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Religious Exemptions from Vaccine Mandates Are a Fraud

Earlier this week, we learned the extraordinary story of United States Coast Guardsman Zach Loesch. Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Loesch is a genuine hero for his incredible rescue efforts in the immediate hours following Hurricane Ian’s destruction in South Florida. 

“Lowered down from a helicopter, Loesch eventually kicked through a wall to find the husband and wife. The woman was disabled and uses a specialized wheelchair. The Coastie not only rescued the couple but went back down for the chair, attaching it to his body as his crew reeled him back up,” Military Families magazine reported on Loesch’s heroic efforts. 

Loesch is the absolute best example of the heroism and understated dignity that so many members of the American military exemplify.

For his efforts, Loesch received a personal, congratulatory phone call from the Commander-in-Chief, Joe Biden. Biden bragged about his phone call in remarks to the media this weekend

“I also spoke to Aviation Survival — Second Class — Technician Second Class Zach Loesch, who described how difficult the decision is for people to leave everything and come to safety.

I told him how proud of him I was and thanked him for all the work he and his Coasties are doing to save lives.”

While he was on the phone and expressed his gratitude and pride, Biden could have also instructed Loesch to clean out his locker and turn in his uniform because Biden has instituted policies in our military where there’s no room for the likes of Loesch.

Loesch, you see, is unfit to serve in Biden’s Coast Guard because he refused to take the Covid-19 vaccine. Despite the fact that Loesch and the other nearly 3,000 Coasties like him are in peak physical condition and face virtually no danger should they be infected with the virus, not to mention the fact that we now know the vaccine does not actually prevent infection in the first place, Biden has determined that Loesch must go. 

As infuriating as this indefensible policy is, it isn’t even the most un-American and unconstitutional aspect of the arbitrary and discriminatory policy. 

More maddening than the unjust dismissal of Loesch over the vaccine mandate policy is the fact that Loesch applied for a “religious exemption” as his reason for not getting vaccinated, and the military denied his request. 

Let’s be perfectly clear about what the military is communicating to a man like Loesch and all the thousands of other Coasties, Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Guardians who are facing discharge by being denied their religious exception. The military is telling these fine young men and women that they do not respect, believe or acknowledge the validity of their religious faith. 

And that’s a little bit terrifying. 

Loesch fills out a form and tells his chain of command that his personal religious convictions preclude him from getting the vaccine, and his commanding officers say, “Denied. Your religious conviction is not real. It’s not valid. Get bent.”

Does that sound like America to you?

Rep. Michael Waltz was on my new primetime TV show, “O’Connor Tonight,” on Salem News Channel this week. I asked him about this case, and he held nothing back:

“This religious exemption process is a sham,” he said. “I’ve talked to general officers, off the record, people through the system. It is a rubber stamp process. Not a single one gets approved.” 

What’s the point of having a religious exception request process if all requests get denied? 

Members of the federal government are quick to point to a statement by the Vatican on the permissibility of the vaccine for Catholics despite the fact that aborted fetal cells were used in its testing process. 

It should be noted that the very same document from the Vatican that permits the use of the vaccine also emphasizes that it should never be mandatory. “At the same time, practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary,” the statement reads, but it appears those in authority missed that little nugget.

Let’s also note that it would be terrific if the Biden Administration and the Pentagon also followed the Vatican’s guidance on abortion and transgender medical procedures, but apparently, the Vatican’s rulings only matter when they can be distorted to force a vaccine on people. 

But the Vatican pronouncement is completely misused in this case. 

The Catholic Church emphasizes that in certain issues of morality that are not strictly and dogmatically defined, each Christian must follow their own moral conscience. In other words, even though the Vatican says the vaccine is permissible, it is still up to each individual to determine whether they, in good conscience, can reconcile the use of aborted babies in any part of the process of the manufacture of the vaccines. 

The Vatican’s statement says as much: 

 Those who, however, for reasons of conscience, refuse vaccines produced with cell lines from aborted fetuses, must do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent. In particular, they must avoid any risk to the health of those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons, and who are the most vulnerable.

In other words… if you take the vaccine, you’re not sinning, but you are free to choose on your own, and if it is morally reprehensible to you as a believing Catholic, there is nothing inconsistent with your decision and the Catholic Church. 

But, apparently, the Pentagon knows better what makes a person a good, practicing Catholic or not. 

And that’s the problem. When the government tells individuals who they are to properly practice their religious beliefs, the First Amendment is rendered meaningless.

And as men like Zach Loesch are sent packing, one must wonder how many people will die in the next hurricane because he won’t be there to save them. That’s what happens when the government gets into the business of religion. 

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