Religious Freedom Watch: Another Federal District Issues Stay In Favor Of SEALs V. Biden

Our nation asks the men and women in our military to serve, suffer, and sacrifice. But we do not ask them to lay aside their citizenry and give up the very rights they have sworn to protect.1 Every president since the signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has praised the men and women of the military for their bravery and service in protecting the freedoms this country guarantees.2

In this case, members of the military seek protection under those very freedoms. Thirty-five Navy Special Warfare servicemembers allege that the military’s mandatory vaccination policy violates their religious freedoms under the First Amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Navy provides a religious accommodation process, but by all accounts, it is theater. The Navy has not granted a religious exemption to any vaccine in recent memory. It merely rubber stamps each denial. The Navy service members in this case seek to vindicate the very freedoms they have sacrificed so much to protect.3 The COVID-19 pandemic provides the government no license to abrogate those freedoms. There is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment.

There is no military exclusion from our Constitution. Read more»


1. George Washington wrote in 1775 that “When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen.” Those words are carved into the marble of the Memorial Amphitheater in the Arlington National Cemetery.

2. See President William Clinton, Remarks at the Veterans Day National Ceremony (Nov. 11, 1999); President George W. Bush, Remarks at the Veterans Day Proclamation (Oct. 30, 2001); President Barack Obama, Remarks at the Veterans Day National Ceremony (Nov. 11, 2009); President Donald Trump, Remarks at the New York City Veterans Day Parade Address (Nov. 11, 2019); President Joseph Biden, Remarks at the National Veterans Day Observance (Nov. 11, 2021).

3. Before the Court are the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 15), filed November 24, 2021; Defendants’ Response (ECF No. 43), filed December 10; and Plaintiffs’ Reply (ECF No. 58), filed December 17. The Court held a hearing on the matter on December 20. ECF No. 61.

Reed O’ Connor | United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division | January 3, 2022


    Post authored by:

  • Heidelblog
    Author Image

    The Heidelblog has been in publication since 2007. It is devoted to recovering the Reformed confession and to helping others discover Reformed theology, piety, and practice.

    More by Heidelblog ›

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!