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Thursday, February 2, 2023
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U.S. Naval Academy Accused of Holding Diplomas Hostage for Vax Jabs

'They can do it the easy way, or we're going to do it the hard way... '

(Mark Pellin, Headline USA) Already facing heavy backlash, criticism and lawsuits for ignoring religious exemptions and mandating members of the military receive the full regimen of COVID vaccinations, the U.S. Naval Academy has reportedly denied graduates their diplomas if they haven’t been jabbed.

Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., an Army veteran, ripped the academy’s actions as “absolutely atrocious,” after being informed by one of his constituents that she needed to receive the vaccine in order to graduate.

“Think about spending four years of your life in college and then not even being able to get a degree for the work that you’ve done,” Steube told Fox & Friends on Thursday.

“This is a young woman who wants to serve her country and all because she doesn’t want to take the COVID vaccine based on religious exemptions that are being refused by this administration and the DOD.”  

The orders that are preventing that likely come straight from the top, and do a disservice to both military members and also the public they protect and serve, Steube said.

“It’s got to be Secretary Austin,” he said of the Defense Department chief. “It’s got to be Biden forcing these vaccine mandates on our military service members and then denying their ability under religious exemptions not to take it.”

While admitting that the Naval Academy has denied all religious accommodation requests to the COVID-19 vaccine from midshipmen, officials claimed reports of unvaxxed students having their diplomas withheld are not accurate.

Steube and other lawmakers are demanding clarification and changes to the vaccine mandates.

“Our nation was founded on the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which encompasses protecting the individual’s religious rights,” a coalition of Republican House members wrote in a letter to Academy Superintendent Vice Admiral Sean S. Buck. “That includes those who wear the uniform and volunteer to serve our nation.

“During a time when our military is facing serious recruitment and retention issues, the Department of Defense should not be discharging these highly trained, willing individuals,” the lawmakers wrote, and said they hoped the Academy “reconsiders this mandate and allows for reasonable accommodations to be provided.”

The Naval Academy controversy comes after the U.S. Coast Guard Academy earlier this year disenrolled seven cadets and ordered them off campus for not complying with the military’s vaccination mandate, after their requests for religious exemptions were denied.

Punishing military personnel for exercising religious liberty is not only morally wrong and unconstitutional, but dangerous to national security, argued Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla.

“The Pentagon is on the verge of discharging nearly 20,000, particularly in the Reserves and the National Guard, at a time when we’re seeing a massive military buildup from China,” Waltz told Fox News.

“Enough is enough. Republicans have told the Pentagon and this administration they can come to a commonsense solution on this, or we’re going to legislate it. They can do it the easy way, or we’re going to do it the hard way.”

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