Southern Illinois Healthcare Must Accept Religious Exemptions

Sep 22, 2021

CARBONDALE, IL – Liberty Counsel sent a demand letter to Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) on behalf of seven employees and numerous others who have been unlawfully denied religious exemption from the COVID shot mandate without explanation or ability to appeal. 

SIH advised its health care workers that their deadline to receive the first dose of a COVID-19 injection is September 24, 2021. SIH requires employees seeking religious exemption from the shot mandate to submit their requests on the specified form. In addition to requiring each employee’s personal statement explaining the employee’s religious objection to the injection, the form illegally demands that a third-party religious leader verify the sincerity of the employee’s beliefs and the employee’s membership “in good standing” of a religious organization. 

However, SIH does not inform its employees of the increasingly apparent policy of the SIH Exemption Committee and SIH Occupational Health & Safety to deny nearly all religious exemption requests without explanation. In addition, some employees have received religious exemptions based on the same reasons given by employees who have been denied. SIH does not provide any reasons for its denials and refuses to provide them even after employees have requested them. All this is an apparent attempt to hide its illegal reasons. 

SIH is unlawfully discriminating against some while treating others favorably, despite the employees submitting the required documentation of their sincerely held religious beliefs.

The health care workers that Liberty Counsel represents all included as grounds for their religious exemption requests their sincerely held religious beliefs against abortion and the connection of all available COVID injections to aborted fetal cell lines. In fact, all three of the currently available COVID injections are produced by, derived from, manufactured with, tested on, developed with, or otherwise connected to or “associated” with aborted fetal cell lines. 

These employees have sincerely held religious beliefs that life is sacred from the moment of conception and abortion is the murder of an innocent human in violation of Scripture. Many also hold sincere religious beliefs against taking any “vaccines” or taking those derived from aborted fetal cell lines or those sold by companies that profit from the sale of products derived from abortion. 

Illinois law dictates that employees at Southern Illinois Healthcare have the fundamental right to determine what medical care to accept and refuse. In fact, Illinois has a Health Care Right of Conscience Act that provides strong protection to all residents against discrimination based on health care choices. It states: “It shall be unlawful for any person, public or private institution, or public official to discriminate against any person in any manner, including but not limited to, licensing, hiring, promotion, or any other privileges, because of such person's conscientious refusal to receive, obtain, accept or participate in any way in any particular form of health care services contrary to his or her conscience” (emphasis added). 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Southern Illinois Healthcare must honor the religious exemptions of those employees who have already been denied based on this discriminatory treatment. This is a violation of both state and federal law. We will not allow the rights and free choice of these health care heroes to be violated.” 

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