You'll Have Only One Question When You See This Hospital's COVID Shot Religious Exemption Form: Is This Thing Legal?

(AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

“Hollywood’s glamour hospital,” Cedars-Sinai, is requiring what amounts to a religious test to remain employed in the age of COVID. At least that’s what it looks like based on the form the hospital requires employees to attest to in order to get a “religious accommodation” from the hospital’s COVID shot mandate.

You’d think that a hospital that caters to Hollywood’s creatives, like the freewheeling Pink, Madonna, Frank Sinatra, and OJ attorney Johnnie Cochran, and has entire wings bankrolled by entertainment’s luminaries, would think a bit more highly of free speech and the idea of freedom of expression, but judging by the looks of the gobsmackingly invasive religious accommodation form, you’d be wrong.

It’s shocking, really.

Recently, PJ Media published the story, “Fight Back: Here’s How People Are Legally Resisting Dystopian Diktats to Get a Covid Shot or Be Fired.”  The story appeared before Joe Biden threatened to make COVID shots mandatory for all government employees – except certain pet employees, such as postal workers, West Wing Friends of Joe apparatchiks, and congressional employees. You, not so much.

In the story I asked for feedback, and boy did I get it. You’ll be hearing those stories in the coming days. People, from inside of the biggest government institutions, to Cedars-Sinai, to Small-Town-USA’s Fire Department, shared the inside scoop on what bully-bosses-turned-COVID-“experts” were doing.

People were shook. They were actually being forced to choose between a job that would support their families or a shot that, for some reason, they didn’t want or need or believed was against their religious beliefs.

Related: Seattle Hospital to Heart Transplant Patient: Get a Covid Shot or Drop Dead

A husband, who shall remain nameless, wrote in about how his wife, a mother of three small children and the breadwinner of the family and had been told she must get the shot … or else. The extortion kept them up at night.

It’s 1 am on a Friday night and I’m lying in bed and just read your article on PJ Media about fighting back against the vaccine mandates! I felt compelled to get out of bed, pull out the laptop, and shoot you a quick message!

It felt so good to hear that my wife isn’t [the only one] going through this horrific, gut-wrenching, mandate being forced down upon us. We obviously know there are others going through the same employer mandate vaccine mandate but it was nice to hear different ways people are fighting back!

We went out to dinner this evening and the entire time we just slowly ate throughout the meal. Our entire conversation was about her employer-driven mandate and how sick we both feel about it, how unfair it is, and we both cannot believe what we are witnessing before our eyes. We couldn’t enjoy our meal.

[…] My wife was literally crying at dinner tonight because she has two days … to submit her religious exemption letter, but knows deep down that they are going to reject it. She was telling me with tears in her eyes that she’s going to have to give in and get the shot for the sake of our family.

After describing his wife’s work with the hospital and her feeling of hopelessness, the husband spelled out the either/or proposition before his family:

Now they are mandating every single employee, even the remote workers, get vaccinated or get fired. They are saying employees can apply for a religious or medical exemption, but from what we hear from people directly inside of the HR department is they are rejecting almost all religious exemption letters.

Cedars-Sinai claims to be a religious hospital, but this is… far from it. And the fact that we heard that they are pretty much rejecting almost all religious exemptions letters is sickening. How can an HR rep who doesn’t even know the employee tell them their faithfulness isn’t “enough” to qualify for a religious exemption?

On top of that, the questions Cedars-Sinai is requiring in the exemption application are sickening (see attached)! How do they have the right to ask someone when they first started to have certain religious beliefs? Or how their beliefs have diminished or strengthened over time, and why? Where and how do you practice these beliefs? Who is your spiritual leader? Can you provide written documentation from a 3rd party to support your religious beliefs? [emphasis added]

Indeed, Cedars-Sinai brags about their COVID shot mandate.

Related: Washington State Now Hiring ‘Strike Team’ for Quarantine Facility With 24/7 Security

On the hospital’s website, the PR team says it’s forcing the shot to comply “with recent public health orders from the California Department of Public Health.” And that means “all employees, physicians, volunteers, contractors, students, researchers and other healthcare providers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital and outpatient facilities must receive their final COVID-19 vaccine dose … no later than Sept. 30.”

Here’s what the hospital’s religious exemption asks employees to tell the company:

(1) The name of your religion:
(2) Your membership in a particular church or religious organization:
(3) The nature of your beliefs/practices/observances:
(4) Where and how you adhere to these beliefs/practices/observances:
(5) When you first began to embrace these beliefs/practices/observances:
(6) Whether your beliefs/practices/observances have strengthened or diminished over time, and if so, why that was:
(7) How Cedars-Sinai’s policies and/or procedures conflict with your beliefs/practices/observances:
(8) Whether you have a spiritual leader, and if so, whether he/she has addressed the issue for which you are requesting accommodation:
(9) Any additional information regarding your beliefs/practices/observances that support your request for a religious accommodation:

Let’s say that someone tells you the name of his pastor or rabbi. Will they check to make sure the holy man is holy enough for their religious accommodation? What’s the test, exactly? Is there training of some kind that imputes deep knowledge of spirituality and religiosity such that they can divine whose leader is really, really, holy? We’d all love to know. Will a note from your pastor or rabbi be required?

What if your church doesn’t confer membership? Looks like the HR department at Cedars-Sinai may use that against you. All real religions must have a membership of some kind, right? Would such a document be required to be surrendered to the religious experts in the HR department?

And, what business is it of the company when you “embraced these beliefs/practices/observances”? Which answer is the right one? Last week? Last year? A lifetime ago?

What if you were just “sprinkled” as a kid? Must one have gone through confirmation in order for the HR department to justify giving you a religious exemption? What if your parents didn’t throw you a bat mitzvah? Will the religious experts in the HR department determine you didn’t stick with the program long enough and, sniff, don’t measure up to their tough religious standards?

Will you be required to cite the Apostle’s Creed or the Fruits of the Spirit? Start studying the Beatitudes, Cedars-Sinai employees, the religious experts in HR might call you into their office for a pop quiz.

Were you once a regular attendee at church but now can barely get there on Easter and Christmas? That piece of knowledge can be used by the religious testers in the HR department at Cedars to determine if you’re Christian enough. Skip any high holy days or fail to observe Eid? Whoops.

Several email attempts to follow up with the husband have gone unanswered, but he knows where to get in touch with me. So does Cedars-Sinai’s PR team, which has failed to respond via email.

Attorney Harmeet Dhillon, who’s involved in COVID mandate litigation, told PJ Media that she’s seen this type of exemption form before, though it’s not as bad as Washington State’s, which basically says that if you’ve ever had a shot as an adult, you can’t have a religious exemption from the COVID shot. Yes, really.

Dhillon says the Cedars accommodation form goes too far, but that people are also abusing the process.

This goes too far in the other direction but people are making a mockery of faith by claiming religious exemptions that are not in good faith when really, they have made a personal choice and they want to fit it into a convenient peg.

The problem here is very few people have a true religious exemption. I have seen many cases of people buying letters from “pastors” off the internet.

It’s an interesting and valid point.

Liberty Counsel says that in Washington State’s case, and other cases, the issues of religious freedom are sacrosanct and protected:

All state and health care workers are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that does provide for religious exemptions and accommodations and mandates that employers provide them. Furthermore, COVID shots cannot be mandatory under Title VII. In general, employee vaccine religious exemption requests must be accommodated, where a reasonable accommodation exists without undue hardship to the employer, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Many people hold sincere religious beliefs against taking any vaccines, or taking those derived from aborted fetal cell lines, or taking those sold by companies that profit from the sale of vaccines and other products derived from abortion.

This seems pretty clear. And if membership in the Church of What’s Happening Now or the Church of Elvis is good enough for the IRS, how can an HR manager administer a religious test for employment … or else?

What did this employee decide to do? I’ve reached out for an answer. When I get one, you’ll be among the first to know.

Meantime, please tell me your stories and send pertinent documents to [email protected].

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