An appeal for religious liberty

An appeal for religious liberty

An appeal for religious liberty

Five healthcare workers in New York continue to fight what they call an unlawful mandate that cost them their jobs.

Daniel Schmid of Liberty Counsel, the organization representing the workers who submitted religious exemptions to Governor Kathleen Hochul's (D) COVID-19 shot mandate, tells AFN the case, John Does 1-2, Jane Does 1-3 v. Hochul, has been taken to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

"When the governor issued her mandate, she initially stated that there would be limited exemptions for those with medical conditions and those with sincerely held religious beliefs that are opposed to the vaccine," Schmid recalls. "About eight days later, they revoked their religious exemptions and said, 'If you have religious exemptions, tough. You can either get the shot, or you can get fired.'"

But as the attorney points out, that is a violation of several things, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as well as the First Amendment. Their main issue with the shots is that they are all associated with aborted fetal cell lines.

Schmid, Daniel (LC) Schmid

"The district court denied our injunction and then dismissed the case saying it wasn't a violation of the First Amendment," Schmid details. "We have taken that the Second Circuit, and as we're seeing in other cases across the country, courts are beginning to agree that you can't compel someone to violate their religious beliefs, to accept a shot that they find abhorrent."

Liberty Counsel filed its opening brief last week. The state and hospitals being sued will have time to respond, and later this year, the court will set a date for oral argument.

Meanwhile, Schmid tells AFN some of the plaintiffs have been forced to move and take jobs elsewhere, "where they don't have what I would call the People's Republic of New York violating their sincerely held religious beliefs." Others have accepted jobs in other fields after being terminated "for no other reason than they did not want to accept a shot that violated their conscience."

Liberty Counsel expects to ultimately prevail on this matter.