Sunday Morning Greek Blog

November 24, 2021

The Intersection of Biblical Faith With Political Action: Thoughts on How to Make a Religious Exemption Request

Filed under: Greek — Scott Stocking @ 6:17 am

Abstract: My Christian faith will not allow me to bend the knee to an unjust mandate that violates the dignity of human beings by denying them free will when it comes to their own persons and classifies those who refuse the vaccine specifically or the mandate generally because it effectively declares such people as “disabled” according to the law of the land.

NOTE: I am not a lawyer, I don’t play one on TV, and I didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn last night. I consider myself a well-educated person with experience in theology and regulatory analysis. The following is an attempt to bring those two worlds together to demonstrate the complexity surrounding opposing the government overreach of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. I’m using the plain language of the Constitution, fully realizing that the Bill of Rights has been watered down significantly in its 230-year history (btw, 12/15/2021 is the 230th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights). I think it’s time we start reclaiming the plain language of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution as intended by our founding fathers.

This article is copublished on my under the title “Some Thoughts on How to Oppose the Vaccine Mandate.”


One of the key verses on human freedom in the Scriptures is 1 Corinthians 7:21–24:

21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

The idea here is that Christianity in its early days understood that slavery was part of the human condition, but that it was not the ideal situation for humanity. Christianity has a long tradition of fighting against slavery and promoting free will (e.g., Augustine’s On Grace and Free Will), so when people began to migrate from Europe, often from places where they did not have religious freedom, the founding fathers incorporated freedom of religious expression into the constitution. Christians eventually led the effort to overturn slavery in the United States by siding with the North and offering refuge for slaves that escaped from the South.

So the founding principle of freedom directly derives from the biblical and theological concept of free will. We see these embodied in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as well, which I will address shortly.

The ministry of Jesus Christ is founded in part on the words of the prophet Isaiah in 61:1–2a (which Luke records Jesus reciting in his gospel, 4:18-19):

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
Because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good new to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

As Christians, we carry on the ministry of Jesus to “proclaim freedom for the captives.” The “captives,” in this case, are those who are unjustly being denied work because for whatever reason, they do not want to heed a government mandate. I will demonstrate later that, based on the definitions in the U.S. Code, every vaccine mandate (Federal Employee, Federal Contractor, and OSHA) creates a new class of disability that includes the unvaccinated and those who refuse to heed the unconstitutional demand for their protected, private health papers. In other words, the mandate attacks the dignity of those who want to work but are prohibited from doing so. (On the dignity of work, see such passages as Ecclesiastes 2:24–26, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, and 2 Thessalonians 3:6–13.)

Galatians 5:1   It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Freedom is not just a spiritual concept in the Christian faith. In the 1 Corinthians passage above, we are encouraged not only to obtain our freedom, but to maintain it and not go back into slavery. Christ’s ministry helps his followers do that through the example of his compassion to the lost and his confrontation of corrupt leadership. In this Galatians passage, we’re told to “stand firm,” which coincides with Paul’s exhortation in the final chapter of Ephesians, where he tells Christ-followers to “stand firm” against everyone and everything that would try to destroy our freedom and faith in Christ and draw us back into slavery again.

Peter emphasizes the intersectionality of faith and politics:

1 Peter 2:16–17: Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

It is important to recognize that the supreme power of the day was the emperor. He had no one to answer to, and he ruled absolutely; the emperor was the highest law in the land. In the American system, absolute power does not reside with the president, either branch of congress, the courts, or any executive departments, but in the Constitution. The U.S. Constitution is the highest law in the land and the standard against which all other laws are judged.

The other aspect of Peter’s statement here is that he says believers should live as God’s slaves. This means, for our own bodies, that we live for God, and we belong to God. We do NOT belong to the State. God created mankind; the State did not. God breathed life into the human body; the State did not. God sustains his creation; the State does not. We are responsible for our eternal fate before God; the State has no legitimate power to affect or effect our relationship with God. So this is just one reason why a Christ follower should not be subject to a mandate regarding our own bodies: we have personal autonomy that the State should not and has no right to violate (“The right of the people to be secure in their persons…shall not be violated”; U.S. Constitution, 4th Amendment).

This must be kept in mind when we come to Paul’s discussion of the intersection of faith and politics in Romans 13:1–7. In his day, all authorities were human beings. In our day, as I said above, the ultimate “governing authority” is the U.S. Constitution.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.  For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.  Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.  Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

At first one may think that opposing a mandate would be akin to not submitting to government authorities, but a problem arises when government dictates contradict established law or the Constitutional authority that supports the law. It is at that point that a person of faith is put in a position of which law to obey. As I’ve stated above, the U.S. Constitution is the highest governing authority in the land, so as both a Christian and American, my highest political allegiance is to the U.S. Constitution; not to a person or political leader, but to the principles embodied in the Constitution and its Bill of Rights and other amendments. I should add that I believe the Constitution was written by men who had a profound understanding of the relationship between the free expression of religion (one of the reasons the original pilgrims came to the North American continent) and political freedom. I believe that the Constitution had its origin, in part at least, in mind of God as revealed to the founding fathers.

So when I look at political actors, I must always turn to the Constitution to judge the actions of those who claim and have taken an oath to protect, defend, and enforce it. If I see that such actors are rebelling against the authority of the Constitution, they are rebelling against what God has instituted, according to the Romans passage above, and I owe them no allegiance to the extent they are demanding behaviors and policies that violate the plain language of the Constitution.

The preceding line of reasoning leads to the most salient point of all when it comes to the COVID vaccine mandate: I belong to God, not to the State, and the State has no power to compel me to any action that is not specifically outlined in the Constitution. The Bible supports paying taxes to the government, regardless of what we think of their politics, and I willingly do so. We have a Constitutional amendment that allows for that taxation as well, so I have no conflict with my Christian faith in that regard. In fact, it is in the context of people asking Jesus about paying taxes to Caesar that he makes the following statement, which is the most concise statement anyone could make for a religious exemption, as it perfectly resolves the tension between being a political subject and a subject in the kingdom of God:

Matthew 22:21b: “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

The U.S. government prints money and puts their seal on it, therefore that money is “Caesar’s.” But as I said above, I belong to God, not to Caesar, not to the State, not to Joe Biden, not to Donald Trump, certainly not to Anthony Fauci, and not to any political leader. Nor do I belong to the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution is made for We the People; We the People were not made for the Constitution. I am God’s. The State doesn’t own me, so the State can’t impose a mandate on my body.


The State has no legitimate power over my person. Here is where the intersection of my faith jibes with the 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Almost every part of this amendment is violated by the vaccine mandate. Asking for protected, private health information is akin to an unreasonable search of my physical body.

  • The plain meaning of “probable cause” is that someone suspects a crime has been committed, and failing to be vaccinated, or failing to document your vaccination, is not a crime, but a condition of employment. Because no crimes have been committed, the searches for and seizures of protected, private health information are unreasonable.
  • My COVID vaccination card is a “paper” again not subject to an unreasonable search or seizure.
  • The statement “rights…shall not be violated” is absolute, save the qualification of “Warrants.”
  • Any “warrant” issued to try to seize one’s protected, private health information, especially in the form of a paper card or electronic image of such, must “particularly describ[e] the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” In other words, the government is not allowed to issue a general “warrant” that applies to all working citizens in the United States without “particular description.” Instead, to comply with the plain language of the Constitution, the government must issue separate warrants for each individual with the particular language of each person’s name, address, and information sought. That’s a lot of warrants! The purpose of such “particular” warrants would be to allow individuals to protest the terms of the search and seizure if they so desire.

Not only does my faith intersect with the 4th Amendment, but it also intersects with the 5th Amendment as well:

No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

My protected, private health information is my property, and I am allowed the right to keep that property in the absence of any due process. The government has the burden of proof to deprive me of such, and I have an individual right to challenge such attempted deprivation. Additionally, since the government claims that they need my protected, private health information as a matter of public health, they are taking my private property for public use and not compensating me justly.

And if violating two amendments of the Bill of Rights isn’t enough, my faith intersects with the 8th Amendment as well, as I desire to protect the free citizens of the United States from the oppression of “excessive fines imposed” and “cruel and unusual punishment” for failure to heed the mandate. The proposed $14,000 per infraction fine is excessive. And it is cruel and unusual punishment to fire workers based on a medical condition. If it is illegal for an insurance company to deny someone health insurance coverage based on a preexisting condition, then it is illegal to deny someone a job based on their health or vaccination status. This is nothing short of tyranny.

Somebody must stand up to this abuse of power by the government. People are getting tired of it. Not only is the mandate unconstitutional, but it is overreach as well, because the 10th Amendment says:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


The Americans With Disabilities Act (42 USC 12102) defines disability in this way:

(1) Disability

The term “disability” means, with respect to an individual-

  • a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual;
  • a record of such an impairment; or
  • being regarded as having such an impairment (as described in paragraph (3)).

(2) Major life activities

  • In general

For purposes of paragraph (1), major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.

Vaccine hesitancy is a documented mental health issue and has been since the advent of vaccines. The Diagnostic & Statistics Manual, 5th Edition (DSM-V) lists blood-injection-injury on its specific phobia scale.[1] The etiology of vaccine hesitancy is highly complex and not always based on irrationality. Many have thoughtfully considered whether they should subject themselves or their children to some or all vaccines. Here is how one article from 2013 describes the decision-making process on vaccines:

Many interventions are designed with the assumption that resistance to vaccination can be countered by supplying probabilistic information about vaccine risks and benefits. From this perspective, individuals who have concerns or doubts regarding vaccination are often assumed to be irrational, emotional, ill-informed, or to be manipulated by anti-vaccination groups….individual decision-making about vaccination is influenced by many different factors, including the fact that some of those who have doubts and concerns about vaccine safety use an entirely different decision-making model or subscribe to a different set of beliefs about health and illness. Supplying additional probabilistic information may not adequately address individual concerns.[2]

In the face of such a complex decision-making process, especially in a society that, at least on parchment, supports freedom of speech and thought along with personal liberty, it is nothing short of an insult to limit the vaccine hesitant to simplistic, single-track paths toward seeking exemptions. Exemption requests are allowed for two basic reasons: Medical or Ethical/Religious. Why is there not an exemption path for well-informed people, especially for those who work in the field of pharmaceuticals and the regulations surrounding them, to proffer their own reasoned arguments against submitting to a mandate for experimental vaccines that have not yet completed their full clinical trials and for which we have little public data or reporting (perhaps by design?) on any adverse effects. There have been enough media reports about potential vaccine-related health issues and even fatalities to raise significant concerns in the minds of some.

As such then, a mandate is violation of the freedom and personal autonomy I have defended and explained earlier in this essay. A general, universal mandate with little concern for people’s hesitancy to comply (whether it be with the imposition of the mandate apart from any hesitancy or taking the vaccine itself) degrades the individual freedoms we as Americans should be able to enjoy. It is a blow to our dignity and our freedom. At some point, and I think we are getting very near that point in America based on what is going on in Europe, the attacks on our freedom will awaken the sleeping giant of freedom fighters everywhere. Add to that an extremely low case-fatality rate for COVID-19, much lower than smoking-related deaths, and it should be easy to see why some suspect the government of hypocrisy or selective targeting with these mandates.

To get back to the Americans With Disabilities Act, then, vaccine hesitancy, regardless of whether it is fueled by irrational or rational thought, should be considered an “impairment” for purposes of the law in that a failure to be vaccinated (or rather the reluctance to turn over private health information to document vaccination) severely limits the major life activity of working. It should NOT be a basis for discrimination in the workplace at any level, whether a Federal or State employee, Federal or State contractor, or most of the rest of the working population subject to the overreaching OSHA rule. The mandate effectively creates a new class of disability, which strikes at the dignity of those who have this impairment, something the Americans With Disabilities Act was designed to counter.

It is also clear to me that the COVID-19 vaccines are proving to be ineffective. We have had more COVID-19 deaths in 2021 since the vaccine was approved (and with a significant portion of the public having both initial shots) than in 2020 before the vaccine. None of this is helped by such things as Dr. Fauci’s cacophany of conflicting comments for the past two years, the broken promise of the current president who at first said there would be no mandate, and the other failures in his administration that have driven his approval rating and American’s confidence in him into the toilet—it’s no wonder people don’t trust the mandate.

The mandate in the current climate has the appearance of an authoritarian move by a desperate man to try to salvage some semblance of control amidst the utter chaos of his administration. The mandate shows ZERO respect for the liberties and freedoms we as Americans should be enjoying. As a Christian, I feel it is my duty to speak up for these freedoms and liberties as I described above and protect the dignity of my fellow man. I respectfully submit my request to be exempted from the mandate to turn over my protected, private health information to the government.

I will make this offer, however: I am not opposed to the vaccine, only to the mandate. I am willing to sign an affidavit under penalty of termination that I have received two shots of the Pfizer vaccine, but I am not willing to turn over any official records of my health history to or for a government that has shown no respect for my personal freedom and has trampled on the dignity of the free and the brave.

Scott Stocking

My opinions are my own.

[1] Freeman D et al (2021). Injection fears and COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Psychological Medicine 1–11. Accessed 11/23/21

[2] Dubé, E., Laberge, C., Guay, M., Bramadat, P., Roy, R., & Bettinger, J. (2013). Vaccine hesitancy: an overview. Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics, 9(8), 1763–1773. Accessed 11/23/21

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