An Air Force Second Lieutenant was denied a religious accommodation for the Covid-19 vaccine even though his chaplain stated in a memo that “his stance is a sincerely held belief.”
The Chaplain wrote that “he is adamant about following the command that he should endeavor to refrain from defiling his body with any spiritually unclean substances,” and that there is “no doubt that a denial will have an adverse impact on his spiritual and mental resiliency.”
This was of little consequence to Lieutenant General Robinson however. He denied his request and wrote that it “does not meet the threshold necessary for an exemption because you were not found to have a sincerely held religious belief.”
That’s weird though because I just read, straight from the Chaplain, that he DID have a sincerely held belief.
Lt Gen Robinson is the Commander of Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas.
He is responsible for the recruitment, training and education of Air and Space Force personnel. His command includes Air Force Recruiting Service, two numbered Air Forces and Air University. This means he’s responsible for all new recruits plus the education of all personnel who enter the Air Force. Essentially all new airmen, and many who have been in for a while, are under his command at some point.
Why would he blatantly make a non-factual statement like this? Let’s go back to when Judge McFarland, the Federal Judge from the Southern District of Ohio, first placed an injunction on the Air Force regarding the Covid vaccine. The Air Force continued kicking people out anyways. Then, they continued doing it even more.
Judge McFarland issued the initial injunction on July 14, 2022, but the Air Force disregarded his ruling and continued kicking people out anyways. Lt Gen Robinson’s decision was made on July 29, 2022.
Judge McFarland’s decision was clear; those who have submitted a Religious Accommodation and are found to have a sincerely held belief cannot be punished or discharged for refusing the vaccine. This ruling is based on 42 U.S. Code Chapter 21B – RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION. However, the Air Force is trying to circumvent the ruling by having General Officers simply say the person DOESN’T have a sincere belief whether their chaplain said so or not.
The Air Force continues to break the law, defy a Federal Judge’s rulings, and this behavior is happening all across the force. Rule of law has ground to a halt in the DOD, and Congress continues to turn a blind eye to the behavior despite being well aware it’s taking place.