I was born in the American Midwest to blue-collar parents who instilled in me the courtesy of avoiding talking about race, religion, politics, or money around corporate American social water coolers.
The coronavirus has destroyed these once lofty goals, but we could benefit again from an open and civil dialogue.
I am an honorably discharged United States Marine Corps veteran from the Gulf War era who benefited from the US GI Bill to become a registered nurse over 20 years ago, and I was suspended from work which excites me last week simply because of my constitutionally-protected and sincere religious beliefs. In 2020, I was an essential worker reconditioning PPE after a tornado in Nashville destroyed most of the available product, and today I’m facing unemployment, career change, and political bias and widespread institutional statements solely based on my informed conscience.
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U.S. companies have an obligation to accommodate employees’ sincere religious beliefs under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964). Honest religious belief includes considering my religious objections based on an informed conscience to 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 PR campaign to publicly state that hospitals are 100% vaccinated. All for the simple cost of dismissing thousands of professionals during the final days of a global pandemic. A sweet reminder, in which we fought selflessly alongside each of you to passionately ensure our shared success in caring for the communities in which we live and serve.
Social trolls will scold me for this letter because 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, it’s part of how a democracy works.
In the end, please know that I clearly understand the risks of daily death and simply ask that you accept my independent healthcare decisions, regardless of your opinions. It is my choice to make, not that of my employer, and in return I accept the choice that suits you best.
As coronaviruses are likely to evolve and evade outright eradication by big pharma in the coming years, it is high time to resume an unbiased, goal-oriented civil dialogue of the parameters necessary to end the pandemic. world. These include deriving international definitions of when these events will return to our new “normal” life. Which, again, will be mostly controlled by the public’s inconsistent hand and respiratory hygiene practices.
For American companies, it may take some time to forgive the biased actions to implement these vaccination mandates, but these policy choices made in the public interest should not prevent workers who are ready to resume the job they love tomorrow.
JAsson Ellis lives in Gulf Breeze.
This article originally appeared in the Northwest Florida Daily News: My religious beliefs should exempt me from the COVID vaccine | guest view