S3, Ep. 03: What’s going on with religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandates?

Dive into the issue that is on the mind of employers, government officials and individuals across the country.

Nov 4, 2021

This week, Amanda and Holly explore questions swirling around vaccine mandates and religious exemptions related to COVID-19. Is there a newfound religious awakening that is leading to new requests? Are people gaming the system? Dive into the issue that is on the mind of employers, government officials and individuals across the country. Amanda and Holly discuss the religious liberty rationale for religious exemptions, the compelling government interest in mandating vaccines and how those values have been balanced in the past and in dealing with the present pandemic. They also talk about some of the difficult decisions employers are facing as they try to keep their workforce safe, healthy and productive. In the third segment, they look at the broader impact of COVID-19, including new reports on the trustworthiness of clergy when it comes to this topic. 


Segment one: Why do we have religious exemptions for any laws, and why do we see so many requests right now? (starting at 00:50)

Amanda and Holly discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and its intersections with religion and religious liberty at length in season one. See the following episodes: 

Holly wrote an article about religious exemptions to vaccine mandates for BJC’s fall 2021 magazine, which you can read at this link

Segment two: Employers dealing with the novel issue of employees claiming exemptions (starting at 15:17)

Amanda mentioned watching a hearing talking about vaccine mandates you can read a recap and see clips in this piece on our website:  House subcommittees hold joint hearing on vaccine mandates and employee accommodations

Here’s a link to the guidance issued by the EEOC about what is required by Title VII: https://www.eeoc.gov/newsroom/eeoc-issues-updated-covid-19-technical-assistance-0 

For the latest news on these issues, visit the latest news section of our website.


Segment three: Where are we now with COVID-19, and how are clergy part of the conversation? (starting at 28:43)

Holly mentioned this article by Zeynep Tufekci in the New York Times: The Unvaccinated May Not Be Who You Think

Amanda mentioned this article by Michelle Boorstein in the Washington Post: New survey: Most U.S. churchgoers trust their clergy for covid vaccine guidance, but clergy aren’t really offering it


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