Court wins temporary, but adding up, in fight for U.S. service members

Court wins temporary, but adding up, in fight for U.S. service members

Court wins temporary, but adding up, in fight for U.S. service members

A federal judge has issued a temporary ruling that protects U.S. Air Force members from being punished for refusing the COVID-19 shot, a legal win that is being praised by the religious liberty law firm that has fought to protect armed service members refusing to roll up a sleeve.

U.S. District Court Judge Matthew McFarland, seated on the federal bench in Cincinnati, has issued a preliminary injunction to prevent the Biden administration from forcing the experimental COVID-19 shot on Air Force, Space Force, and Air National Guard personnel who have requested religious exemptions. That means those personnel can’t be discharged or disciplined while the lawsuit heads toward a trial.

According to Fox 19, a Fox News affiliate in Cincinnati, Judge McFarland criticized the Air Force for its decision to reject every exemption request without considering each one on the merits of that individual request.

“It's amazing the breadth of this particular class relief,” remarks Mat Staver, whose Liberty Counsel law firm represents several hundred airmen at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, located in Dayton.

“In addition to covering a wide variety,” Staver explains, “it prohibits the defendants, which would be the Department of Defense and their respective military branches, from taking any adverse action against them because of their religious accommodation request.”

According to the Fox 19 story, Air Force Reserve member Joe Dills told the news outlet a chaplain helped him and others present “very tight” arguments to defend their objections, but their commanders denied them all in a rubber stamp-like refusal. He also said the Air Force has granted “thousands and thousands” of administrative and medical exemptions but very few religious exemptions.

Staver, Mat (Liberty Counsel) Staver

A similar and sad accusation has been made by numerous members of the armed forces. They have described commanders threatening and bullying the minority of holdouts because they are under pressure from the Pentagon to guarantee 100-percent compliance.

According to Staver, Air Force airmen and Navy sailors are being protected from reprisal thanks to court action and he says a lawsuit for objecting Marines should be decided soon. An amended complaint has been filed for Coast Guard members and a similar legal request for the Army is coming soon, too.

“So, moving one by one, I wish it were faster. Certainly a lot of people are suffering,” he tells AFN. “But we're knocking these giants down one by one."