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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Courthouse News Service
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Freedom of religion

November 13, 2023

Employees claiming a religious right not to be vaccinated have gotten mixed results in court. Apparently, you need religion that is a tad more specific.

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

We may need better, more specifically modern religions.

There’s been a rash of lawsuits claiming religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccinations. The religious excuses mostly have been a tad vague and not every court has bought them.

A Maryland federal judge, for example, recently noted that a “conscience-based justification” by one plaintiff and an assertion that “he listens to the guidance of the Holy Spirit” by another plaintiff weren’t enough.

“(A) hypothetical plaintiff could assert, despite his shift starting at 8, that his God-given conscience or the Holy Spirit told him to rest and not start work until 10:30.”

Seems reasonable to me.

There is this pesky lack of a mention of hypodermic needles in the Bible. If only God could be more specific.

So what’s needed, obviously, is better religions. The kind of religions that will justify what you want to do. Some examples:

The Church of I Have Better Things To Do. The core tenet of this faith is that life is short and it is sinful to waste time on bothersome tasks. You have better things to do!

All of us are going to want to join this congregation.

The High Temple of Lunch. Nothing is more sacred than communion with a proper midday meal. A minimum of one hour is required for all devout practitioners.

While employers who do not wish to infringe on religious rights/rites should not interfere with lunch, exceptions can be made if gourmet deliveries are made to employee desks.

The Life of the Holy Mother Faith. This religion, based on sacred texts from the patron saints of Planned Parenthood, requires that all medical decisions be made for the health and happiness of the patient.

Just because abortion is a sin for someone else’s religion doesn’t mean it’s a sin for yours. Religious freedom is religious freedom. The First Amendment doesn’t pick winners.

The Cult of I Don’t Want To Pay for That. Admittedly, this is a controversial sect. There will be skirmishes with heathen law enforcement officers.

The main doctrine of this sect is the need for secrecy and stealth.

The Cult of You Need To Pay for That. All members are required to purchase security cameras.

Annoyancism. No one should be required to be near annoying co-workers if it is against their faith. Annoyancism adherents are constitutionally required to be given calming work spaces at least 500 feet away from the obnoxious.

Adherents are entitled to be shielded from bad smells, bad jokes, bad haircuts, and that person who keeps smiling at me for no reason.

The Anything I Do Religion. Anything you do is part of your faith. This is very freeing.

Harasser discrimination. Boys will be boys. Or at least some boys will be boys. This fact, however, is not an excuse.

A U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit panel last week denied an appeal from a guy who said he was the subject of sex discrimination because he was fired for sexual harassment. His termination, he claimed, was “a stereotypic response to (his) conduct.”

Clearly, that’s ridiculous. He should have claimed he was part of the Horny Devil Spiritualist Movement.

Categories / Health, Op-Ed, Religion

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