Pentagon No Longer Allowed to Punish Navy SEALS Over Vaccine Exemption

Pentagon No Longer Allowed to Punish Navy SEALS Over Vaccine Exemption

( – In mid-December 2021, the US military services began initiating disciplinary actions against troops refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. News reports indicate tens of thousands of America’s brave fighting men and women faced possible removal from service. However, a group of Navy SEALs is pushing back against the government edict.

On Monday, January 3, 2022, US District Judge Reed O’Connor issued a temporary restraining order preventing the Pentagon from punishing 35 Navy SEALs who refused to comply with the Biden administration COVID-19 mandate. According to the judge’s order, the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate violated their religious freedoms granted under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Judge O’Connor delivered a stinging rebuke to Defense Department officials in his 26-page written opinion. O’Connor wrote America owes a debt of gratitude to the men and women who serve in the nation’s armed services. However, they don’t forfeit the very rights they lay their lives on the line to defend when they sign on the dotted line.

O’Connor’s order also barred military officials from taking any punitive action against the SEALs based on their request for religious exemptions.

O’Connor’s restraining order could shape how the Pentagon conducts procedures to enforce vaccine mandates against troops seeking religious exemptions. The judge referred to their current system for providing religious accommodation as “theater.”

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