Lankford Demands Transparency on Military Religious Accommodations

Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford has promised to dam Department of Defense nominees till President Joe Biden’s administration explains the tens of hundreds of spiritual lodging requests it by no means granted and even answered.

“This isn’t over,” Lankford informed The Day by day Sign on Monday night throughout a press name.

The senator emphasised that the Division of Protection has had an outlined course of for making selections on spiritual lodging, and that it has made such selections for the previous two centuries. But hundreds of service members haven’t been informed whether or not their spiritual exemptions to the COVID-19 mandate will probably be granted — and lots of have been denied.

“This one simply appears to be hanging on the market,” he added, calling the Protection Division’s failure to cope with the matter “absurd.”

Statistics from the U.S. Army, for instance, present that 4,440 energetic Military members requested everlasting spiritual exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine (this determine doesn’t embrace Military Nationwide Guard or Military Reserve). The Military solely authorized 119 of them, and rejected 1,797. The Military didn’t instantly tackle to The Day by day Sign what was happening with the opposite 2,524 requests.

The Air Pressure has solely granted 200 approvals out of 11,000 spiritual lodging requests, spokeswoman Ann Stefanek informed The Day by day Sign on Tuesday.

As soon as he has obtained solutions from the Biden administration on why the DOD both by no means answered or granted the tens of hundreds of spiritual lodging requests to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Lankford intends to “end the method,” the senator mentioned. He plans to ask about reparations for households who’ve incurred egregious medical or authorized payments because of the mandate.

“I’ve demanded solutions on why the Biden admin has granted nearly not one of the hundreds of spiritual exemption requests for navy vaccine mandates,” he mentioned earlier this month. “With no ample response, I introduced a maintain on DOD nominees. Partial concessions within the NDAA received’t be sufficient – we want the reality.”

Lankford, who’s a member of the Senate Homeland Safety and Governmental Affairs Committee, has repeatedly raised considerations in regards to the therapy of service members who selected to not get vaccinated. In August, he despatched a letter to Division of Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin expressing considerations about “deplorable dwelling situations for service members who’ve spiritual objections to the COVID vaccine.”

“At greatest, these experiences display your lack of take care of the service members you lead,” he warned. “At worst, it demonstrates an energetic distain for and hostility towards them.”

“Sailors recount being transferred to dwelling quarters lined in mould, sewage, and with no entry to wash or working water,” the senator defined. “One sailor testified to organisms dwelling within the stagnant water that surrounds her lavatory. Photograph proof revealed unlivable situations that no individual must be subjected to, not to mention our women and men in uniform. These situations render that of an authoritarian and abusive authorities, which falls far under the usual of the navy of the best nation on earth.”  

In September, an internal memo obtained by Military.com instructed that the navy might have been quickly and carelessly denying spiritual exemptions, glancing over the exemption requests for just a few minutes.

“We discovered a development of generalized assessments somewhat than the individualized evaluation that’s required by Federal legislation and DoD and Navy Service insurance policies,” Pentagon appearing Inspector Normal Sean O’Donnell mentioned in a June memo to Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin, the publication reported. “A few of the appellate selections included documentation that demonstrated a better consideration of info and circumstances concerned in a request.”

“The amount and fee at which selections have been made to disclaim requests is regarding,” the memo added. “Assuming a 10-hour work day with no breaks or consideration to different issues, the common overview interval was about 12 minutes for every package deal. Such a overview interval appears inadequate to course of every request in an individualized method and nonetheless carry out the duties required of their place.”

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