Air Force Admits All Granted Religious Accommodations for Vax Were for Airmen Already Leaving
( Breitbart )
The Air Force admitted Monday during a preliminary injunction hearing that it has rejected all religious accommodation requests for the coronavirus vaccine from airmen except for those who were already leaving the service, Breitbart News has learned.
This means that the service has granted zero meaningful requests and denied over 7,595 — which would end the careers of airmen who still choose to not to take the vaccine, according to the attorney arguing the case in the courtroom.
Alliance for Free Citizens General Counsel Kris Kobach, who is representing 36 airmen seeking religious accommodation for the vaccine in a federal court case in Nebraska, said the Air Force admitted verbally during the hearing they are granting religious accommodations only for those planning to leave the Air Force, but none for those who actually wish to continue serving.
So far, the Air Force has granted 46 accommodation requests — all to airmen already planning to leave the Air Force within six months.
Kobach, who along with America First Policy Institute is representing the airmen, told Breitbart News, “The hearing today confirmed that the military religious accommodation process is pure theater. The answer is always no. The Air Force has granted zero accommodation requests that were not effectively early retirements.”
There is some evidence that other military branches are also granting religious accommodation for those who already leaving the service, but the Air Force’s admission — which came verbally during the injunction hearing — is the first time any branch has openly admitted doing so.
There are more than 24,000 religious accommodation requests across the military services, according to Liberty Counsel, a ministry defending service members seeking religious accommodation in another case.
So far, there have been fewer than 100 accommodation requests granted, according to weekly statistics provided by the services.
More than 3,400 service members have been discharged from the military over non-compliance with the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate, which Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered in August. That includes at least 369 airmen, according to the Air Force as of May 10.
Service members removed over the vaccine mandate have received general discharges, except for those in the Navy, who have received honorable discharges. A general discharge, while not a dishonorable discharge, does not reflect well on the service member, who may have to tell future employers the circumstances of their discharge and risk employment.
Service members have increasingly begun speaking out about their opposition to the vaccine mandate, at the risk of losing their careers. Some have said they have been retaliated against for not wanting to get the vaccine. A Marine lieutenant colonel and instructor pilot said he has been grounded.
“This case is so important because the very men and women who are fighting to defend our constitutional freedoms are having their own constitutional freedoms destroyed,” Kobach said.
The case is Roth v. Austin, No. 8:22-cv-3038 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska.