Americans Are Not Buying Religious Exemption Claims for COVID Vaccines
A new study from Pew Research Center shows most U.S. adults doubt the sincerity of religious objections
Two-thirds of U.S. adults believe most people claiming religious objections to COVID-19 vaccines “are just using religion as an excuse to avoid the vaccine,” according to a new study released by Pew Research Center. While many employers have adopted vaccine requirements, it’s common to allow exceptions for those who claim the vaccine violates their religious convictions.
The public, broadly, seems to suspect this is being exploited as an easy rationale for opting out.
However, the majority who think religious objectors are just making an excuse also think these people should be allowed to keep their jobs. Among those who think people claiming a religious reason to skip the vaccine are sincere, only three percent think those opting out should lose their jobs anyway.
There appears to be a lot of skepticism and forgiveness on this particular front, a rare gray area during a pandemic where public attitude appears to be comfortable with moral ambiguity.
Last December, just as the Omicron variant was tightening its hold on the U.S., the Public Religion Research Institute and Interfaith Youth Corps announced a notable public sentiment: one in ten Americans believed getting a COVID-19 vaccine conflicted with their religion. (At that point, 28 percent of unvaccinated Americans surveyed claimed a religious prohibition.)
This was on the heels of increasing vaccine mandates by the Biden administration, including through OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — which in turn would apply to millions of workers at healthcare facilities participating in those programs. Non-compliance could lead to termination. While the U.S. Supreme Court rejected much of the mandate, justices allowed the portion applying to healthcare workers at facilities receiving federal dollars to stand. Related cases pertaining to Naval personnel and federal workers, have been winding through appeals courts, with the former so far receiving a one-paragraph Supreme Court ruling that granted…