Lawmakers side with Navy SEALS over COVID mandate discharge | national

(The Center Square) – Dozens of lawmakers have announced their support for a group of Navy SEALs who have sued the Biden administration for a vaccination mandate that requires them to leave the military.

Forty-seven members of both houses of Congress tabled a brief friend in favor of the SEALS, who argue that their requests for religious exemptions from the mandate have been unfairly rejected.

“No right is more precious than the right to religious freedom,” lawmakers said. “That’s why the very first clause of the very first amendment explicitly states that ‘Congress shall make no law. “. . prohibiting the free exercise of religion. This amendment, case law and Congressional decision to pass the Restoration of Religious Freedom Act (‘RFRA’) all testify to the fact that, without entrenched, generally enforceable and legally enforceable protections for religious freedom, lawmakers and government bureaucrats are likely to override sincere religious beliefs in favor of what they perceive to be the greater good.

With the support of President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced in August that all U.S. servicemen should be vaccinated against COVID.

“… this appears to be an attempt at an ideological purge,” said Mike Berry, general counsel for the First Liberty Institute, the legal group representing the plaintiffs. “After all these elite warriors have done to defend our freedoms, the Navy is now threatening their careers, their families and their finances.”

The warrant came after the United States Food and Drug Administration gave full approval for the Pfizer vaccine.

This tenure, however, leaves many US troops to choose between the vaccine and their careers in the military. Hundreds of Navy SEALs have would have They were told this year that they would not be deployed if they did not receive the vaccine. In addition to that, they will no longer be able to serve as Navy SEALs.

The SEALs argue that the vaccine’s mandate violates their constitutional rights.

“Americans live in freedom because warriors like the Navy SEALs fight on our behalf,” said Kelly Shackelford, President, CEO and Chief Counsel of the First Liberty Institute. “Now it’s our turn to fight for them. We are grateful to every member of Congress who has joined the fight to defend our clients against military actions that violate federal law and their constitutional rights. “

The US Air Force recently announced that it had fired 27 servicemen for refusing the vaccine. Since there are so few Navy SEALS, the impact of tens or hundreds of rejections could be significant.

“We usually have around 2,500 Navy SEALs,” said Robert O’Neill, a former Navy SEAL who claims to have killed Osama Bin Laden in Operation Neptune Spear earlier this year. “It takes time to reach certain levels. Hundreds of people leave because of nonsense.

U.S. Representative Thomas Massie, R-Ky., Warned of an army exodus over the summer. He said in July that several servicemen had informed him that resignations would come if the vaccine was compulsory.

“According to GAO and congressional testimony, there were similar results (departures) when the military mandated the anthrax vaccine,” said Massie, who also introduced legislation that “would ban any requirement that member of the armed forces receives vaccine against COVID -19.

Several Republican lawmakers lobbied to prevent the dishonorable dismissal of U.S. military personnel during their tenure. A dishonorable discharge deprives a person of the right to own a gun, to use the GI Bill for education, and also prevents them from receiving federal health and housing benefits that are normally available to veterans.

The issue became a point of debate in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual defense spending bill that was passed this month. In this bill, lawmakers agreed to prohibit the dishonorable dismissal of military personnel who refuse the warrant, but military personnel can still be dismissed.

“Additionally, this year’s NDAA includes a provision I fought for that removes the ability for the military to dishonorably fire military personnel who choose not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” the Senator said. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in a statement. . “As President Biden’s illegal vaccine mandates are continually challenged, this reform prevents our brave servicemen from being punished like convicted felons for simply making what they believe is the best medical decision for themselves. “

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