The Secularist Gall of the Biden Administration - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Secularist Gall of the Biden Administration
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“By the end of January 2022, the Navy had received 3,740 religious exemption requests — none of which had been granted,” reports the Daily Mail. Not even military chaplains can get exemptions. “It’s a kick in the gut for sure,” a long-serving anonymous chaplain told Fox News. “If I lose retirement benefits that way, that would be a pretty significant burden to me and my family. At the same time, this is a fight worth fighting. I do not think this is a lawful order.”

The Biden administration claims that this violation of religious freedom is essential to “military readiness.” That takes some gall, given the myriad threats to military readiness Biden has already countenanced. He can accommodate transgendered troops but not unvaccinated ones. For the sake of advancing woke social policy, his politicized generals normally treat miliary readiness as a secondary concern. It is a little late for them to pretend that readiness exclusively determines military standards.

Their mission is to make the acceptance of secularism a condition for employment in the federal government and military.

Far from caring about America’s ability to fight and win wars, Biden is perfectly willing to drive good soldiers out of the military in his pursuit of wokeness and mandates. The Navy SEALs who sued his administration say that the military has sidelined and punished them in response to the suit. “The Navy continues to deny our clients training and deployment opportunities and is assigning these soldiers menial tasks instead of allowing them to defend our country,” according to Mike Berry, general counsel for First Liberty Institute who represents them.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army and other branches of the military have begun discharging soldiers who refuse the vaccine.

As if the Biden administration’s record on religious freedom isn’t dreadful enough, it is moving to create an Orwellian-sounding database that tracks federal employees who seek religious exemptions from the vaccine mandate, according to the Daily Signal. “A little digging at the Federal Register revealed that there are at least 19 total federal agencies — including five cabinet level agencies — that have created or proposed to create these tracking lists for religious-exemption requests from their employees,” it reports.

Republican lawmakers are demanding answers about this emerging database, but they won’t get any. Imagine the corrupt uses to which Biden’s secularists could put it. Their mission is to make the acceptance of secularism and all of its decrees a condition for employment in the federal government and military. They see devout Christians in particular as bad citizens, unworthy of participation in public life. It is hardly a stretch to think those whose names appear in the database could suffer long-term damage to their careers. (READ MORE: HHS, the Tip on Biden’s Spear Against Christians)

The media has, of course, yawned at this story. Threats to religious freedom don’t interest most reporters. Biden is even more brazen than Obama, but the media coverage never reflects that. In the midst of all of his assaults on religious freedom, Biden turned up at the National Prayer Breakfast last week and received fawning coverage. He concluded his speech by saying, “Every time I’d walk out of my Grandpa Finnegan’s house up in Scranton — some of you heard me say this before — he’d yell, ‘Joey, keep the faith.’ My grandmother would yell, ‘No, Joey, spread it.’ Let’s go spread the faith.”

Never mind that he is crushing the faith. His Department of Health and Human Services continues to push a proposed mandate that would force religious health insurers to cover transgender surgeries. Mutilation, according to the Biden administration, is “essential” health care, which speaks to the utterly corrupt philosophy of medicine that underpins all of its mandates. It sees vast “risks” in the unvaccinated while seeing no risks in destroying bodies or aborting children. It is bad enough that the Biden administration expects non-religious insurers to cover these violations of the Hippocratic Oath, but now it can’t even resist imposing these affronts to God on religious insurers.

It can’t even resist imposing these affronts to God on religious insurers.

Biden’s secularists, wanting to monopolize all of public life, have a fundamental antipathy to “exemptions.” On their animal farm, no one is free to leave. Their progressive schemes hinge on universal participation, which in the end means universal coercion. To the extent that they will even consider exemptions, they do so only for those who promise to avoid or leave public life. Only the most narrowly sectarian groups received an exemption from Obama’s infamous contraceptive mandate. But the Little Sisters of the Poor, because they show charity to non-Catholics, got hit with it.

But even the exceedingly narrow exemptions of the Obama years won’t last given the totalitarian bent of modern secularism. Its architects can’t rest until everything is secularized. If somebody, somewhere is foiling their vision, they move into action, faking up some “public health” or “nondiscrimination” rationale for their intolerance and intrusiveness. If anything, the smallness of the threat — a handful of unvaccinated soldiers, a lone holdout chaplain, some religious hospitals, and so forth — seems to inflame the secularists. Like Soviet commissars obsessing over the rare dissident, the secularists must punish in particular the few exceptions to their rule.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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