The First Liberty Institute (FLI) on Monday amended their lawsuit against the Department of Defense and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to sue for religious protections for all members of the U.S. Navy.
The suit, which originally only included U.S. Navy SEALs, claims the Navy has been unwilling to grant religious exemptions to the coronavirus mandate handed down by President Joe Biden.
Citing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, FLI insists that the federal government is violating the federal law that has remained in place for years.
Furthermore, the group contends the mandate is an issue of constitutional rights, in which the military is not honoring religious freedom.
“Our clients are boldly leading the fight against the vaccine mandate, but no service member should face discipline or punishment for following their faith,” Mike Berry, General Counsel for First Liberty Institute, said in an emailed statement. “The fact that the military continues to demonstrate hostility to anyone who expresses religious objection to the vaccine mandate shows that the Biden Administration does not care about religious freedom. The lawsuit seeks to protect as many service members as possible from further punishment. We have to put a stop to this before any more harm is done to our national security.”
Previously, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction, pausing the ability of the Department of Defense from punishing Navy SEALs and Naval Special Warfare personnel who have demonstrated certain religious objections to the vaccine mandate.
“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,” the judge wrote in his ruling.
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