1. I request a religious accommodation to not be required to receive a vaccination for COVID-19 in accordance with policies and procedures contained in DoDI 1300.17 (Religious Liberty in the Military Services) and AR 600-20 (Army Command Policy), Paragraph 5-6.
2. All COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United State utilized fetal cell lines in their development that are descended from fetal tissue taken from elective abortions. I am not opposed to vaccines in principle. However, as a Catholic my doctrine and training (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1868) instruct me to avoid cooperation in sinful and immoral acts. Taking a vaccine that utilized cell lines from an aborted fetus is considered Passive Cooperation. It is my sincerely held religious belief that abortion is immoral and these vaccines are not morally justifiable, especially given the low mortality rate from COVID-19 infections in those of military age.
3. I am aware of several Catholic bishops and cardinals who have encouraged fellow Catholics to take the vaccine. The argument made by these senior leaders is that by taking the vaccine, you are preventing a “larger evil” by preventing the spread of Covid-19. Some bishops have even claimed that taking the vaccine is “an act of love to your fellow man” or that they are a “moral responsibility”. These bishops and cardinals are in grave error for many reasons, including the following:
a. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that sin is a personal issue. When you stand in judgement before God, there will be no bishop or cardinal standing with you telling God that they gave you permission to sin. You are judged individually, and therefore the decision to sin cannot be absolved by anyone else giving you permission prior to the act of sin. The act of encouraging passive cooperation in sin is considered Formal Cooperation, and these bishops and cardinals risk condemning their souls to hell for all eternity by formally cooperating in sin and encouraging others to do so. Any leader in the Catholic Church who claims that taking a vaccine that was developed using cell lines from aborted children to be a “moral responsibility”, flies directly against the actual teaching of the Church regarding abortion and sin.
b. The claim that taking the vaccine would prevent a “greater evil” is demonstrably false, as proven by the increasing numbers of vaccinated people who are in the hospital with break-through Covid-19 infections. The number of Covid deaths in vaccinated individuals is, at the time of writing this memorandum, on the rise in the USA as well as Great Briton and Israel. It is clear that the mRNA vaccines do not prevent infection, and they do not prevent transmission. Compare this to the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine, which was developed in the same way as the Covid vaccines. The MMR vaccine effectively sterilizes a person to measles, mumps or rubella, preventing infection and transmission. One could then make an effective argument that taking the MMR vaccine does indeed prevent a greater evil, based on the evidence that the MMR vaccine prevents infection and transmission. That same claim cannot be made of any Covid vaccine, and any claim that this vaccine will prevent a greater evil is ignorant at best, and the Church leaders who continue to make this claim, even after all the evidence that has come forward, are either ignorant of daily events, or actively cooperating with evil. This brings us back to the point of sin being an individual issue. Those bishops and cardinals can choose to condemn their souls to hell, but they have no right and no authority to demand that I join them there.
4. If my request is disapproved, I understand that my choices will be to either get the vaccine, or to end my Army career. I think it should be quite obvious what my choice will be.