Unvaccinated Marine Officer Who Was Denied Religious Exemption Speaks Out.


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United States Marines queue to receive the Moderna coronavirus vaccine at Camp Hansen on April 28, 2021 in Kin, Japan. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

The denial of religious exemptions for the Defense Department’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which went into effect in August, is a direct assault on the rights of service members everywhere, according to an unvaccinated Marine Corps officer, and may be part of a larger effort to purge the military of conservative-leaning Christians.

Major Lewis Paul (fake name) spoke with the Epoch Times about his nearly 20 years in the Marine Corps. Paul spoke to the journal under the condition of anonymity because he was afraid of retaliation. He described the procedure for requesting religious accommodations, stating that each request is sent through the chain of command, with the final decision made at Headquarters Marine Corps. He explained that the decision is based on a proposal by the three-member Religious Accommodation Review Board, which then sends requests to Lt. Gen. David Ottignon, the Deputy Commandant of Manpower and Reserve Affairs, for approval and signature.

While a response is intended to be provided within 30 days, Paul claims he didn’t receive his from headquarters until nearly 100 days later. Denials can be directly appealed to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, which is where Paul is now. If his appeal is denied, he will be given 30 days to take the vaccine or face being discharged from the Marine Corps.

Paul’s plea for religious accommodation was met with a negative response from his superiors, who effectively checked a box stating, “do not recommend,” he claimed. Given the sensitivity that usually surrounds religious accommodation requests, he believes the appropriate endorsement should have been a neutral one that simply enabled his request to be reviewed on its own merits. Paul further mentioned that after facing what he described as a chaplain’s questioning, he had to justify his accommodation in front of each Commander, who told him that there was no way a request would be allowed.

“The chain of command has no business making a decision on what is or what is not a sincere religious belief, but they chose to add their own negative endorsement—and I would submit this is nothing more than a rush to show how loyal they are to the current administration, rather than advocate for their Marines,” Paul said. He stated that he felt “betrayed” during the process.

Mike Berry, whose legal work at First Liberty Institute helped secure a preliminary injunction in early January that prevented the Department of Defense from taking any action against a group of Navy SEALs who have religious objections to the vaccine mandate, told The Epoch Times that “betrayal is a universal feeling” felt by many in similar situations across all branches of the military.

“Service members feel like military and civilian leadership has let them down after many years in some cases, decades of honorable and faithful service,” Berry added. “Many are feeling ignored or even spat upon.”

“All in the name of political agenda and political expediency, people of faith who are serving in uniform are being told that the only people that matter are those who chose to get the vaccine or those who don’t hold to sincerely held religious beliefs that would prevent them from getting the vaccine,” he said.

“each case is only being looked at as a formality to appease the law, as the Marine Corps currently has no intention of granting any religious accommodation to not take the shot.” Paul added, despite public assertions that each religious accommodation would be assessed on its own merits.

He pointed out that his denial letter was a carbon copy of the statement that every Marine receives when they are denied religious accommodation. “decision must be consistent with mission accomplishment, including consideration of potential medical risks to other persons comprising the unit or organizations, and immunizations are a critical component of individual and unit readiness.”

It also noted there was “no less-restrictive way of accommodating” the request in a way that “ensures military readiness and the preservation of the health of the force.”

When Paul sought additional documentation about the decision, he was only given additional that appeared to be template documents that only left space for the decision-maker’s initials, with no space for comments.

Paul finds it highly unlikely that the Marine Corps reviewed his case on its individual merits, as required by law in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

These service members have signed their lives away to preserve the very God given rights that are being violated across all our military, and medical personnel facilities in America. People are being displaced; Hard working Americans, and there is a radicalized group that does not have any sympathy for men and women of faith. Because they live for the world.

The internet has proved to be a place in which you can tune into various frequencies in search of a perspective that best fits your narrative. I could make up an argument on the fly and back it up with facts pertaining to my argument. With that being said, the news about COVID-19 is terrifyingly polarizing. There is a spectrum, by which all narratives of the COVID-19 agenda are carefully presented to anyone conducting research. The opposing sides of the spectrum are those who are sold on the COVID-19 pandemic, and those who aren’t sold at all.

But it becomes extremely important that we listen to our gut, when we notice that someone is eyeballing something that rightfully belongs to you. Our civil liberties are merely gods gift to man interpreted by men of power. No man, woman, government, organization, forum, or anything will prosper as a weapon against God. With that being said, when our God given rights are at stake, it is probably best to question the integrity of those who propose the removal of such rights. In summary, if you’re not a “conspiracy theorist” you probably aren’t asking very many questions about the world around you.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Hosea 4:6

It looks like a communist administration because it is one; Why is society paralyzed? Find your courage in the word, Matthew 5:44 says: “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Satan is building his own army just like God. In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus tells his apostles they have been given power over unclean spirits, and sends them out to spread the word. We hold power over unclean spirits and our prayer can move mountains. Stay inquisitive in the word of God, and the world around you.


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