U.S. Senator Hawley (R-Mo.) sent a letter to co-chairs of the Safer Federal Workforce Taskforce – the Office of Personnel Management Director, Kiran Ahuja; General Services Administrator, Robin Carnahan; and Covid-19 Response Coordinator, Jeff Zients – demanding answers on President Biden’s vaccine mandate, which fails to provide adequate safeguards for the sincerely held religious beliefs of federal employees and displays clear contempt for religious liberty.
President Biden’s vaccine mandate guidance acknowledges that federal law requires individuals with sincerely held religious beliefs to be exempt from vaccine mandates. But the guidance also allows agencies to fire employees despite valid exemptions if “the nature of the employee’s job may be such that an agency determines that no safety protocol other than vaccination is adequate.”
“This contempt for religious liberty is confirmed by new forms you have circulated ‘for employees who are seeking an exception […] based on religion,” writes Senator Hawley. “This template goes on to require that applicants list ‘How long have you held the religious belief underlying your objection,’ as well as a complete history of vaccines received and the specific objections to each of these. The complete list of seven questions evinces skepticism and indeed hostility to applicants who harbor sincerely held religious objections to the COVID-19 vaccine. I fear this will chill applications by civil servants to apply for religious exemptions.”
He continues, “Further, the guidance appears to mandate vaccines for ‘people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to become pregnant now, or trying to become pregnant in the future—what we used to call expecting mothers. The inclusion of woke language like this undermines the credibility of this guidance and suggests that it is part of an effort to the target religious, conservative, and other civil service employees who do not subscribe to the far-left agenda.”
Senator Hawley has called for the guidance to be rescinded immediately and replaced with clear accommodations for all civil service employees who hold sincerely held religious beliefs. New guidance should make clear that “no federal employee will lose his job because of his sincerely held religious convictions.”
Read the full letter at this link.