I was born in the American Midwest to blue-collar parents who instilled in me the courtesy to avoid speaking about race, religion, politics, or money around the social water coolers of American business.
The coronavirus has destroyed those once noble goals, but we could benefit anew from an open, civil dialogue.
I am a Gulf War era Honorably Discharged United States Marine Corps Veteran who benefitted from the U.S. GI Bill to become a Registered Nurse over 20 years ago, and I was suspended from the work I’m passionate about last week simply due to my constitutionally-protected, sincerely held religious beliefs. In 2020, I was an essential worker reprocessing PPE after a tornado in Nashville destroyed most of the product on hand, and today I face unemployment, career change, and widespread political and institutional biases solely based upon my informed conscience.
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American businesses have an obligation to accommodate employees' sincerely held religious beliefs under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964). A sincerely held religious belief includes consideration of my informed conscience-derived religious objections toward vaccination.
This is nothing new to me and exemption efforts to date have been summarily denied based on what appears to be a more biased, public relations campaign to state publicly that hospitals are 100 percent vaccinated. All for the simple cost of discarding thousands of professionals during the waning days of a global pandemic. A gentle reminder, during which we selflessly fought alongside each of you to passionately ensure our joint success in caring for the communities within which we live and serve.
The socially-driven trolls will berate me over this letter as we share different belief systems. I believe in the sanctity of life and avoid condoning abortion or the use of products derived from fetal stem cell lines.
This is acceptable to my informed conscience, but does not preclude you from exercising your inalienable rights to select what works best under the laws of this nation. In fact, this is part of how a democracy works.
At the end of the day, please know that I clearly understand the risks of daily death and I simply ask that you accept my independent healthcare decisions, regardless of your views. This is my choice to make, not my employer’s, and in turn I accept the choice that’s best for you.
As coronaviruses will likely evolve and elude outright eradication by big pharma for years to come, it’s high time we resume an unbiased, goals-oriented civil dialogue of the parameters required to wind down the global pandemic. These include deriving international definitions for when these events will revert to our new ‘normal’ life. Which again, will be primarily controlled by the public’s inconsistent hand and respiratory hygiene practices.
To corporate America, it may take some time to forgive the biased actions toward implementing these vaccine mandates, but these policy choices made in the public’s interest should not preclude workers who are ready to resume the work they love tomorrow.
Jason Ellis lives in Gulf Breeze.
This article originally appeared on Northwest Florida Daily News: My religious beliefs should exempt me from COVID vaccine | Guestview