'Recipe for tyranny': Alarm sounded as Supremes refuse to hear vax mandate

 May 15, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

To the disappointment of many, the U.S. Supreme Court on April 29 announced its decision to deny the petition by 38 military chaplains to reinstate their case revolving around the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The case, Alvarado v. Austin, requested that the Supreme Court vacate the Fourth Circuit’s dismissal of the chaplains’ constitutional and statutory claims arising from damages for having requested a religious exemption to the now-rescinded military vaccine mandate.

Army Col. Brad Lewis, one of the chaplains in the case, told WND he was “disheartened” by the Supreme Court’s decision not to take up their case.

Prior to the high court’s decision, Lewis acknowledged that attorneys “worked the case very hard.” In fact, in addition to the team of attorneys on the case, he said other legal acquaintances considered the case a “slam dunk” and a “no brainer” for the Supreme Court.

So, when the Court refused to hear their case, Lewis immediately began to question: “What did we miss?” However, after giving it some thought, he concluded: “We didn’t miss anything.”

In the Army, explained Lewis, a service member who seeks “religious accommodation for anything must first talk to a chaplain about their faith.” The sincerity of the service member’s faith can often be determined at this time. As an example, he shared that “if a Jewish service member said his faith was very important to him, but never celebrated Passover or went to a synagogue, one would have reason to question the sincerity of his faith.” It’s the chaplain’s responsibility to make a specific determination about the sincerity of an individual’s faith. After an in-depth conversation or two about faith, he said, “on occasion, it can be determined that some may not be the most sincere.”

“But when it comes to a chaplain,” Lewis told WND, “we’ve dedicated our lives to faith.”

While he does not claim any sort of special dispensation, he does expect a chaplain like himself, or the others, to be held to a higher standard of sincere faith. “I put aside every possible vocation I could have taken, whether it was in the ministry or not, to become a chaplain” for the last 25 years, he said. “If this isn’t a measure of my sincerity, I don’t know what is.”

“What the government is doing is making a judgement call on the validity of my faith, not the sincerity of it,” Lewis argued. “When the government begins to be the arbiter of validity – the determiner of what is a valid faith and what is not a valid faith – there’s a violation of the Establishment Clause,” the constitutional provision granting free exercise of religion.

For Lewis, the Department of Defense is an “anti-religious organization that doesn’t care about people of faith.” This is a great concern for the chaplain, who plans to retire soon. “Without faith to serve as a moral and ethical guide, there’s no moral or ethical foundation for the application of our laws,” he said, lamenting that “there remains only a recipe for tyranny.”

“Because this is a constitutional issue,” he added, “the same issue has the ability to rear its head again in the future.” And sadly, he pointed out, “For the next generation of soldiers, there’s nothing stopping the Department of Defense from doing it again.”

For his immediate family and extended family who continue to serve in the military, he said, “I worry for them.”

Arthur A. Schulcz Sr., a retired Vietnam War veteran and lead attorney for the case, told WND, “The Alvardo legal team is examining ways to continue the case, despite the Supreme Court’s unconscionable denial of our petition.”

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