Friday, October 01, 2021

Masking Liberty With a "Poke"

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Two weeks ago, the Seattle Times said, "At least 8% of Washington state government workers subject to Gov. Jay Inslee's COVID-19 vaccine mandate have so far requested medical or religious exemptions, highlighting the breadth of resistance to the order."

CBS reported, "Sweeping new vaccine mandates could force millions of vaccine holdouts to become inoculated...although individuals of faith may be exempt from getting jabbed."

Or "poked" as they say in England.

Washington State was included in the national story, including Inslee's mandate that "workers must be vaccinated by October 18 or lose their job...unless they receive accommodation."

Is this pandemic being used as a tool to advance a leftist agenda? Or are the so-called "progressives" simply not up to the job? 

In either case, they're using the pandemic to advance an agenda and the "poke" for leverage.

Be informed, not misled.

The State is trying to arbitrate individual faith.

A couple of weeks ago, the Seattle Times was reporting, "As of Tuesday afternoon, at least 4,700 exemptions have been filed by workers at 24 state agencies in the governor's executive Cabinet."

The Times continued, "But resistance to the order has sparked demonstrations in Olympia and a lawsuit by dozens of Washington State Patrol troopers and others who contend that the mandate violates their constitutional rights and exceeds Inslee's authority."

The Inslee administration explained, at the time, that exemption requests would be reviewed by each state agency. And the religious exemption would begin with a series of questions, and "might later include specific follow-up questions by human resources to determine whether the request is sincere."

So the state would be interviewing you to determine if your personal faith is authentic.

CBS News was asking: "What constitutes a 'sincerely held' religious exemption to a vaccine?"

Interestingly, the EEOC's view of a sincerely held religious belief is employers aren't supposed to challenge that sincerity of belief.

They make a feeble attempt to answer their own question but fail to do so, and end by quoting a labor attorney who says: "Simply saying 'I believe in God, I can't get vaccinated', won't fly either. There has got to be some kind of explanation that's better than that."

What other explanation could a person make regarding their personal faith than their personal testimony of faith? And their belief in God,

There have been suggestions that the state may need to look into the lifestyle history of those requesting a religious exemption, i.e., have they ever received a poke (vaccination) in the past? Why are they averse to getting one now, etc.

I've actually had similar conversations with communists at border crossings when they misunderstood my "ministerial credentials" to be some kind of government official, rather than a preacher. They weren't terribly accepting of either, as I recall.

Mandates have consequences.

At first, the governor's mandate was mostly for state employees and healthcare workers. He later added educators.

Within days of Inslee's moral mandate, KING 5 TV and other news organizations were reporting that "Dozens of Washington State workers have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Inslee." The first case was filed in Walla Walla County.

The governor's office responded: "These requirements are legal, and we look forward to responding in court, where to date no challenge to the governor's use of his emergency powers has been successful... It is not unreasonable to ask public servants to protect the public from being infected with Covid."

But that isn't the question. It would also not be unreasonable to ask public servants to go to work every day to earn their paycheck, but neither is that the question.

The question is, if you decline the shot, are you sincere in your religious faith? And how can a secular government evaluate one's personal faith and deeply held beliefs?

Central Washington University reverses course.

Jason Rantz writes, "It took several complaints, the threat of lost revenue, and a media inquiry to get Central Washington University (CWU) to reverse course. Students forced into COVID vaccination, in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs, could now forgo the jabs."

CWU is in Ellensburg--about the middle of Washington State. And draws its roughly 11,000 students from throughout the state and beyond.

When the mandate rippled across the Cascades, many had already started their on-campus jobs. And tuition had already been paid.

Students and parents were outraged.

The students and their parents were informed on Friday evening, Sept. 24 ---last Friday---that CWU had rejected their religious exemptions against the vaccine mandate.

Emily McDougall told Rantz, "I sent in my exemption form, and they said it was compliant until Friday, right after I had already paid for my classes." Then..."They said that it was denied. And so I  basically have two figure out what I'm going to do."

She is only 15 credits away from her diploma, but she was ready to pull out of CWU.

Secular progressives don't understand deeply held spiritual beliefs, because they live in an ever-changing ---evolving---world of relativistic views. Nothing is absolute. Or fixed. It's always evolving.

Emily wasn't the only one. By Monday of this week, there was a righteous roar. And the students were being heard. You can read more details on the link above, but by late Monday afternoon, the university reversed its course and offered the students their religious exemptions.

This attack on religious liberty is not going as well for others. At least not yet.

The true cost of masking religious liberty.

Leah Peterson represents thousands of healthcare workers who have deeply held religious beliefs, and in this case, those beliefs led her to choose not to "poke" her body with the COVID vaccination.

Leah lives in Oregon and works for Legacy Health. Her husband is also in healthcare with a different employer--Samaritan Health system.

Both submitted identical letters citing their religious beliefs for why they didn't want the vaccine---and requested a religious exemption.

His healthcare employer approved the exemption within a week, while Legacy Health denied her request 30 days later.

Clearly, that will create a hardship for her and their family. She will be put on unpaid leave today, October 1, then be fired by October 19 for being unvaccinated. She has said she will take the firing.

In their denial, Legacy told Leah, in part, "Legacy's number one priority is patient and employee safety."

Really?  The consequences of  Legacy's decision to strip Leah of her religious freedom is resulting in closing labs and urgent care clinics because they are unable to staff them, due to loss of employees over the vaccine issue? Employees like Leah.

Will this not diminish their ability to provide "safety" for those in need of medical attention?

This week our Navy Seals were informed by superiors that they won't be deployed if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine, "even if they're granted a religious or medical exemption."

Hundreds of  the 2,450 active Seals are saying they will not take the "poke." Most say they are not anti-vax in general but have a spiritual reservation about this one.

The exact number of Seals opting out of the shot is unknown, but it's a substantial number. In the hundreds. All experts agree the loss of that many Seals could devastate the elite force. 

Lawyers are working, trying to change the minds of the military leaders.

About liberty and religious freedom.

My point is not whether anyone should, or should not get a Covid vaccination. That's a personal and spiritual decision each of us has been forced to make.

My concern is how this pandemic is being used to undermine,  manipulate, and devalue religious liberty.

You can have your religious liberty until we decide it is not for the greater good. Then we will take it away--- in this case with a "poke."

Abortion advocates have carried the banner for decades: "My body, My choice."

Why does that only apply to the killing of an unwanted unborn child, and not an unwanted poke in the arm of my body? 

If they were sincere about abortion and "their body, their choice," they would understand someone not wanting certain things inserted into their body. And they would understand their right to decline it.

They don't. And they won't. Because ultimately it's not about a vaccination---it's not even about the "greater good," it's about power and control over every part of our collective lives.

They are building on the sand, while the believer is building on the Rock.

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me; thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me" (Psalm 138:7).

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Engaged. Be Bold. Be Prayerful.