Can Latter-day Saints get a religious exemption from vaccination warrants?
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Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not granting religious exemptions to members who wish to be exempt from COVID-19 vaccination warrants, church spokespersons confirmed this day. week.
The confirmations, provided to Deseret News and other outlets, are not surprising, given the church’s long-standing support for vaccinations in general and the fact that President Russell M. Nelson has specifically referred to vaccines as COVID -19 of “literal windfall”.
The absence of a memo issued by the church for a religious exemption does not prevent Latter-day Saints from seeking a religious exemption if their employer has mandated the vaccination, according to legal experts.
Catholic, evangelical and other religious leaders told The Associated Press this week that they would not offer exemptions either. Some have mentioned that their adherents oppose vaccines because fetal cell lines have been used in testing – the vaccines themselves do not contain fetal cells – but Catholic and Evangelical leaders told the AP that the The overriding goal of alleviating the suffering caused by COVID-19 resolved any moral or religious objection on these grounds.
Latter-day Saints spokespersons highlighted the entry in the church’s General Handbook on Immunizations.
Vaccines administered by skilled health professionals protect health and preserve life. Church members are encouraged to protect themselves, their children, and their communities through immunization.
Ultimately, individuals are responsible for making their own decisions about vaccination. If members have concerns, they should consult qualified health professionals and also seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
President Nelson and his counselors in the First Presidency were vaccinated in January and have repeatedly encouraged and urged church members to follow suit, if their health permits. In a letter released Wednesday morning, the First Presidency noted that previous First Presidencies issued messages supporting vaccinations as early as 1900 and again during the polio crisis in the 1950s.
They are demanding COVID-19 vaccinations for American missionaries serving in foreign countries.
Legal experts say religious exemptions do not require a note from a church leader, although that can help, according to the JD Supra legal website.
Federal law prohibits religious discrimination and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation when an employee claims a religious exemption. On the one hand, federal and state laws stipulate that employers do not need to allow a religious exemption when an accommodation would cause “undue hardship” to the employer, which could be triggered by the need to protect the employer. health of other employees and the costs associated with providing COVID-19 testing, according to JD Supra.
On the other hand, the laws offer broad definitions of what could benefit from religious exemptions.
Yet Melanie Franco, a New York employment lawyer, told News10.com that moral or philosophical objections are not enough to establish a religious exemption.
“It must be this sincere belief,” she said. “You don’t often have to prove it by using documents or something like that, although using your religious scriptures is always helpful. “
Most Americans support vaccinations, polls show, and the FDA has fully approved the Pfizer vaccine as safe and reliable, but about a third of adults have yet to receive it, according to the CDC.
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