Biden’s “Come on, Man” Defense Will Not Fly on Religious Freedom

Below is my column on the President’s dismissal of any objections to the Covid vaccine and his call for mass firings of first responders who remain defiant. The comments reflect a growing call for states and the federal government to reject any religious exemptions for vaccination.

Here is the column:

“Come on, man,” seems to be President Biden’s signature response to any uncomfortable question. The phrase is meant to be both dismissive and conclusive in ending inquiries, frequently used to counter reporters before often walking away. Indeed, it is so often repeated that it appears on T-Shirts or coffee mugs and in remixes.

This week, however, it was not the pesky press but freedom itself that got hit with a version of the comeback. When asked during a CNN town hall program about those still objecting to taking COVID vaccines, Biden mocked them and their claimed rights with “Come on, ‘freedom.’ ” He then called for any police officers, firefighters, medical personnel or other first responders to be fired en masse if they refuse to be vaccinated.

Biden’s response to the question was applauded by the CNN audience, as if to say “Freedom Pfff, that is so last century.” And he reduced any vaccine refusals to claiming “I have the freedom to kill you with my COVID.”

He is not alone in such rhetoric. Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared that police officers refusing to take vaccines are insurrectionists.

The problem is that the courts already recognize some religious exemption arguments. Those arguments are based on both the constitutional protection of religious values but also laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §2000e-2(a), which declares unlawful any “employment practice for an employer … to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of such individual’s … religion.”

The federal government also is subject to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which prohibits the government and other covered entities like the District of Columbia from “substantially burden[ing]” a person’s exercise of religion. Under RFRA, there is no “Come on, man,” defense. Instead, the federal government must show that the burden imposed furthers a “compelling governmental interest” and is “the least restrictive means” of furthering that interest.

There is a move in many states to refuse to allow such exemptions, but courts have pushed back. In New York, the state is appealing a preliminary injunction against its refusal to allow religious exemptions to its vaccine mandate. A lower court found the governor’s mandate “has effectively foreclosed the pathway to seeking a religious accommodation that is guaranteed under Title VII.”

Likewise, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals this month affirmed such a preliminary injunction against Western Michigan University. The university allowed students to ask for individual exemptions but failed to grant religious exemptions under its discretionary policy.

The issue reached the Supreme Court this week when health workers challenged a similar law in Maine allowing for medical but not religious exemptions. Justice Stephen Breyer rejected an emergency motion but too much has been made over that order, which was not based on the merits of the claim. The appellate court was already expediting review of the case, and the dismissal was “without prejudice.” The health care workers can refile if circumstances change or if the appellate court rules against them.  They also can refile if the lower court has not reached a decision by Oct. 29, when the vaccine requirement is scheduled to go into effect.

Previously in the term, Justice Amy Coney Barrett similarly declined to grant a request for emergency relief on behalf of eight students at Indiana University against a vaccine mandate. That mandate previously was upheld by conservative Judge Frank Easterbrook, who wrote for an unanimous Seventh Circuit panel that “each university may decide what is necessary to keep other students safe in a congregate setting.” He cited the Supreme Court’s 1905 ruling in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, upholding a state small pox vaccine mandate. However, there was one major difference in Klaassen v. Trustees of Indiana University: Indiana University allows for medical or religious exemptions.

Various commentators and activists are pushing states to follow the lead of New York and refuse to recognize any religious objections to vaccines. This week, Jessica Levinson, a clinical professor of law at Loyola Marymount Law School in Los Angeles, wrote a column for MSNBC entitled “Covid Vaccine Religious Exemptions Should Not Exist.” Professor Levinson, however, refutes an argument not made in these cases. Courts have long rejected the notion that “each person would be in charge of which laws she wanted to comply with and when.” In 1990, it was Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon, who wrote the opinion rejecting the use of peyote under religious claims.

Levinson quotes the Supreme Court from an 1879 case, asking: “Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship; would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice?” It was a curious choice of support. The question was asked in Reynolds vs. United States, one of the most religiously intolerant opinions in Supreme Court history. Most people would recoil from the prejudice that comes out of the case, which denounces the Mormon church for adopting a practice “almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and of African people.”

Ironically, Reynolds defended Western and Christian morality against non-Christian values.

Professor Levinson is correct, of course, that religious claims are balanced against the interests of the state in public health cases. That, however, is precisely what these litigants are seeking to raise. Most states allow for such exemptions while many private employers impose alternative measures, such as daily testing or remote-working conditions. States like Maine and New York offer no recognition, let alone accommodation, for religious objections to the Covid vaccine.

Again, religious objections can be recognized as valid but still fail to overcome countervailing arguments or simple accommodations. In Boston, for example, a Muslim objected to the flu vaccine in 2011 due to the use of pork ingredients; the hospital prevailed because it offered a vaccine free of such ingredients.

Moreover, even if there are exemptions to vaccines, it does not mean people cannot face other limitations, like remote learning or workplace conditions. The point is simple: Just as religious individuals do not have the absolute right to refuse any obligation as citizens, governments do not have an absolute right to impose any obligations on citizens.

Vaccines seem to have become the latest battleground for our age of rage; there is little willingness to recognize countervailing arguments or values. People who object to vaccines are deemed “insurrectionists,” while raising religious freedoms is now likened to claiming “the freedom to kill you with my COVID.”

It is the same dismissive response that is often given to objections under other rights like free speech: Those are just abstractions. As Biden said in an earlier call for greater censorship, free speech is “killing people,” so come on, man.

The categorical rejection of any religious-exemption case runs against the grain of the Constitution as well as federal statutes. If the Justice Department goes into court with the president’s dismissive position, it could find itself on the wrong side of the next “Come on, man,” moment.

154 thoughts on “Biden’s “Come on, Man” Defense Will Not Fly on Religious Freedom”

  1. “The problem is that the courts already recognize some religious exemption arguments.”

    And not a single one of those cases involves a person putting other people in danger with their religious exemption. Which is why the Pope himself has provided no comfort to those saying they are Catholic and they worry about possible fetal tissue being used in creating the vaccines. Basically, the Pope knows how far he can push people. Others are determined to figure out that a 2000-year-old institution knows how to survive, the hard way.

  2. Why do people not part of the corrupt media and government keep trying to act like this experimental gene therapy is key to stopping this alleged virus? FACTS show that people that have got jabbed are still getting sick, still going to the hospital, still dying, and are still passing it to people. Even those that the covidian cultists deem as “experts” in the cdc and the like ADMIT this so the cultists can’t even try and claim it is just a “conspiracy theory” when people present them with these facts. To deny these FACTS is to deny 2+2=4. Even the UK recently released a chart that showed the infection rate of jabbed people per 100k is higher for all age groups over 18 than it is for the un-jabbed. If this “vaccine” were actually doing what people are being gaslit it does, they wouldn’t need to start pumping people full of boosters. The fact is that any alleged good efficacy it has only lasts for about a month and then it drops and drops until it’s damn near useless after around 6-7 months, hence again, the push for boosters. This is a FACT. There is no denying it unless one wishes to deny 2+2=4.

    Is it simply a case that people are really this brainwashed or scared that their brains refuse to accept reality or is it a case of mass cognitive dissonance where deep down they know they got had on this farce of a “vaccine” but simply can’t come out and accept that?

    Futhermore, if this virus does indeed exist, why do people think it will just magically go away if more people get jabbed? It’s basically a new flu and people need to accept that reality. The flu has never been wiped out and this won’t either. When something has spread throughout the world and as many cases as this has, it can’t be contained, especially when your supposed lie of defense is a “vaccine” that doesn’t actually do anything. For people to keep thinking they can wipe it out shows the insane level of human ignorance and hubris that is so prevalent in this world these days. You see it too with how some people think they can control the weather, especially fi they tax more wealthy nations. I gather this is just the outcome that happens when a species by and large has turned away from believing there is a God and instead think they are gods.

    I also don’t know why people keep trying to deny the potential dangers of it. Even VAERS which PEOPLE IN THE HOSPITAL INDUSTRY ADMIT IS VERY UNDERREPORTED has posted that more people have died from this “vaccine” this year (up to I think 15 or 16k that have been posted) than all other vaccines COMBINED over the last 30 years and again, that’s under-reported. Just think about that: there are already more deaths form this jab in 9 months than every other vaccine combined over at least the last three decades. How does that not get alarm bells going off in one’s brain? There’s also been hundreds of thousands of serious side effect cases, many that will be life-long. Europe is just as bad and all this is going to get worse going forward. So many people really have no idea what is about to happen because they’re living with some normalcy bias as they’ve never seen something like this so they just can’t believe it could ever happen but it is.

    Just when will people wake up? Will it actually take tens of millions or hundreds of millions of jabbed people (especially younger and healthy people) dying or becoming severely crippled over the next few years for people to finally see the light? I realize it can hurt when one finds out they were lied to by people they felt they could trust and they want to deny the truth and stick with the lie but people need to wake up. Mark my words: people are going to see just how horrible and criminal this all was within the next few years as the all cause mortality rate skyrockets for demographics that should otherwise be seen as healthy, like they always have been. That’s the thing people don’t get- the jab’s danger isn’t just simply something that may kill you within a week or two from getting it. It is something that can mess someone up and cause them to die early down the line and the cause of death when that happens won’t be tied back to this jab but it is the jab that will have done it. Will people realize this when teens and 20 year olds start dying from things like sudden heart attacks over the next few years? What about when more people find out they are sterile or more have their pregnancies terminated, two other known side effects of this? Will people finally realize then? Will they finally say to themselves “wow, we should have listened to the warnings back in 2021 and not mocked those trying to warn us”

    It’s sad to see what is going on and what seems like mass psychosis taking a hold of the world. It’s also sad seeing that this criminal insanity is going to spread to young children, our most innocent of people, and people that do NOT deserve to have their lives lost or ruined because of adults being brainwashed and refusing to accept reality. May God have mercy on humanity for what it is in the process of doing and what it is about to do to those innocent children….and to those parents that are going to willingly allow their child to get jabbed and find out they destroyed their child’s life or caused it to end, you best be ready to answer to your maker of why you let that happen. Ignorance will not be an excuse that will fly with Him when that time comes.

    1. %100 John^. This is a rapidly becoming the likes with which no one has seen, a human tragedy if not stopped in it’s tracks now.

      1. We potentially have a more serious problem coming.

        We are increasingly being prepared for the very real possibility that C19 will become endemic.

        If that occurs it will be BECAUSE of the very policies we used to try to thwart it.

        Go to JHU or nearly every other site and region by region we get multiple humps in the trajectory of the virus.
        The primary cause of this is the curve flattening of our public polices.

        We KNOW that the effacacy of vaccine immunity declines over time – and that time is short.

        Had we let C19 burn through the world unthwarted, we would have had large numbers of infections and deaths and C19 would have burned out in less than a year.

        By “flattening the curve” we are increasing the odds that immunity fades before the virus dies out naturally.

        We could now see C19 return every winter.

  3. No level of government has authority to mandate any form or fashion of healthcare.

    Congress is provided no power to mandate any form or fashion of healthcare.

    No evidence can be produced proving homicide by Covid-19; privacy cannot be violated without probable cause.

    The “necessary and proper” clause applies ONLY to “…the foregoing Powers [enumerated in Article 1, Section 8], and all other Powers vested by the Constitution….”

    “Emergency powers” do not exist; implied “emergency powers” are not valid and carry no weight or force.

    Habeas corpus may only be suspended under a condition of rebellion or [military] invasion.

    Heathcare provision is reserved to the people.

    10th Amendment

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    1. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
      –Benjamin Franklin

      “There is no justification for taking away individuals freedom in the guise of public safety”
      –Thomas Jefferson

      “When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty“
      —Thomas Jefferson

  4. How many religious objections are there to the measles vaccine? Why are there so many more religious objections to the Covid vaccine?

    It is because, in large part, the religious objections to the Covid vaccine are not real religious objections. People just don’t want to get it because of some bogus claim Trump/Tucker/Breitbart/some guy on facebook made.

    1. [Intelligent] people don’t want to take these shots because of information in documents like this. This is likely beyond your capability to process but give it a try.
      Worse Than the Disease? Reviewing Some Possible Unintended Consequences of the mRNA Vaccines Against COVID-19

      Stephanie Seneff 1 and Greg Nigh 2
      1-Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT, Cambridge MA, 02139, USA, Email:
      2-Naturopathic Oncology, Immersion Health, Portland, OR 97214, USA

      Operation Warp Speed brought to market in the United States two mRNA vaccines, produced by Pfizer and Moderna. Interim data suggested high efficacy for both of these vaccines, which helped legitimize Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA. However, the exceptionally rapid movement of these vaccines through controlled trials and into mass deployment raises multiple safety concerns. In this review we first describe the technology underlying these vaccines in detail. We then review both components of and the intended biological response to these vaccines, including production of the spike protein itself, and their potential relationship to a wide range of both acute and long-term induced pathologies, such as blood disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and autoimmune diseases. Among these potential induced pathologies, we discuss the relevance of prion-protein-related amino acid sequences within the spike protein. We also present a brief review of studies supporting the potential for spike protein “shedding”, transmission of the protein from a vaccinated to an unvaccinated person, resulting in symptoms induced in the latter. We finish by addressing a common point of debate, namely, whether or not these vaccines could modify the DNA of those receiving the vaccination. While there are no studies demonstrating definitively that this is happening, we provide a plausible scenario,
      supported by previously established pathways for transformation and transport of genetic material, whereby injected mRNA could ultimately be incorporated into germ cell DNA for transgenerational transmission. We conclude with our recommendations regarding surveillance that will help to clarify the long-term effects of these experimental drugs and allow us to better assess the true risk/benefit ratio of these novel technologies.

      Experimental mRNA vaccines have been heralded as having the potential for great benefits, but they also harbor the possibility of potentially tragic and even catastrophic unforeseen consequences. The mRNA vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 have been implemented with great fanfare, but there are many aspects of their widespread utilization that merit concern. We have reviewed some, but not all, of those concerns here, and we want to emphasize that these concerns are potentially serious and might not be evident for years or even transgenerationally. In order to adequately rule out the adverse potentialities described in this paper, we recommend, at a minimum, that the following research and surveillance practices be adopted:

    2. Setting aside sincere religious objections, how about bogus claims, such as:

      This shot is in response to an illness with a 99.8% survival rate, and far better than that if you are not elderly or obese. Few than 700 children under 18 have died during the entire duration of the pandemic, most of them with pre-existing comorbidities.

      Those who get the shot can still contract, spread or die from the disease.

      More people have died from reactions to this shot than from all previous vaccines combined.

      The shot is effective for 5 months or so, so this is a lifelong cycle of shots.

      Anyone who says they know the longterm health effects of this shot is a liar.

    3. People just don’t want to get it [vaccinated] because of some bogus claim… — Not Real Religious Objections

      Some of us simply don’t want to be lab rats. You are free to participate — have at.

      As far as why there are “so many more religious objections to the Covid vaccine”, I would argue that people want to keep their jobs while remaining unvaccinated, obviously. They’ve been placed in a no-win situation by Biden and their employers, so they are attempting to use the game’s existing rules, one of which is the religious exemption, to remain employed.

      That you do not recognize the threats both the mRNA vaccines and vaccine mandates pose to one’s health and well-being indicates you are not a thinking, serious person.

    4. I guess the 1st time you go out as a landlord to collect the payment & the borrower threatens your bodily autonomy with a syringe, maybe then you might start understand the charges that any local DA or state AG can level against anyone/govt & then there’s that whole Nuremberg, article 1, reduxe, #2 thing that’s already being drawn up.

    5. “” How many religious objections are there to the measles aka: MMR, vaccine””

      Hell Yes!!!

      And it’s far worst then that.

  5. Covid vaccines do not stop the spread- fact. Vaccinated people are still getting and spreading disease to others- fact. If they truly worked for stopping the spread the vaccine mandates might have legs to stand on for protecting others, but they do not.

      1. Anonymous:

        Actually, the CDC sent out a statement that vaccinated people can not only spread Covid, but they can be superspreaders, as well. Vaccinated people might not understand they can still get these new variants of Covid. If they have mild symptoms, they might think they just have a cold, and go on about their day, spreading Covid.

        That’s why the CDC went back to recommending universal masking.

        There is no difference in viral load between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated who have Covid.

        SARS-CoV2 generates many variants in its replication process. Immunity selects for variants that can bypass it. It’s very disappointing to learn this virus cannot be driven to extinction through vaccination like Smallpox.

        “The viral load of vaccinated people with breakthrough cases is the same as in unvaccinated people, the CDC said Friday.

        “High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “This finding is concerning and was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation. The masking recommendation was updated to ensure the vaccinated public would not unknowingly transmit virus to others, including their unvaccinated or immunocompromised loved ones.””

  6. Lead, Follow, Or Get Outta The Way

    To date the United States has lost 756,000 lives to Covid. That toll is far greater than our total deaths from any single war.

    The financial costs of shutting down this country, for the quarantine, was equal to a major war. And the perils remain. We are far from the point of putting this pandemic behind us.

    The Covid crisis ‘is’ a war in terms of financial burdens and lives lost. Yet Republicans feel that culture battles should take priority. Like we should let this pandemic become a new normal because ‘personal freedoms’ and ‘religious exemptions’ are more important fights.

    1. You know those numbers are bunk right? They lie about death certificates and they dont report to VAERS. We also know if they do report a death and its within 14 days of vaccination there is a HIGH chance its wrongfully counted as unvaccinated.

    2. If you are talking about a culture war to protect individual freedom. I’m 100% in favor of that war.
      The decision is for the individual consulting with their doctor who knows their health status, not a bureaucrat with no knowledge of the patients health nor medical history.
      If it is a religious reason that needs to be defended as well. It’s not a menu to pick and choose it is either defended or surrendered.

      1. Tony, should we let the Covid threat linger for years to accommodate ‘personal freedoms’? Can we, as a nation, no longer cooperate to fight a national crisis? And how long can the U.S. remain a world power if Americans value personal freedom more than national interest?

        1. Yes, from the start government should have mostly ignored Covid. Nothing they have done has worked all that well.

          No we can not as a nation co-operate to fight covid – that would presume that defeating covid was possible, It is not.

          Wise public health expecrts understood when it turned out that covid had a transmission rate of 2.5-3.8 (and double that for delta), that it was unstoppable.

          We have never defeated a respiratory virus before – much less one this contageous.


          That is it, that is the core to “the american way”

          “Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace.
          The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash
          of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that
          gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the
          price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but
          as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

          Patrick Henry

        1. Who says North Korea is a bad place to live.


          ATS seems to like it. He seems to want it here.

    3. Gee, it’s almost like letting in 2 million illegal border crossings, many of whom were sick with Covid, was a bad idea.

      1. Karen, show us articles, from established sources, verifying that 2 million number and the ratios of infected people.

        Logically, a walk across Mexico would be pretty tough for people infected with covid. From what I’ve heard, people with covid can barely get out of bed.

        1. Anonymous:

          Why should I keep doing your research for you, when all you do is ignore it?

          This is readily available for you to find from a variety reputable sources. You might also be interested to learn that the largest migrant caravan in history is currently walking across Mexico. It is comprised of people from all over the world, including Haiti and South America. I saw a video of them. They covered all 3 lanes of a road, and the line of them stretched back as far as the eye can see. It is inconceivable numbers that will further overwhelm our border system.

          Allowing in masses of illegal aliens from all over the world, given the rapidly evolving SARS-CoV2 variants, is foolish negligence. It certainly isn’t leadership. It’s not fair to the legal immigrants who followed our laws and spent the time going through the system. It enriches violent drug cartels who now handle the human smuggling. The flood of ESL learners typically go to lower funded rural and city schools who cannot handle that level, lowering the quality of education for everyone. Terrorists have been caught among the illegal crossings. How many did we not catch?

          Utter madness. Democrats are out of their minds if they keep pretending they’re not for open borders. The entire globe knows they’re for open borders. That’s why the illegal caravans say that Biden told them they could come.

          We’ll never get a handle on Covid as long as we keep importing enormous masses of new infections.

          One of my relatives lives in Canada. She has to undergo strict testing and quarantine procedures to return to Canada after visiting the US. Canada changed its tune about allowing illegal immigration rather quickly when they started receiving minuscule caravans demanding asylum. I’d love to see how they’d handle a couple million in one year.

          Biden apparently thinks Trump was right that walls help keep out trespassers, because he’s building one at his own home.

          If you want massive illegal immigration, public schools teaching your kids that white children are born oppressors and black children are born victims, and government abuse of power, vote Democrat.

    4. The CDC counted 375k deaths attributed to Covid in 2020. The USA is on track to meet or exceed that number in 2021, DESPITE THE SO-CALLED “VACCINE” SHOTS! [lol] That certainly proves that these shots don’t do much at all, which should be considered a failure for Fauci and the CDC Director.

      Further, even if the number you quote is accurate, that is still less than 0.25% of the total population of the USA. It’s an effective rounding error and worth very little attention or comment in the aggregate.

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