By Graham McDowell
Christian Action League
July 30, 2021
Get the Covid vaccination or get fired — that’s the decision facing a growing number of North Carolina healthcare workers unless they can prove they qualify for a medical or religious exemption to new shot mandates issued by several hospital systems and the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.
N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), who has been vaccinated, said Tuesday in a news release that residents should be able to make their own decisions without fear of repercussions.
“At the end of the day, the decision whether or not to vaccinate is a personal one,” he said. “North Carolinians will not be bullied into being vaccinated against their will.”
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, has heard from workers who feel they are being forced to choose between their jobs and their beliefs. And Mat Staver with the national nonprofit Liberty Counsel says his organization has been inundated with requests for legal assistance from VA employees, doctors, nurses, chaplains, college students and others facing vaccination mandates.
One North Carolina resident who reached out to the Rev. Creech for biblical advice said that he and his wife have strong religious objections to the vaccine “due to the use of decades-old aborted fetus cells in its creation.” He said his wife, a registered nurse for four decades, was hoping to work until age 65, but now may be forced to leave her job with Novant months before her 62nd birthday, based on the company’s vaccination deadline.
In addition to Novant, hospital systems compelling staff to take the vaccine include Atrium Health, Cone Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Duke University Health network and several UNC Health hospitals. The DHHS mandate was issued by the Division of State Operated Health Facilities and applies to “facility employees, volunteers, students and trainees” in addition to “contracted and temporary workers” at 14 state-run health care sites.
The health organizations cite growing concerns about the Delta variant and the fact that the vast majority of new cases in the state are among the unvaccinated as reasons for their making the shots mandatory. Recent data shows 54% of Tar Heel residents eligible for a shot are fully vaccinated, slightly less than the national average of 57%.
The state and the hospitals tout all three vaccines — Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson —- as safe and effective. But Liberty Counsel points out that all were released under Emergency Use Authorization and none have received full Food and Drug Administration approval. And although not widespread, some concerning side effects of the vaccines have been reported. The Johnson and Johnson shot uses adenoviral vectors, which have been associated with a rare but serious blood-clotting disorder. And last month, the CDC acknowledged that more than 300 cases of heart inflammation have been documented after the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
“None of the COVID vaccines are FDA licensed,” the Counsel noted in a May memo. “This means that there is not enough data (which includes duration of testing) for the FDA to render a final approval. More importantly, no one, including private employers, may coerce individuals (by threatening their employment or otherwise) to take an EUA vaccine. Federal law requires full and informed, voluntary consent.”
That memo also cites Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires employers to accommodate employee vaccine religious exemption requests, where a reasonable accommodation exists without undue hardship to the employer.
“By pattern and practice, virtually every employer in America has shown that reasonable accommodations and alternatives to vaccination indeed exist for employees, and these have been required all along since the inception of COVID: self-screening with temperature checks, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), and complying with other safety protocols until the number of COVID infections work their way down to acceptable levels,” the Liberty Counsel contends. “Logically, if these measures are and were effective at preventing the spread of COVID, they will continue to be effective. Thus, no employer can claim an undue hardship by allowing employees to do what they have been doing for over a year, in the alternative to a vaccine.”
To help those with sincerely held religious beliefs against taking any vaccines, or taking those derived from aborted fetal cell lines or those sold by companies that profit from the sale of vaccines and other products derived from abortion, the Liberty Counsel has provided examples of exemption request letters. The organization says faith-based requests, as opposed to those based on health, vaccine ingredients or other issues, are the strongest.
Liberty Counsel leaders and the Rev. Creech urge employees facing a vaccination mandate to spend time in prayer seeking the Lord’s will and then act accordingly. If an exemption is needed, the employee may use the Liberty Counsel example as a guide only. The letter should be a personal expression of faith and should give a clear explanation of the basis for the objection and the requested reasonable accommodation.
According to the Liberty Counsel memo, “The existence of COVID-19 does not justify the numerous violations of fundamental individual, economic and religious liberties. These include the rights of personal autonomy and bodily integrity, and the right to accept or reject the various COVID vaccines based on religious belief or other grounds.”
TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT YOURSELF OR OTHERS FROM FORCED VACCINATIONS:
If you, a family member, a Christian friend, or some other person you know is facing termination of employment, or another hardship, because they are being forced by their employer to take the COVID vaccine, access the two documents below from Liberty Counsel. Read them carefully. They provide critical information to help with the crisis.