If people join the church or donate, the pastor will sign the COVID Exemption Form.

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If people join the church or donate, the pastor will sign the COVID Exemption Form.

As COVID-19 vaccine regulations spread across the United States, an Oklahoma pastor is making “religious exemption” paperwork accessible for download on his church’s website, according to the Associated Press.

Jackson Lahmeyer, a 29-year-old pastor from Oklahoma who is running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican, will sign the forms of anyone who joins his church and donates, though anyone can get the form signed by a religious leader.

Over 35,000 people downloaded the form in three days, according to Lahmeyer.

“We’re not anti-vaxxers,” says the group. Lahymeyer stated, “We’re basically pro-freedom.” “A large number of those who have signed… have already received the vaccine. They simply do not believe it is ethical for someone else to be pushed or lose their job.”

Religious exemptions are becoming more popular as a way to avoid vaccination, and the loophole is anticipated to grow even more popular now that President Joe Biden announced sweeping new vaccine restrictions last week that affect more than 100 million Americans. According to the Associated Press, this covers workers of the executive branch and everyone who works for a company with 100 or more employees.

See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.

The administration recognizes that a small percentage of Americans will invoke religious exemptions, and that some may try to take advantage of them. It does, however, believe that even little increases in immunization rates will save lives.

It’s unclear how many federal workers have requested a religious exception at this time. According to the Labor Department, an accommodation might be denied if it places an unreasonable burden on the employee.

The rules for masks and vaccines vary by state, but most allow for exemptions due to medical conditions or religious or philosophical concerns. Over the last decade, the usage of such exemptions, particularly by parents on behalf of their children, has increased.

Employers must offer reasonable adjustments for employees who object to work obligations because of “sincerely held” religious convictions, according to the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s standards, a religious belief does not have to be recognized by an organized church, and it can be new, uncommon, or “seem irrational or absurd to others.” However, it cannot be based entirely on political considerations. This is a condensed version of the information.

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