For Americans wary of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, like the sweeping requirements President Joe Biden announced Sept. 9, 2021, it seems there are plenty of leaders offering ways to get exemptions – especially religious ones.
No major organized religious group has officially discouraged the vaccine, and many, like the Catholic Church, have explicitly encouraged them. Yet pastors from New York to California have offered letters to help their parishioners – or sometimes anyone who asks – avoid the shots.
These developments point to deep confusion over how to win a religious exemption. So what are they, and is the government even required to offer the exemptions in the first place?