If either you or a loved one is applying for a religious exemption from an employer’s vaccine mandate, a letter from a pastor is not required! (See previous blog entry HERE )
Many employers, either ignorant of the law or ignoring the law, are asking for a pastoral letter anyway. Some employers may be attempting to engage in a sharp business practice by requiring the letter. They know that no major denomination objects to vaccinations and believe that you thus may not be able to get a letter from a pastor.
Whatever the case, if you are dealing with an employer that requires a pastoral letter, rather than take the time to educate your employer or to fight them legally, you might choose to just provide a letter from a pastor. To further this strategy, Liberty and Health Alliance has drafted a model letter. See sample letters on our Exemption-Resources page.
This letter will need to be customized to fit your specific situation. The letter is based on Seventh-day Adventist beliefs, but it can easily be customized to fit the needs of any Christian church.
If possible, it is better to have a local clergy submit the letter. First, it is better if the pastor submitting the letter has a personal relationship with you. Your employer is more likely to assume that your pastor knows you if your pastor is local. Second, in the unlikely event that your case results in litigation, it will be very helpful if your pastor is available to testify. This will be much easier if your pastor isn’t located across the country from you.
It is important for your pastor to be aware that he is not representing a church denomination’s view of vaccines when writing this letter. The sole purpose of the letter is to have a spiritual leader in the community who knows the applicant to simply vouch for the applicant’s sincerity in the applicant’s personally held religious belief. In front of the law, it does not matter if the applicant’s beliefs are different from the denominational beliefs. The only thing that matters is that the applicant has a sincerely held religious belief. It is irrelevant if the pastor’s or applicant’s denomination has taken a pro-vaccination position.