MSNBC: Religious Exemptions For Vaccine Mandates Shouldn’t Exist Or Something

No one is really surprised that MSNBC is publishing a piece like this, right?

Covid vaccine religious exemptions should not exist. Here’s why.
The law defending religious exemptions for vaccine mandates doesn’t exist.

Bill Of RightsThe law allows for vaccine requirements without religious exemptions. Not only that, but morality mandates it. Therefore, we should abolish religious exemptions for vaccine mandates. Religious objections to vaccines are not a license to kill.

The Constitution is not a roadblock for such vaccine mandates. We have a strong tradition of protecting the freedom of religion in our country, as we should. The First Amendment specifically guarantees that the government cannot prohibit “the free exercise” of religion. In plain English, that means every individual has the right to hold their own religious beliefs and to engage in actions or practices in support of those religious beliefs without government intrusion.

Except the First Amendment doesn’t exactly mean that. The freedom of belief is absolute, but the freedom to engage in actions in support of that belief is not — nor should it be.

OK, let’s apply that to Freedom of the Press. MSNBC and writer Jessica Levinson would be fine with Government restricting what they publish, right?

Why aren’t the protections afforded to individuals under the free exercise of religion absolute? Because that would actually harm the rule of law, public safety and general welfare. As far back as the late 19th century, the Supreme Court has acknowledged it would be absurd to allow people to opt out of many generally applicable laws by simply claiming their religious beliefs compelled contrary action. In 1879, the court correctly posited, “Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship; would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice?”

It’s a cute attempt at making a point, but, there’s a vast difference between refusing to take the vaccine, apparently because it uses aborted fetal tissue (personally, I believe it is not a good argument, as discussed here, but, it’s not my authority to deny them their deeply held religious beliefs), and cutting someone’s beating heart out of their chest to sacrifice to the sky god.

So we know the government can sometimes impose regulations, even if those regulations burden actions taken in furtherance of religious beliefs. But when? The Supreme Court concluded in 1940, “Conduct remains subject to regulation for the protection of society.”

Call me crazy (and I’m sure many will after this column) but the “protection of society” would surely seem to include obtaining a vaccine to protect oneself and others from a deadly virus. This is perhaps the quintessential example of the government having a compelling interest to enact a law, even if it arguably burdens the freedom of religion in some narrow cases.

Again, let’s apply this to the Press: how would MSNBC like the state of Texas to censor their broadcasts and website, in the name of “protection of society”? Remember, each state has its own Constitution, which protects freedom of religion and freedom of the press. Jessica would be fine with this, right?

It’s a very slippery slope, which is simply mean to do away with religious freedoms.

The constitutional protection for the free exercise of religion enshrined in the First Amendment isn’t the only law to consider when talking about vaccine mandates and religious exemptions. When it comes to the employer-employee relationship, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act also kicks in to protect employees from discrimination on the basis of religion. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission specifically provided that as long as an employer complies with Title VII, federal disability laws and “other EEO considerations,” federal equal employment opportunity laws allow employers to require “all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19.”

The 1st Amendment is not a law. These people are nuts.

We know how to protect ourselves and each other. There is no reason nor any constitution to prevent us from doing so.

Yeah, there actually is.

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11 Responses to “MSNBC: Religious Exemptions For Vaccine Mandates Shouldn’t Exist Or Something”

  1. Elwood P. Dowd says:

    William Teach believes the whole of American government, over at least 100 years, has been on a quest to abolish freedom of religion. He claims the author attempted a cute trick by citing the US Supreme Court!

    “Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship; would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice?”

    What if my religion says it was not only OK but necessary to have more than one wife? Would that be OK? After all whom does that hurt? But in 1879, the Supreme Court decided against bigamy saying, “Allowing Reynolds’s religious defense would”, according to the Court, “permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government could only exist in name under such circumstances.” Many government-hating nuCons actually believe that every US citizen SHOULD become a law unto himself! If America can prohibit bigamy why can’t they mandate vaccines that actually promote the public good?

    There may be someone, somewhere who sincerely believes that receiving the Covid vaccine is in violation of their most deeply held religious beliefs, but in general it’s just an excuse toward a political end.

    Again, the objective of right-wingers is to secure the trumpublican base and suppress the Dem vote for 2022 and 2024.

    • Dana says:

      The distinguished Mr Dowd errs:

      What if my religion says it was not only OK but necessary to have more than one wife? Would that be OK? After all whom does that hurt?

      The law does not prevent you from living with more than one woman; it simply holds that the state will not recognize more than one woman, at a time, as your legal wife. If you try to legally marry a second woman, you are subverting the legal requirements of the state.

      Of course, with the odious Obergfell v Hodges decision, the Supreme Court laid the groundwork for invalidating bigamy laws; if the state cannot require that a married couple be of the opposite sex, then how can the state require that they only be a couple and not a throuple?

      • Elwood P. Dowd says:

        The distinguished Mr Dana errs:

        We did not say “living with” but specified “wife”, a legal definition.

        if the state cannot require that a married couple be of the opposite sex, then how can the state require that they only be a couple

        Easy. Marriage is between two human beings of legal age. Some day, some where, some throuple may test the law and we’ll see what happens then.

        When Obergefell was decided, conservatives predicted legal throuples, men marrying dogs, women marrying horses etc. would be everywhere. So far, so good. Will the current nuSupremes invalidate Obergefell?

        Never understood the right-wing hatred of same-sex marriage. Even the odious jim hoft of Gateway Pudendum infamy supports it. Why would anyone else care?

  2. Elwood P. Dowd says:

    William Teach asks: how would MSNBC like the state of Texas to censor their broadcasts and website, in the name of “protection of society”?

    The authoritarian nuGOPhers have that in mind, and the nuCourt may go along with it!

    But seriously, America has a long history of vaccine mandates to assure public health. The Supreme Court has ruled that mandates are constitutional. Teach knows, and we know, that the religious argument, such as it is, is a ploy to keep “the base” angry.

    Although conservatives have long tolerated vaccine mandates, nuCons have actually made noises to prohibit mandates for measles, mumps, chickenpox, rubella etc. Why would they wish to harm children? Because they’ll do anything to stay in power, and an agitated nuCon/nuGOP base is to their advantage. Freedom!! (for unCons).

  3. Hairy says:

    But Teach there are restrictions on free speech
    You can’t yell fire in a movie theater you can’t publish child porn you can’t publish military secrets or disseminate them digitally likewise there are restrictions of the 2nd Amendment on the type of arms you may possess (no nukes!” and you can’t use drugs “religiously” nor are you allowed to kill based on crazy ass Bible mandates

  4. Hairy says:

    This is like those crazy hod cultists that refuse to allow their kids propper Healthcare and just want to pray the germs away

  5. Professor hale says:

    I’m also against religious exemptions. Freedom is not the property of any one group that may be claimed by right as if it is different than all others. It belongs to everyone, BY RIGHT. Everyone, even Jeff, may claim it.

    • Kye says:

      You called it Professor. An exemption for anyone means it’s immoral on it’s face. Like giving vaccine exemptions to illegal aliens, migrants, afghans and
      “refugees”.

  6. Professor hale says:

    Reminds me of obamacare. Catholic church fully supported it (as they do all communism), then tried to carve out religious exemptions for themselves, but not for their parishioners.

  7. Kye says:

    Whenever you see demofascists start with the exemptions or the carve-outs you know they’re up to their usual nefarious immorality and shoving it up our asses. Like Ivermectin exemption for Congress.

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