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Many faith leaders are wary of religious exemptions for COVID vaccine

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Rabbi Sholom Lipskar, Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and others participate in a moment of silence, June 14, 2021, at the Shul of Bal Harbour, a Jewish community center in Surfside. Lipskar says he tells congregation members that COVID-19 vaccination should be a matter of free choice.

While reasons for seeking religious exemptions vary, many Christians have cited the vaccines’ remote connection to past abortions. However, many suspect there are non-religious motivations.

By the thousands, Americans have been seeking religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandates, but generally they are doing so without the encouragement of major denominations and prominent religious leaders.

From the Vatican, Pope Francis has defended the vaccines as the most reasonable solution to the pandemic, although there are divisions on the matter among Catholic bishops and priests.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America declared categorically that its followers would not be offered religious exemptions.

Robert Jeffress, the conservative pastor of a Baptist megachurch in Dallas, voiced similar sentiments. He says he has refused exemption requests from the handful of his congregation members who made requests.

Rabbi Sholom Lipskar of The Shul of Bal Harbour, an Orthodox synagogue in the Miami-Dade beach town of Surfside, says he tells congregation members that vaccination should be a matter of free choice.

“But I always recommend that they get a medical opinion from a competent professional,” he says. “In a serious matter, they should get two concurring medical opinions.”

Click here to read more of this article from the Associated Press.