Filing a Religious Exemption

(For additional information – please see our Defending Conscience Rights event)

August 2021

Many corporations and employers, including the healthcare industry, were mandating the abortion-linked COVID-19 vaccines employees.  The Church has stated clearly that as a rule vaccines are always voluntary and never mandatory.

An individual has a right to discern with an informed conscience whether or not to accept any medical treatment such as vaccines.

As a disclaimer, while the following information comes from the guidance of attorneys, this should not constitute, or intended to be, formal legal advice, nor does it guarantee success in obtaining a legal exemption. Individuals who are unsure of how to proceed or are denied an exemption should consult with an attorney.

The Carolina Family Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the traditional teachings of life, family, and culture, is willing to help put workers in the Carolinas in contact with an attorney if the need arises.  For more information please contact us at: info(at)

Filing for a Religious Exemption

If your employer is trying to mandate COVID-19 vaccines, most companies are required to provide religious exemptions or accommodations unless the company would face an undue burden.  Employees can file a religious exemption with their company.

Based on informal guidance of attorneys familiar with religious freedom and conscience rights, the strongest religious exemption request would be an objection to abortion connected to the COVID-19 vaccines. A strong religious exemption would contain the following:

  • A request to your company to exempt one from the vaccination requirement based on a sincere religious belief.
  • A particularized objection based on one’s own belief.  For example, a short explanation why one believes abortion is wrong and therefore taking a vaccine connected to abortion violates ones religious beliefs.
  • If objecting based on a sincere religious belief avoid extraneous objections based on medical or practical concerns.
  • Avoid inflammatory or confrontational language.
  • Make sure the appropriate parties at one’s company are notified and company deadlines are met.
  • Make sure records are kept of one’s objection and the company’s response.

Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious freedom public interest law firm, has also published helpful guidance on vaccine mandates and obtaining a religious exemption:

Pastor Letter

To accompany an employee’s exemption request, some pastors are willing to provide a letter attesting the Church’s teaching based on the National Catholic Bioethics Center.  If you need an exemption support letter which states the Church’s teaching on conscience rights, please contact your pastor and share with him the attached template (click on link to download). Some pastors in our diocese are already aware of this template, but not all, so one may have to provide him background on this matter.

National Catholic Bioethics Center Vaccine Letter

Colorado Catholic Bishops Conference Statement on Vaccine Mandates

South Dakota Catholic Bishops Conference Statement on Vaccine Mandates

Wisconsin Catholic Bishops Conference Statement on Vaccine Mandates

Archdiocese of Kansas City Statement on Vaccine Mandates

Archdiocese of Phoenix Statement on Vaccine Mandates

U.S. Military Archdiocese Statement on Vaccine Mandates
October 2021 Letter

Catholic Medical Association Statement on Vaccine Mandates

Christ Medicus Statement on Vaccine Mandates

Lastly, if one is denied a religious exemption by their employer please keep the Carolina Family Coalition informed and we can refer you to an attorney for individual legal assistance.

Catholic Church statements on Vaccine Mandates:

  • Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii encyclical (On Christian Marriage) #70, December 31, 1930: “Public magistrates have no direct power over the bodies of their subjects; therefore, where no crime has taken place and there is no cause present for grave punishment, they can never directly harm, or tamper with the integrity of the body, either for the reasons of eugenics or for any other reason.”
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church #1730: God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions. “God willed that man should be ‘left in the hand of his own counsel,’ so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him.” Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts.
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church #2295: Research or experimentation on the human being cannot legitimate acts that are in themselves contrary to the dignity of persons and to the moral law. the subjects’ potential consent does not justify such acts. Experimentation on human beings is not morally legitimate if it exposes the subject’s life or physical and psychological integrity to disproportionate or avoidable risks. Experimentation on human beings does not conform to the dignity of the person if it takes place without the informed consent of the subject or those who legitimately speak for him.
  • Cardinal Raymond Burke – address to the Rome Life Forum, May 22, 2020: “[I]t must be clear that vaccination itself cannot be imposed, in a totalitarian manner, on citizens. When the State takes on such a practice, it violates the integrity of its citizens. While the State can provide reasonable regulations for the safeguarding of health, it is not the ultimate provider of health. God is. Whatever the State proposes must respect God and His Law.”
  • Congregation of Doctrine and Faith, Morality of COVID-19 Vaccines, #5, December 17, 2020: “[P]ractical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.”
  • Bishop Paprocki Offers Analysis on Notre Dame’s COVID Vaccine Mandate

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