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Navy Defies Court Order for SEALs Seeking Religious Exemption

'The Navy provides a religious accommodation process, but by all accounts, it is theater... '

(Tony Sifert, Headline USA) The Navy has defied a federal court order barring the Department of Defense from punishing special forces soldiers who requested a religious exemption from the DOD’s vaccine mandate, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

In a press release, the First Liberty Institute, which represents the soldiers, accused the Navy of assigning their clients to “menial tasks” and denying them “training and deployment opportunities.”

First Liberty, which bills itself as “the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious liberty,” asked the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas “set a hearing and order the Navy and Department of Defense to show cause as to why they should not be held in contempt of the court.”

“Despite the Court’s clear order prohibiting this kind of vindictive abuse, the Navy continues to punish and harass these warriors,” said Mike Berry, General Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “This religious discrimination must stop.”

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On Jan. 3, Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee, “issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Navy and Defense Department from enforcing the mandate,” according to NBC News.

“The Navy provides a religious accommodation process, but by all accounts, it is theater,” Judge O’Connor said in his order. “The Navy has not granted a religious exemption to any vaccine in recent memory.”

“There is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment,” O’Connor continued. “There is no military exclusion from our Constitution.”

First Liberty’s suit names President Joe Biden, the Department of Defense, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro.

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Secretary Austin issued a memorandum in August 2021 directing the Secretaries of the Military Departments to ensure that all military personnel were vaccinated according to “ambitious timelines.”

In related news, the US Army announced Wednesday its plans to discharge “soldiers who have refused the lawful order to be vaccinated against COVID-19.”

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