of the US has had natural infection. Why is that not being discussed in a positive way for immunity moving forward? In a well written opinion piece in the British Medical Journal, Jennifer Block raises many important questions regarding the illogical approach that the United States has taken regarding individuals with natural immunity. It is worth your time to read the whole piece. She asks very important questions. Why aren’t we counting natural infection like a vaccine or at minimum offer one dose of mRNA vaccine 3 months post illness for full immunity comparable to no illness and two vaccines? The data clearly supports this truth. Europe and Israel are using much more logical approaches to these questions. Here some excerpts from the piece:
“As more US employers, local governments, and educational institutions issue vaccine mandates that make no exception for those who have had covid-19, questions remain about the science and ethics of treating this group of people as equally vulnerable to the virus—or as equally threatening to those vulnerable to covid-19—and to what extent politics has played a role.” “But the studies kept coming. A National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded study from La Jolla Institute for Immunology found “durable immune responses” in 95% of the 200 participants up to eight months after infection. One of the largest studies to date, published in Science in February 2021, found that although antibodies declined over 8 months, memory B cells increased over time, and the half life of memory CD8+ and CD4+ T cells suggests a steady presence””In Israel, researchers accessed a database of the entire population to compare the efficacy of vaccination with previous infection and found nearly identical numbers. “Our results question the need to vaccinate previously infected individuals,” they concluded.””President Biden left no room for those questioning the public health necessity or personal benefit of vaccinating people who have had covid-19: “We have a pandemic because of the unvaccinated … So, get vaccinated. If you haven’t, you’re not nearly as smart as I said you were.”” “A large study in the UK and another that surveyed people internationally found that people with a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection experienced greater rates of side effects after vaccination. Among 2000 people who completed an online survey after vaccination, those with a history of covid-19 were 56% more likely to experience a severe side effect that required hospital care.” (Block J. 2021)
Furthermore, our government leaders, those imposing this mandate, have not been honest with us. I recognize their perfidy and it hardens my resolve. I act not only in support of my fellow colleagues and fellow citizens, but in opposition to those who are so blatantly and openly dishonest with the American public. Let me provide you a few examples of this.
This past summer, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been our government’s key spokesperson on all things COVID said the following:
“If we had had the pushback for vaccines that we’re seeing in certain media, we probably would still have smallpox and we’d probably still have polio in this country if we had the false information that’s being spread now,” Fauci told CNN‘s Jim Acosta in an interview.
“If we had that back decades ago, I would be certain that we’d still have polio in this country.”
Let’s get some basic facts about smallpox and polio:
https://www.who.int/biologicals/vaccines/smallpox/en/Two forms of the disease are recognized, variola minor with a mortality rate of approximately 1%, and the more common variola major with a mortality rate of 30%. Between 65-80% of survivors are marked with deep pitted scars (pockmarks), most prominent on the face. In 1967, WHO launched an intensified plan to eradicate smallpox.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PolioAccordingly, the rate of paralysis and death due to polio infection also increased during this time. In the United States, the 1952 polio epidemic became the worst outbreak in the nation’s history. Of the nearly 58,000 cases reported that year, 3,145 died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis.
Dr. Fauci compares COVID with a less than 0.5% mortality rate to smallpox which has a 30% mortality rate (reference the following study from the National Institutes of Health, the organization which Dr. Fauci reports to: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8451339/. ). If COVID had the same mortality rate as smallpox, everyone would have been gotten the COVID vaccine by now. How can you possibly compare the two? COVID has never been the same threat smallpox was. In addition, almost half the people that contracted polio in 1952 died or were paralyzed. Again, how can you compare polio to COVID? They are not the same threat.
Furthermore, there are many valid reasons why some should not get the vaccine: you’ve already had COVID, you are young and not at risk, you want to wait and see, or you don’t trust government sources like Fauci and others. Here is also one other relevant fact Dr. Fauci neglected to tell us:
In April 1955 more than 200,000 children in five Western and mid-Western USA states received a polio vaccine in which the process of inactivating the live virus proved to be defective. Within days there were reports of paralysis and within a month the first mass vaccination program against polio had to be abandoned. Subsequent investigations revealed that the vaccine, manufactured by the California-based family firm of Cutter Laboratories, had caused 40,000 cases of polio, leaving 200 children with varying degrees of paralysis and killing 10.
It wasn’t until 1963, eight years later, that the polio vaccine was approved for widespread use. How much time have we had to study the COVID vaccines? Do you think Dr. Fauci didn’t know all this or maybe he just didn’t want to tell us? If he didn’t know any of this, he is incompetent at his job, but it is more likely, he is damned liar.
Have you ever heard of the drug Thalidomide? Thousands of babies were born deformed after their parents took the drug in the 1960’s before it was pulled from the market. True Story of Thalidomide in the US | US Thalidomide Survivors. I am not saying this scenario is happening today with the COVID vaccines, but I am saying that many people have reason to be a bit cautious and a bit skeptical. Maybe they want to wait and see what happens? Maybe they have determined their individual risk from COVID is not that great, certainly not greater than the potential risk from medication?
This past week, New York Governor Kathy Hochul commented on the death of General Colin Powell, saying that he was killed by an unvaccinated person.
First of all, as stated in the article, General Powell was 84 years old, had recovered twice from cancer and was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. His age and health were such that any respiratory infection, perhaps even a common cold, might have killed him.
Secondly, since this past summer, it has been demonstrated repeatedly that vaccines are not effective at preventing the transmission of COVID. General Powell could have just as easily gotten COVID from a vaccinated person as well as an unvaccinated person. The governor knows this, but used this opportunity only to vilify all unvaccinated Americans and pit people against each other, in order to further her political goal of vaccinating more New York residents. Here are some other interesting tid-bits that governor and those advising her are well aware of:
- In September, Duke University reported 365 new COVID cases. 98% of the student body is vaccinated, and all but 4 of the new cases were among the vaccinated.
- In early September, cases in Israel, one of the most vaccinated countries in the world (including 26% who were triple-vax’d), hit an all time high. Deaths were also up to 25 per day after falling to near zero for two-and-a-half months over the summer.
- 88% of Vermont adults have been vaccinated (it’s the highest rate in the nation), yet COVID cases in September were as high as they had ever been and they remain stubbornly high into October. Maine, the fourth highest vaccinated state hit record highs in September. Washington state, the ninth highest vaccinated state hit record high cases and deaths in September.
- As of late October, roughly half of the country lives in states with fully vax’d rates at 55% or above. There is almost no difference in the per capita case rates between those states at 55% and above and those states at 55% and below. Currently, the per capita COVID case rate in Mississippi, Montana, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Indiana, states with vaccination rates in the 40’s, is lower than the per capita COVID case rate in Minnesota, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Oregon, states with vaccination rates in the 60’s.
VP Harris recently said the following:
“By vaccinating the unvaccinated, increasing our testing and masking, and protecting the vaccinated, we can end this pandemic. That’s exactly what we are committed to doing,” Harris tweeted.
Unlike Governor Hokul, Vice President Harris is tacitly admitting that vaccines do not prevent the transmission of COVID. When I went to school a long time ago, I was taught the purpose of the vaccine is to protect me against a disease. After I am vaccinated, I do not need protection from the unvaccinated. In addition, the more people we vaccinate, the less chance the virus spreads to the small unvaccinated population (at least in vaccination theory). That is the point of large vaccination programs. Yet, our VP has this all jumbled up; she thinks “protecting the vaccinated” in other words, protecting the protected, is a key. It is not at all logical and again is another example of a government official misleading us in order to achieve a political goal. When it was politically expedient, candidate Harris and candidate Biden freely shared their concerns about vaccine safety and efficacy.
Our government and many of our government officials are deliberately lying to me and to other fellow citizens. Yet again, my conscience demands I not support a policy which is based on deception of the American citizens.
[The following memes were not included in my request, but are typical of those who are guided by politics rather than principle]
7. Please provide any additional information that you think may be helpful in reviewing your request.
As Americans we have always had rights afforded us that are not available to others around the world. These rights will not stand if we allow them to be trampled upon. This new policy is antithetical to the freedoms which have been protected by the U.S. Constitution for more than 200 years. I will not submit to this mandate and I will not encourage others to submit to the mandate either. This mandate is totally outside the scope of the job we have been employed to do. I make this stand to defend the rights we have been promised as Americans and to push back against the intimidation of fellow colleagues, especially those who report to me and rely on me to speak for them.
Perhaps you are not as concerned about this mandate as I am. Perhaps you are like many others who openly advocate for compelling the unvaccinated to “do the right thing”. But we should all be concerned by this attack on a minority of individuals. Nobody else should decide which medical treatment is best for you or for me or another colleague, not our government leaders, not our public health experts, not our employers, and certainly not us as their supervisors. That is a decision that should remain with each individual in conjunction with those whom they wish to consult (their doctors, their families, their friends, their clergy, etc.). Such personal choices should not be decided by our government in such an impersonal and heavy handed manner.
We’ve all had to make weighty decisions about medical treatment in our own lives at one point or another. Should I or anyone else be able to compel you to do the “right thing” in those instances? Should I advocate for others (i.e. public health experts or government officials) to compel you to accept a certain form of treatment that we think is the right for you? Would I be justified if I could just simply demonstrate a benefit to others (reduction of societal costs, creation of a safer environment, etc)? Should that decision be taken out of your hands? What if it turns out to be the wrong decision? Who bears the cost and who suffers the consequences? The one who made the decision should also bear the cost, but that is not the case in this instance.
China, for years, has limited the number of children a family may have; this policy is justified by the government who declares it is for the “public good”, yet to ensure this “public good” the Chinese government has also forced sterilizations and forced abortions on their citizens. Surely, none of us would agree these measures are morally acceptable? Forcing others to take a vaccine against their will is not as severe a measure as forced sterilizations or abortions, but if this policy can be successfully implemented who knows what comes next for our country?
Furthermore, the benefits of this mandate are very subjective. The science of all this is not settled, yet the government is pretending all is settled and that they know best for us. If the risk from COVID were greater than it is actually is and if the evidence showed that vaccines, and vaccines alone, were our way out of this mess, I would be more willing to provide support for this policy. In other words, if the science actually supported the policies being advanced, I could feel more comfortable about the merits of this mandate. But there are a lot of questions still about the science and there are a lot of differing opinions about the right policy.
There is also much demagoguery, misrepresentation of data and facts, dissembling, and outright deception regarding COVID being put forward, much by our own government. Policy which is advanced by today’s leaders is not necessarily for the good of the public, but instead seeks the maximization of government power, and control over our lives. I am ashamed of so much disgraceful behavior emanating from our government. What is termed a crisis is not necessarily a crisis, but is deemed so to keep people’s emotions at a high pitch. We should be rightly skeptical of individuals and government officials who use such tactics to gain a desired outcome.
Furthermore, the right choice for each of us as individuals differs widely. We need to recognize that many of our colleagues can be negatively impacted by this policy. Even if a vaccine is the right choice for individuals, they should be allowed the freedom to make their own choices. Perhaps you are one who has been vaccinated and you are willing to share your status with our employer. It costs you little, and thank God, you’re not the poor slob who sits next to you who will be impacted by this new policy, but those folks in the next office who are uncomfortable with all this are the very people we need to stand up for.
My conscience compels me to stand up for those who are afraid for their jobs and for their health and against a government policy which is playing upon fear to manipulate the actions of individuals in its service. This policy is unjust and it must be resisted. My conscience, which is the voice of God speaking to me, compels me to speak out and to refuse to lend my support. To deny my conscience and to remain silent would be to commit a grave sin of omission.
I appeal also to the conscience of those of you considering my request, just as I appealed to those in my chain of command. Please stop and think: what else will the government force upon us in the future? What will you do when the next one-size-fits-all policy is crammed down on us and you have a personal objection to it? The precedent will have already been set with COVID and the time for meaningful resistance may have passed us by. Maybe you agree with the policy this time, but the next time you may not.
If more of us take a stand, we can make a difference. If we are afraid to take a stand and give in this time, then many will be hurt by this policy and many will lose their jobs. We will be diminishing our capacity to respond in the future, and for limited benefits. How is this protecting the common good? Please take a stand with me and support folks like me and others who want to push back against an unjust and immoral policy being promulgated by our employer.
My fate, along with the thousands of others who are seeking exemptions is up to someone in the “Reasonable Accommodation” office. They have to decide whether my claim is legitimate, basically whether or not I am sincere They also have to decide whether someone who had blood clots after receiving the first dose of the vaccine should be exempted from a second dose. Who are they to decide? Do they really know what I am thinking or what is in my heart? Will they even bother to read all that I’ve written before finding some reason to dismiss my request? Who are they to decide whether someone’s medical condition is serious enough to warrant an exemption? They are government bureaucrats, not doctors, not psychiatrists, for the most part, not experts at anything really.
They may doubt my sincerity and believe I am just gaming the system for my own benefit, or they may decide the good of the collective is more important than the good for the individual. I have no idea what they will do, but I don’t know how my claim for religious exemption can be fairly considered without someone trying to discern my motivations. Am I sincere or not? Motivations for those entering religious exemptions probably run the whole gamut: some probably are self-serving and insincere, but many others are, in fact, sincere. Leaving judgment of what is sincere and what is not up to someone in the Reasonable Accommodation office or the legal system is scary.
We should judge each other’s actions, not each other’s intentions or motivations. When we drift off into judging anything other than each other’s actions, we often get in trouble. We can judge others motivations when they tell us what they are or when their professed motivation is contradicted through their own action, but it is best to steer clear of judging motivations. Judging our hearts is God’s territory, not ours.
I think this whole system they’ve designed, from demanding we all be vaccinated to judging our medical and religious accommodations is a mess and unless they abandon it outright, it is not likely to yield good results.