by WorldTribune Staff, February 8, 2022
U.S. Marines who sought religious exemptions to the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate say the process was stacked against them from the start.
An officer who has served for 23 years in the Marine Corps told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the religious exemption process is a “sham.”
The Marine Corps has processed more than 3,400 religious exemption requests. Only three were approved.
The officer, whose religious exemption request was denied, is now appealing the Marine Corps denial, saying she believes the Pentagon “intends to dismiss all of us.”
“When the appeals come back, and we know that they’re gonna come back denied, the guidance I’ve seen was that the individual’s supposed to receive a written order with enough time to comply, which they’re saying 30 days, 40 days, something like that,” the officer said. “And, at that time, if they’ve failed to comply, then they’re gonna get out-processed from the military. And, so far, I’ve started to see that take shape.”
“For some of us, we’ve already been told, ‘hey, go do [a] transition readiness seminar,’ which is basically you have one foot out of the door, and also get your final physical,” the officer added. “We’ve already been told to do that.”
The officer, who said she spends a lot of time speaking with a chaplain, said her chaplain was regretful over getting the Covid jab.
“Sitting down with my chaplain was not an issue,” the officer said. “In fact, he had voiced to me his regrets for having gotten the shot, and he felt like he was spiritually dead. And I prayed with him actually, and prayed for him because of that.”
A 17-year Marine officer, who previously fought in combat and is also seeking the religious exemption, told the Daily Caller: “At this point, because this mandate and betrayal that we’re facing, I’m not just gonna walk away with nothing that I’ve earned, but I’m likely walking away as a criminal and facing serious consequences both within the military justice system as well as civil penalties, and things like that.”
The process, he said, is “complex and layered, to say the least.” When he met with a chaplain, another step in the accommodation vetting process, he felt the process was contentious.
“It was not an interview, it was an interrogation,” he said. “You know, usually the chaplains are very supportive of you following your conscience, but in this case it was going as far as trying to look at my diet and what products I have in my home. It was combative and there’s a lot of traps in every question to try to see if you know there was a flaw in my logic, so to speak … ”
At every step of the vetting process, the officer said he was told by commanders to “just comply, this is not going to get approved anyway.”
According to the Department of Defense, as of Friday, 95 percent of active duty members of the Marine Corps were fully vaccinated, and another 2 percent were partially vaccinated. A total of 334 Marines have been separated with a vaccine refusal discharge code.