A federal judge granted a temporary injunction Monday (Jan. 3) against a federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for Navy SEALs, who sued President Biden because they were seeking a religious exemption.
Judge Reed O’Connor, the U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Texas, issued the stay in response to a lawsuit filed by First Liberty Institute in November on behalf of 35 active-duty SEALs and three reservists seeking a religious exemption.
The SEALs represented in the lawsuit were all members of various Christian denominations and objected to the vaccine mandate based on “their sincerely held religious beliefs,” claiming the military was violating their constitutional rights.
In his order, Judge Reed O’Connor said: “The Navy servicemembers in this case seek to vindicate the very freedoms they have sacrificed so much to protect. The COVID-19 pandemic provides the government no license to abrogate those freedoms. There is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment. There is no military exclusion from our Constitution.”
“Forcing a service member to choose between their faith and serving their country is abhorrent to the Constitution and America’s values,” said Mike Berry, General Counsel for First Liberty Institute.550811057-Navy-SEALs-PI-Order-via-First-Liberty-Institute