Texas megachurch preacher and Trump follower say there is no ‘credible religious argument’ against COVID-19 vaccines

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Pastor Robert Jeffress attends the Celebrate Freedom rally with then-President Donald Trump on July 1, 2017. Olivier Douliery-Pool via Getty Images

  • A Texas megachurch preacher is refusing to offer his congregation religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

  • He told The Associated Press there was no “credible religious argument” for denying a gunshot.

  • Religious exemption letters are increasingly being used as a “loophole” to avoid vaccination mandates, the AP said.

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As Republican lawmakers rage against President Joe Biden’s sweeping vaccination mandates, The Associated Press has reported that religious exemptions are increasingly being used as a “loophole” to avoid getting a COVID-19 shot. .

But a Trump-loving preacher at a Texas megachurch ruled there was “no credible religious argument” for denying a shot, the Associated Press said.

Reverend Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas, which has 12,000 members, told the news agency that he and his staff do not “offer” letters of exemption or encourage members of their congregation to seek religious exemptions from coronavirus vaccination mandates.

“Christians who are troubled by the use of a fetal cell line to test vaccines should also refrain from using Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, ibuprofen and other products that use the same cell line. ‘they are sincere in their objection,’ Jeffress said in an email.

Jeffress, who once suggested he would vote for former President Donald Trump over someone who embodies the teachings of Jesus, is one of many religious leaders who have recently objected to the use of letters of religious exemption.

The AP reported that leaders of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America said Thursday that, other than for medical reasons, “there are no exemptions in the Orthodox Church for her followers from any vaccination for religious reasons”.

Similarly, the news agency reported that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York also said they would not did not support the exemption letters, according to the AP. .

But not all churches share the same point of view. The AP said some Catholic bishops, including those in the Colorado Catholic Conference, have made it easier to oppose the vaccine on religious grounds by posting sample letters online for priests to sign.

A Tulsa pastor even said he would sign a religious exemption letter if people donated to his church, The Washington Post reported.

According to a senior religious liberty researcher at the Freedom Forum in Washington, religious exemptions are likely to be at the center of fierce legal battles in the months ahead.

“As vaccination mandates continue to expand in schools and workplaces, there is bound to be more litigation over the issue of religious exemptions – particularly in cases where no exemptions (except medical) are permitted,” Charles Haynes said in an email to The Washington Post. .

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