Commanders across both active duty and reserve Marine units are mass denying requests for religious accommodation by Marines opposed to taking the COVID-19 vaccine, despite the regulatory requirement for each request to be examined on the merits.
Over a dozen letters have been obtained by Breitbart News, showing identical forms and responses to Marines’ requests. Each letter is reportedly identical, with the exception of the name and unit of the requesting Marine, the date, and the officer denying the request.
The US Army requires each request for a religious exemption to include Commander recommendations and administrative counseling statements in a packet that must eventually be approved or denied by the Army Surgeon General.
Neither the Army nor the Marines allow one-size-fits-all denial forms to be used, as each individual request must be examined to determine the sincerity of the service member’s beliefs, the nature of the objection, and the potential effect on the mission if the exemption is granted.
Military missions have not been materially affected by COVID-19, with mortality totaling less than 50 service members suffering COVID-related deaths in a population of over two million. By contrast, hundreds of troops are lost to suicide every year, and the military continues to make accommodations for troops who consume tobacco products despite the provable detriment to mission readiness caused by tobacco use, which remains far more impactful than COVID-19 to unit readiness.
According to Military.com, the Marine Corps has not approved a single religious exemption, leading many troops and observers to wonder if the programs and procedures offered to troops to seek exemptions are themselves fraudulent.