Governor Inslee’s new Covid vaccine mandate provides an exception for those with a religious exemption. In fact, current state and federal laws also provide religious exemptions if they would not cause undue hardship on the employer. But what does a religious accommodation request letter look like? There are likely many ways to write such a letter. Below is a DRAFT of one possible letter from a Christian perspective.
What does a religious accommodation request letter look like?
To Whom It May Concern,
I am a Christian seeking religious exemption from the “Covid-19 Vaccination Requirement” imposed by either Proclamation 21-14 or by you, my employer.
I request this exemption and accommodation under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), and Section 2 of Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 21-14, based upon my sincerely held religious beliefs.
Proclamation 21-14 specifically provides that even “Health Care Providers and Workers for State Agencies are not required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if they are entitled under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), or any other applicable law to a disability-related reasonable accommodation or a sincerely held religious belief accommodation to the requirements of this order…”. Proc. 21-14(2) (emphasis added).
My sincerely held religious beliefs requiring the accommodation include the following Biblical commands and principled Christian teachings:
· There is a moral duty to refuse the use of medical products, including certain vaccines, that are created using human cell lines derived from abortion during any stage of the vaccine’s development, including the testing phase of development of a medical product.
· The body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit and we, as Christians, are compelled to protect it from defilement.
· Finally, when it comes to consuming things into our body as opposed to, say, making payments to the government, compliance with God’s law above all is required.
Primarily, my beliefs regarding the sanctity of human life conflict directly with any requirement to inject abortion-tainted vaccinations into my body. All available Covid vaccines utilize abortion-derived cell lines in either the confirmation and testing stage of development or in the production process.
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines “used the fetal cell line HEK 293 in the confirmation phase,” while the Johnson & Johnson vaccines utilizes the “PER.C6 fetal cell line cells” “to manufacture the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.” See https://www.nebraskamed.com/COVID/you-asked-we-answered-do-the-covid-19-vaccines-contain-aborted-fetal-cells(last visited August 10, 2021) (“Pfizer and Moderna did perform confirmation tests… using fetal cell lines. And Johnson & Johnson uses fetal cell lines in vaccine development, confirmation and production.” “All PER.C6 cells used to manufacture the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are descended from tissue taken from a … elective abortion”.); https://lozierinstitute.org/update-covid-19-vaccine-candidates-and-abortion-derived-cell-lines/ (last visited August 10, 2021).
The use of abortion tainted vaccines conflicts with longstanding and well recognized anti-abortion religious teaching. As one Christian scholar has stated, “when we use vaccines or medicines which utilize cell lines originating from aborted babies, we physically benefit from the ‘fruits’ of one of the greatest evils of mankind — the cruel genocide of the unborn. . . . As Christians, it is our duty to bear witness to the world by not accepting these vaccines and medicines.” Likewise, citing Tobit 2:21 as binding Biblical authority, Father Michael Copenhagen has stated, “the recipient [of an abortion-tainted vaccine] is an immediate participant in the commission of continuous theft of human remains obtained through deliberate killing, their desecration through exploitation and trafficking, as well as ultimate omission to respectfully bury them.”
The Bible also informs us: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” 1 Corinthians 6:19. It further instructs, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
Because the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, we are compelled by Scripture to follow God’s law when choosing what to put into it. Jesus taught specifically: “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Mark 12:17 NIV (emphasis added)
As a Christian protecting my body from defilement according to God’s law, I invoke my religious right to refuse any vaccine which utilized abortion-derived cell lines at any stage of the creation of the vaccine. Further, insofar as the vaccines also contain neurotoxins, hazardous substances, attenuated viruses, animal parts, foreign DNA, albumin from human blood, carcinogens and chemical wastes that are proven harmful to the human body, I find injection of the same to be in direct conflict with my Christian duty to protect my body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. See http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/b/excipient-table-2.pdf (last visited August 10, 2021).
Finally, whereas none of the currently available Covid vaccines produces a “sterilizing immunity,” meaning that vaccinated individuals can (and do) still spread Covid, failure to accommodate my request for exemption and accommodation serves no legitimate purpose. Rather, such failure to accommodate would clearly be designed solely to deter the exercise of my religious convictions. Since Covid vaccines only recently became available, and employers had nearly a full year to learn to operate under the threat of Covid without the use of vaccines, employers are already well equipped to offer reasonable accommodations without undue hardship.
I respectfully request an exemption from the Covid-19 Vaccination Requirement as it violates my sincerely held religious beliefs, practice, and observance.
[name of employee]
Angus and Jennifer Lee: Civil rights and criminal defense lawyers.
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