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President Biden’s Pentagon is threatening to punish Navy SEALs for refusing to get the COVID jab, First Liberty Institute counsel Mike Berry told the Todd Starnes Show Wednesday.
First Liberty represents 40 Navy SEALs who could face punishment, involuntary separation, or even court-martial for seeking religious accommodation to the Department of Defense vaccine mandate.
“Our nation’s elite fighting force, right now, instead of fighting America’s enemies, they are fighting for their careers and livelihoods and their freedom,” Berry said. “We should accommodate these heroes and not force them to choose between serving their faith and serving their country. There’s no reason why they can’t. There’s medical exemptions…so why are they treating religion and religious freedom like they’re second-class status. But guess what, it isn’t. It’s in the constitution.”
A SEAL first reached out to First Liberty and told them “we will be removed from the SEALs even if our exemption is granted…some of us have already had to turn in our uniform, the famous, legendary trident that they wear, they have to earn the right to wear on their uniform, and some of them have been told to turn it in.”
The Navy told servicemembers they and their dependents (spouses and children) would not be able to travel if they don’t get vaccinated. “That’s terrible,” Berry said with Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner.
And last week, the Navy issued another directive telling them if they asked for a religious exemption and it was not granted, the Navy can begin immediate proceedings to separate them and recoup the training money spent on them, which Berry said is an average of $2 million per SEAL.
“Mike this is absolutely vindictive and disgusting that they would threaten these American heroes in such a way,” host Todd Starnes said.
“Have you ever heard of such a thing happening in the ranks of the military?” he asked Berry, who is a military veteran.
“I’ve heard of it happening in China and North Korea but never in this country,” Berry said. “To me, this is nothing more than an ideological purge. It’s happening within our military because the DoD knows that the vast majority of people who have not yet been vaccinated…have a religious objection. And this is a very convenient way for the Pentagon to identify who those people are and to get rid of them. Because all they really want are…robots who are just absolutely compliant with everything they say.”
“It’s just religious hostility. There’s no other way to describe it,” Berry said.
Religious beliefs are personal, Berry explained, adding that the military has a long history of accomodating religious beliefs even when their policy states that everyone has to do something. Examples include alternative vaccines or meals, like Halal for Muslims and kosher for Jews.
“Americans do not give up their religious freedom when they join the military,” Berry said. “The Pentagon should be more concerned with 100% Constitution compliance, not 100% vaccine compliance.”