Thursday, January 27, 2022

Lankford cries foul over Defense Department granting nearly ZERO religious liberty accomodations for C-19 vax

Lankford Outraged That Defense Department Has Granted Nearly ZERO Religious Accommodations for COVID-19 Vaccine

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (January 25th) – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin demanding to know why, despite 19,979 known requests for religious accommodations from the COVID-19 vaccine, the Department has granted nearly zero requests for religious accommodations among the service branches. The US Marines reportedly have two religious accommodations—out of 3,367 requests.

In his letter, Lankford wrote that according to information his office obtained: the US Army has received 2,128 requests for religious accommodations, the US Navy has received 3,791 requests for religious accommodations; and the US Air Force has received 10,693 requests for religious accommodations. None have been granted.

“It is alarming that the Department is so blatantly disregarding the free exercise of religion that is guaranteed to our military service members, both through the First Amendment and through the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) (42 U.S.C. Sec 2000bb-1). Congress chose to apply RFRA to the military, and the military remains accountable to Congress for adhering to this law,” wrote Lankford in the letter.

Lankford is the leader in the Senate for protecting religious liberty here and around the world and standing against President Biden’s vaccine mandates for all, including our military. Lankford has been vocal about President Biden’s Executive Order, which created the mandate for the military. Lankford introduced the COVID-19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act to prohibit the Department of Defense from giving service members a dishonorable discharge for choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, which was ultimately solidified in the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act Lankford supported and was signed into law.

Lankford sent a letter to President Biden outlining his concerns with the vaccine mandates and has stood firmly with Oklahoma service members, health care workers, federal employees, and private-sector workers who have chosen so far not to be vaccinated. Lankford called out President Biden and Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for not responding to a letter he sent in September calling on Austin to protect service members from being forced to choose between their sincerely held religious beliefs and serving in our nation’s military or National Guard. Twice, Lankford stood up for the Oklahoma National Guard on the Senate floor after the Administration noted it planned to withhold pay from Guard members who refused the COVID-19 vaccine.

You can read the full letter here and below:


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