A group of students is suing their Catholic University for refusing to grant religious exemptions to the school’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate.
On September 8th, four students filed a lawsuit against Creighton University claiming that the school violates student’s religious freedoms by refusing to provide a religious exemption to the Covid-19 vaccine. The lawsuit charges Creighton with “arbitrary and disparate treatment of students and violates religious freedoms.”
A press release from the student’s legal representation stated that the school set a deadline of September 7th for students to submit proof of vaccination to the school. This mandate applies to all Creighton students, including those who exclusively attend online classes. According to the school, those who refused to present proof of vaccination by the September 7th deadline would be “administratively withdrawn from the school.”
Initially, the school issued religious exemptions to students when the vaccines were under Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA), however, the religious exemption was removed once the Pfizer vaccine was granted full FDA approval on August 23rd. Once the approval was in place, the school informed students that they must get the jab or withdraw from the university.
After the September 8th deadline came around, students who failed to submit proof of vaccination began receiving notifications that their school account had been placed on hold. Some students were informed that they would not be able to attend classes until they filed their vaccination records.
The lawsuit states that the students “feel that they are being pressured and coerced to a receive a vaccination that they do not want” through the university’s policies. Currently, Creighton is the only university in the Big East Conference that does not permit religious exemptions, except for the University of Connecticut, which dubs religious exemptions as “personal exemptions.”
Attorney Robert Sullivan, who is representing the students, said in a statement: “A Catholic university should never be placing its students in such a position where they may be required to violate the teachings of the Church.”
Lauren Ramaekers, one of the students suing the university, who is the president of the Students for Life club at Creighton, said that she cannot in good conscience take the vaccine “because of the use of abortion-derived fetal cells in the research and development of the vaccines.”
“…the use of fetal tissue, fetal cells, or any ‘product’ of abortion in the development and/or testing of a vaccine or any other medical treatment, is abhorrent to me.
“This is a sincerely held religious belief, which impacts my moral and ethical views of the world.”
According to Nebraska Medicine, the Covid-19 vaccines do not “contain any aborted fetal cells,” though fetal cell lines were “used in testing during research and development of the mRNA vaccines and during [the] production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”
Catholics have been divided over the issue of receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, though there is no dispute that abortion is “immoral and contrary” to Catholic doctrine. The Vatican recently issued a statement declaring that it is morally acceptable for Catholics to take vaccines even if they use cell lines created from aborted babies because of the vaccines’ life-saving impact. However, others argue that any link to vaccines and abortions cannot be justified in any way.
The university’s website states that vaccinations are not mandated for faculty and staff, instead they are “strongly encouraged to be vaccinated.” It seems there is one rule for the students and another for staff.
Creighton has issued a warning stating: “Students participating in an on-campus program without verified Covid-19 vaccination documentation (or an approved exemption) may be subject to unenrollment.”
It’s disturbing to see universities in the US introducing vaccination mandates such as these, without providing students with any opportunity for religious or personal exemptions. After all, it seems you can no longer have access to education without submitting to the jab…
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