Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Asbury Theological Seminary, both in Kentucky, filed a petition Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit to challenge the Biden administration private employer vaccine mandate.
The mandate requires all private employers of 100 or more employees to force unvaccinated employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, be subject to weekly testing and masking requirements, or lose their job. ADF attorneys will also ask the court to halt enforcement of the mandate while the litigation moves forward.
“The Biden administration’s decision to mandate vaccines through an OSHA emergency rule is unlawful and compels employers like our clients to intrude on their employees’ personal health decisions and divert resources from their important mission of training future ministers,” said ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Bangert. “The government has no authority to unilaterally treat unvaccinated employees like workplace hazards or to compel employers to become vaccine commissars, and we are asking the 6th Circuit to put a stop to it immediately. We are honored to represent these two theological seminaries at this critical time and help ensure they can continue to serve their students and communities without government interference.”
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The lawsuit, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary v. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, alleges that the Biden administration lacks jurisdiction to dictate employment practices to religious institutions, lacks constitutional and statutory authority to issue the employer mandate, and that the mandate failed to meet the required procedural hurdles. In short, the federal government cannot coerce individuals nationwide to undergo medical treatment, and it lacks authority to conscript employers to compel that result. The lawsuit takes no position on any COVID-19 vaccine or whether any person should make the personal decision to receive it.
“It is unacceptable for the government to force religious institutions to become coercive extensions of state power. We have no choice but to push back against this intrusion of the government into matters of conscience and religious conviction,” said Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “This institution exists for the purpose of educating ministers for churches. This seminary must not be forced to stand in for the government in investigating the private health decisions of our faculty and employees in a matter involving legitimate religious concerns. We are glad to join with Asbury Theological Seminary in taking a stand against government coercion. The fact that the largest U.S. seminaries of the Baptist and Methodist traditions are here standing together against this mandate should send a clear and urgent message to Christians and to the nation. I am thankful for the excellent work of Alliance Defending Freedom as they present our petition to the court.”