Biden showing 'religious hostility' toward SEALs at center of vax mandate suit: Attorney

Judge issues injunction, siding with Navy SEALs in vax mandate suit

First Liberty Institute general counsel Michael Berry joins ‘The Story’ with reaction

President Joe Biden and his Pentagon leadership are portraying “religious hostility” toward American service members who do not want to submit to an injection of a coronavirus vaccine as a stipulation of their continuing service, an attorney for a group of Navy SEALs who won an injunction against the administration in that regard this week told Fox News exclusively on Tuesday.

Michael Berry, an Afghan war veteran and general counsel for First Liberty Institute, told “The Story” in an exclusive interview that the written decision from the George W. Bush-appointed judge in the case was a powerful rebuke of those hostilities.

“First Liberty Institute argued in court and the court held that’s what this is: It’s trampling all over the constitutional rights of our service members,” Berry said of the case, U.S. Navy SEALs 1-26 vs Joseph R. Biden Jr.,

“When the military allows hundreds, possibly thousands of medical exemptions, administrative exemptions but doesn’t grant a single religious exemption, the only way to describe that is just blatant religious hostility,” he added. 

“It’s unconstitutional, violates federal law and, again, we’re thrilled that the court agreed with us and ruled against the Navy and against the Department of Defense, and we’ll see where it goes from here.”

FILE – This May 4, 2020, photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows SEAL candidates participating in "surf immersion" during Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training at the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Center in Coronado, Calif. U.S. Navy SEALs are undergoing a major transition to improve leadership and expand their commando capabilities. (MC1 Anthony Walker/U.S. Navy via AP)

The SEALs in the suit are members of various Christian denominations, while the main defendant, Biden, self-identifies as a Roman Catholic.

The temporary injunction, handed down by U.S. District Judge Reed Charles O’Connor in Texas, said, “the Navy service members in this case seek to vindicate the very freedoms they have sacrificed so much to protect.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic provides the government no license to abrogate those freedoms. There is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment,” O’Connor wrote in his ruling. “There is no military exclusion from our Constitution.”

Berry told host Martha MacCallum that every one of the plaintiffs in the case has a unique individual religious belief, as well as the right to hold and exercise that belief — no matter Biden’s or the Pentagon’s view.

“Many of them object to the fact that the vaccine was tested or developed or produced using aborted fetal cells. Others prayed to God [and said] ‘God, what do you want me to do? And God said no.’”

“It would violate their conscience and religious convictions to get the vaccine. Under the law, that is absolutely protected in this country.”

One year ago, Biden told Fox News that COVID vaccines should not be mandatory, telling White House correspondent Peter Doocy at the time that he “wouldn’t demand it to be mandatory.”

“I would do everything in my power, just like I don’t think masks have to be made mandatory nationwide — I’ll do everything in my power as the President of the United States to encourage people to do the right thing, and when they do it, demonstrate that it matters,” the Wilmington Democrat said.

A major who spoke to Fox News Digital on the condition of anonymity described the military’s vaccine mandate as “an unconstitutional edict that I think is very targeted as a political purge, taking out some of the best and brightest soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and guardians from the Space Force.”

Admiral John Kirby, Biden’s Pentagon spokesman, denied the DoD’s policy has anything “to do with trampling on the religious liberties of men and women in uniform.”

Fox News’ Jon Brown contributed to this report.

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