Susan (name changed to protect her privacy) is a sergeant in the Florida National Guard. She has worked hard to earn her rank and loves God and serving our country through the Guard.
"I never thought I would be placed in the position of conflict between my faith and a military order, and decide whether to remain true to what God wants me to do, or be kicked out of the service," wrote Susan in a sworn declaration in our massive class action lawsuit, Navy SEAL 1 v. Biden. "I love both God and the Guard, and want to be able to remain true to my beliefs, and continue to serve."
But Joe Biden's Department of Defense is unlawfully trying to force Susan, and thousands like her, to choose between God and government.
In a Florida National Guard directive dated August 2021, Susan and her fellow service members were informed that the Guard sought to achieve 100% vaccination by June 30, 2022. That same directive stated, "While vaccination is crucial to our readiness and a lawful order, no Soldier will be ordered, coerced or forced to receive the vaccination."
The directive also included language indicating that soldiers with "a pending religious or medical exemption" would not be required to comply.
On Nov. 15, the DOD promised a Florida federal judge that no adverse action would be taken against military religious exemption seekers while their exemption requests were pending.
Yet, according to documents recently provided to Liberty Counsel, just two days later, on Nov. 18, the Army National Guard issued a new directive that all soldiers, including guardsmen, must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 15 or lose their jobs—an adverse action if I've ever seen one!
On Nov. 22, the Florida federal judge put the screws to the DOD, ordering it to begin reporting on how it is handling religious exemptions every two weeks beginning Jan. 7. But instead of heeding the judge's obvious warning to follow the law, Biden's DOD chose defiance.
On Dec. 1, Susan and her fellow service members were called into a briefing and informed that "Soldiers who were not 'fully vaccinated'" by Dec. 15 would be terminated as of Dec. 16.
Susan's commander then took her aside and informed her that she must get the Johnson & Johnson shot that very day or else be terminated. Refusing to violate her religious convictions, she did not get the shot. Two days later, on Dec. 3, Susan was ordered to attend a battalion meeting where attendees were informed that more than 75% of the battalion was unvaccinated.
Susan was immediately sent to "counseling," where her chain of command attempted to coerce and cajole her to "abandon her religious beliefs." Susan's commander told her that any attempt at a religious exemption was "futile" because without the shot, Susan would be terminated.
A deeply committed Christian, Susan would not ignore her conscience or the Word of her Lord. The next day, she met with the Army Guard chaplain to pursue religious exemption only to have the chaplain try to pressure her out of a religious exemption request as well.
We know from other leaked military communications that chaplains have been instructed by their chains of command to pressure religious adherents into abandoning claims for religious exemption. While many chaplains have refused to comply with such an outrageous order, Susan's chaplain apparently agreed to obey his commanding officer over his conscience.
Susan was informed that, unless she abandoned her exemption request and got the shot, she would not only lose her job, but also all of the benefits her service had earned, including VA loans and GI Bill benefits.
Susan stood her ground and submitted her religious exemption anyway.
After even the chaplain began haranguing members to give up any religious exemption attempts, many of Susan's fellow soldiers buckled and took the jab. Despite the DOD's claims to the contrary before a federal judge, Susan fully expects to be unlawfully fired next Thursday—one week and one day before Christmas—all because she refuses to abandon her Christian faith.
I am astounded that the DOD would so mislead a federal court, as well as mistreat the military heroes who have kept our country safe and free. But defiance and lawlessness have become the hallmark of Joe Biden and his administration.
Thank God for the faithful Liberty Counsel supporters like you who make it possible to fight Joe Biden's lawless tyrannies!
And now, a Christian organization has established a $500,000 matching gift that will double the amount of every donation made. But we only have until Dec. 31 to reach that $500,000 goal. Meanwhile, the fight for religious liberty grows more intense every day.
Please be in prayer for all the American heroes like Susan, fired at Christmas for refusing to abandon their Christian faith. Pray also for the Lord's strength and wisdom over all our staff at Liberty Counsel so that we may successfully defend His people.
"There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known" (Luke 12:2, NIV).
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