Alongside similar measures from state and local governments, President Joe Biden has imposed strict mandates on COVID-19 vaccines at the federal level that apply to millions of workers across the U.S.
Now, leaked audio alleged to feature the voice of a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney seems to suggest the Biden administration has been discussing ways to disallow religious exemptions to the mandates, at least in part by questioning the sincerity of those beliefs.
Implied in the remarks, however, is a tacit admission that claims of religious exemptions are valid and would likely hold up under scrutiny in a legal challenge if litigation were pursued.
A question of religious freedom
The leaked audio, said to feature the voice of DOJ attorney Marty Lederman, dates back to September and was initially shared Tuesday by Jack Posobiec on his Human Events Daily podcast.
In the audio clip, the voice alleged to be Lederman’s first points to a lawsuit in New York that sought to challenge an increasingly common claim centered that to receive a vaccine that contains or was tested on aborted fetal cells would make the recipient complicit in the “evil” of abortion.
“I don’t want to say anything too categorical but I believe that this claim will be very difficult for agencies to successfully claim that’s either insincere or not religious, even if it is,” Lederman acknowledged, according to a transcript from Conservative Brief.
“Sincere but not religious”
“Even if we know that many of those claims are not sincere, or are sincere but not religious, this is the most common behavior you’re going to confront probably, and it’s likely that you will have to take as a given the employee’s claim,” he added.
Lederman went on: “Not always, right, but one response that some hospitals have started to give is, ‘Well, do you know that Tylenol, and Tums, and Preparation H, those were all tested using aborted fetal cell lines, too. […] And I expect that employees will then say ‘Well, I didn’t know that, but now that you tell me that and I’ll stop using those products as well.'”
He continued: “And then we will turn to the, ‘What does the government have to do once the employee makes that shown.’ And here, basically, there is a compelling interest, obviously, in keeping our workforce and the public with which we interact safe from COVID.”
Please DO NOT RT this clip of a Biden official criticizing the religious beliefs of federal workers on abortion. Devout Catholic Joe Biden would be very upset! pic.twitter.com/qW1L9bi0GC
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) October 19, 2021
The bottom line
The Post Millennial reports that the audio seems to indicate the Biden DOJ has doubts about the religious beliefs of Americans opposed to getting vaccinated for the coronavirus.
But try as they might, the White House can’t circumvent the Constitution. One can only hope the courts will continue to uphold that standard if the matter does find its way onto the docket.