Late last week, Federal Judge Steven Merryday granted a preliminary injunction in the case known as Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin for a U.S. Marine Corps captain who faced punishment after the military rejected his appeal after denying his request for a religious accommodation from the shot mandate. Mat Staver is founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which is representing the Marine officer in question.
"This is good news: we got a temporary restraining order earlier, now we've got a preliminary injunction. This is a great victory for this Marine Corps captain. We've got a number of injunctions for some of our plaintiffs," the attorney shares.
"We're continuing to seek class-wide injunction for all the members of all six branches of the military because we need to protect all of them. There are over 24,000 individuals who have filed these religious exemption requests – [and] they're all going to be denied."
Staver explains this is just part of his firm's effort to remove vaccine mandates across the entire military.
"They all need relief and they need it quickly," he continues, "so we are moving forward with broader relief to make sure that every person in the military who has a religious accommodation request pending is protected."
A broken promise
Also under Navy SEAL 1 v. Austin, Liberty Counsel is representing a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy who is seeking legal relief after the Colorado Springs-based school ordered him to choose either the COVID-19 vaccination or "voluntary" resignation from the Academy.
The unnamed cadet, according to Liberty Counsel, believes that God has called him to serve in the Air Force – but also holds a sincerely held religious belief that he shouldn't receive any of the COVID shots because of their connections to abortion.
Gordon Klingenschmitt is a former Navy chaplain who attended the Air Force Academy and runs the Pray In Jesus Name project. He tells AFN the commandant of the Academy broke his promise not to punish cadets who refuse to take the COVID injection.
"I stand with the [unnamed] cadet who's going to be fired because the three-star superintendent of the Air Force Academy, Richard Clark, broke his pledge to me," the former chaplain tells AFN.
"When I attended my class reunion last September, the three-star superintendent stood in front of all of the graduates and he said in front of 500 witnesses: Absolutely, chaplain. I will protect religious freedom for my cadets if they have a sincere religious objection to the vaccine. Absolutely! And now he's breaking his pledge."
According to Klingenschmitt, "Cadet X" isn't the only military cadet taking a stand against the mandate. "I'm told now 16 cadets at West Point and an equal number at the Air Force Academy are in danger of being separated because of their religious views," he concludes.