Judge blocks Marines from discharging unvaccinated soldiers

U.S. District Court Judge Steven Merryday issued a ruling on Thursday that prevents the discharge of hundreds of Marines denied religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine on the grounds that the discharges violate the  Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA).

The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed against the Department of Defense over the forced vaccinations, which have not had much effectiveness against COVID infection or serious complications since the omicron variant arose.

Under the RFRA, the federal government is required to prove that it has a compelling interest in the action being mandated and that less restrictive alternatives don’t exist.

The judge’s ruling was a “classwide” injunction and prevents the DOD and the Marine Corps “from enforcing against a member of the class any order, requirement, or rule to accept COVID-19 vaccination; from separating or discharging from the Marine Corps a member of the class who declines COVID-19 vaccination; and from retaliating against a member of the class for the member’s asserting statutory rights under RFRA.”

Unfair treatment

The case was filed when a Marine was notified on August 3 that he and his young family would be required to leave military housing in 48 hours and reached out to Liberty Counsel for help.

Liberty Counsel said that the Biden DOD is treating Christians who ask for religious exemption differently than others it discharges by leaving them on their own to pay for moving out of military housing.

“Normally when an armed forces member leaves the military, the military pays to move the member and his family back to their home of record,” the firm said. “But Joe Biden’s Department of Defense (DOD) has changed the rules for Christians who insist on exercising their religious rights. The DOD is making those service members pay their own way—and with as little notice as possible, to make yet another example of those who dare to demand their legal rights.”

In most cases, the Marines being discharged are only getting 48 hours notice, which is far shorter than the usual time frame. If they aren’t prepared to leave in that short amount of time, they can be charged $100 per day in rent.

Retribution and retaliation

The judge said that the action “suggests retribution and retaliation, the existence of which detracts from the Marine Corps’ claim elsewhere in this action to good faith treatment of a religious objector.”

Liberty Counsel celebrated the order, with chairman Mat Staver saying in a statement, “Our courageous U.S. Marines finally have relief from these unlawful COVID shot mandates.”

“The Department of Defense has relentlessly violated the law and ignored their religious freedom. Today, that lawlessness ends,” he added.

The case still has to work its way through the courts for a final decision, but in the meanwhile, Marines will be protected from losing their jobs because of the mandates.

Share on facebook
Share To Facebook

Welcome to our comments section. We want to hear from you!

Any comments with profanity, advocacy of violence, harassment, personally identifiable information or other violations will be removed. If you feel your comment has been removed in error please contact us!

Latest Posts