Southern Seminary files petition against Biden Administration to Oppose OSHA Vaccination Rules

"It is unacceptable for the government to force religious institutions to become coercive extensions of state power. We have no choice but to push back against this intrusion of the government into matters of conscience and religious conviction,” - BPNews

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I guarantee the seminary already enforces multiple OSHA rules, which, by the standard implied above means they've been "coercive extensions of state power" for a very long time!

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

dgszweda's picture

I would like a religious exemption against taxes.  It is an over reach of government to forcefully withhold money from my paycheck to pay for activities and services that I feel are antithetical to the teachings of Scripture.  The mandate to make institutions like Southern to be an extension of the government by actually withholding that money and then sending it to the federal government is an over reach.  Whether we want to support specific federal programs should be one of conscience and not one in which we just hand over money unchecked to be sent on programs that we do not support.

Bert Perry's picture

Aaron, back in grad school, after I greeted a group of firemen going to address an arsine gas (three steps and you could be dead) leak in a semiconductor lab, I contacted OSHA to see if they would do anything to address the University of Colorado-Boulder's lack of an automated fire/chemical alarm system.  I was told that they did not have authority over universities.

So perhaps other mandates, but very likely, not OSHA.  Yeah, I think it's a mistake, too. 

(yes, I was ticked, because the firefighters did NOT have the proper PPE to deal with that kind of thing because there was no communication between Boulder FD and the engineering school.....)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Josh S's picture

Mandating that employees recieve a particular medical procedure is not in the same category as requiring guard rails on scissor lifts. Or at least that's what the 5th Circut Court seems to believe. This is an overreach of power and every American should be troubled by it, regardless of your feelings about the vaccine in general.  

Josh Stilwell, associate pastor,  Alathea Baptist Church, Des Moines, Iowa.

dgszweda's picture

Josh S wrote:

Mandating that employees recieve a particular medical procedure is not in the same category as requiring guard rails on scissor lifts.  

You could also look at it as the government is mandating a very narrow and specific safe procedure in order to protect the health and welfare of the nation.  Of which a very small % of people are against.  It could be a slippery slope, but I am not there yet.  I don't view this as the government testing its ability to begin mandating broad medical procedures to the whole country.  Vaccine mandates have a well established history within the US going all the way back to the foundation of the country and the countries founders.  In addition they are not mandating anyone to get a vaccine.  You have the option to get a vaccine or 

  • Begin wearing a face mask by December 5, 2021 (most companies already have this in play)
  • Begin getting weekly testing starting January 4, 2022 (if they are in the workplace)

In addition, the President and OSHA are not an absolute monarchy or a tyranny as many Christians would have you to believe.  They still operate within a democratically elected republic.  Which means that this emergency temporary standard needs to be evaluated by the courts to determine if it is legal and constitutionally viable.  Until that is done, it is only something on paper at this point.

So while "over reach of power" sounds great in taglines and from Sean Hannity on Fox, or your favorite meme on the internet.  It isn't an over reach of power, since at this time it hasn't even been evaluated by the courts.  If the courts, including the Supreme Court, deem it to be legal, than it is still not an over reach, as three branches of government will have determined legally that it is within the confines of government to do this.  You may think it is an over reach from an academic exercise.  And that may rile people up personally, but then if enough people in our country feel that it is problematic than the people can change it.

 

Josh S's picture

So just to be clear, you have zero reservations about people you're never met making medical decisions for you? The fact that they may have made a good medical decision on your behalf is incidental. 

Josh Stilwell, associate pastor,  Alathea Baptist Church, Des Moines, Iowa.

Ken S's picture

Josh S wrote:

So just to be clear, you have zero reservations about people you're never met making medical decisions for you? The fact that they may have made a good medical decision on your behalf is incidental. 

But people do not have to get the vaccine. They have the option to get weekly testing instead. So people still have their medical choice (unless there are really people out there who would say that even testing infringes on their medical choice).

Josh S's picture

They have to pay for that testing out of their own pocket. It's not a choice, it's a fine for not obeying the medical decision that someone else made for them. The precident is still set. And precidents are hard to take back. That's all I'm saying. And apparently, the 5th Circut has the same opinion.

Josh Stilwell, associate pastor,  Alathea Baptist Church, Des Moines, Iowa.

dgszweda's picture

Josh S wrote:

They have to pay for that testing out of their own pocket. It's not a choice, it's a fine for not obeying the medical decision that someone else made for them. The precident is still set. And precidents are hard to take back. That's all I'm saying. 

Still a choice.  May not be the choice that you would like, but it is still a choice.  Like I said before vaccine mandates have a very long history and they have been held up by courts, including the Supreme Court.  This is not something "new".  Do I have any problem with the government require a very safe vaccine to be mandated to me to aid in public health?  No.  Do I think this is a precedent that will be set and cannot be taken back?  It may be for the vaccine, but I don't see this stretching into all kinds of medical decisions.  In fact, the argument that you make above is the same exact argument that pro choice people are making around abortion laws.  Why should the government dictate medical decisions around someone who wants an abortion.  Not saying it justifies abortion, just saying that is the argument on the other side of the coin.

Bert Perry's picture

....and you can be unemployed.  Pretty harsh penalty for refusing a vaccine where a Lancet article notes that it only reduces transmission of the disease by 35%.  We are not talking about the 95-98% effectiveness that you see with polio, smallpox, and the like.

Reality here is that the Biden administration and Mr. Fauci are desperately trying to do something, anything, to cover up the fact that their record here is awful.  To draw a picture, is it smart to do research with a country that's killed 65 million of its own citizens, imposed forcible abortion, and currently has nukes pointed at us?  To make matters worse, the obvious application of the knowledge gained can be used for bioweapons.

"Dumb" doesn't even begin to cover the malpractice Fauci and the NIH have done with their gain of function research.  

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dgszweda's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

....and you can be unemployed.  Pretty harsh penalty for refusing a vaccine where a Lancet article notes that it only reduces transmission of the disease by 35%.  We are not talking about the 95-98% effectiveness that you see with polio, smallpox, and the like.

Facts are that in reality very few people will not get the vaccine.  Tyson foods is a great example.  From their interview on NPR it was expected that only 1.5% of their 56,000 person workforce chose not to get the vaccine.  Getting the vaccine was good business for Tyson.  And they chose not to listen to 1.5% of their workforce.  It is an interesting first example, of how this will play out.  And to be honest, mandate or not, many large employers were already mandating this.  In reality the Biden order has less affect than what many people think.  And yes, companies have broad discretion to mandate vaccines.

https://www.axios.com/tyson-foods-workers-vaccine-company-mandate-46abfc...

 

Josh S's picture

There's a reason the 5th Circut has imposed an injunction. My friends in the legal field tell me that courts rarely impose a temporary injunction unless they're pretty sure it'll become permanent. To Bert's point, I suspect Biden & Co. knew that this mandate would not stand and the whole ordeal is a political move that has nothing to do with safety one way or the other. This has nothing to do with whether the vaccine is safe or not. The federal government does not have the right to mandate every good health practice. 

And not allowing someone to murder a child is not comparable to forcing someone to have a medical procedure. Improverishing those who disagree with your medical advice is not a choice. 

Josh Stilwell, associate pastor,  Alathea Baptist Church, Des Moines, Iowa.

Paul J's picture

It does look like religious organizations and churches my be different in how this might ultimately be administered. It is interesting that some seminaries license staff for housing allowance so would be considered "ministers of the Gospel"which might make a difference.  I've work in human resources for the past 35 years and the last 15 hat a church.  This is something I'm dealing with directly and am looking into what OSHA's authority is over churches. 29 C.F.R. Section 1975.4 excludes what I would call "forward facing ministry workers" from OSHA regulation but not all church workers would be exempt if this is correct.  We have 250 employees so at the surface are covered under this mandate from an employee size perspective and as a religious organization BLS 8131.  I'd prefer keeping all of our staff as the same but it does look like we could exclude some staff from this mandate. Though I would not like to administer this person by person with some masked and others not who are not vaccinated.  Also I think this may be "penny wise and pound foolish" as you would lose the legal protection given through OSHA as an employer for claims made by an employee as an example.  The second thing that isn't clear to me is might a church then subtract those staff number from your count to get below 100?  If we are required to comply we will probably cover the testing kits for our unvaccinated staff.  I'm vaccinated and are the majority of our staff so we will see where this lands. 

Bert Perry's picture

According to a truckers' trade association, 37% of truckers don't want the jab.  Small number?

As I've noted before, I've gotten the jab and would consider getting an update if my doctor recommends it.  But let's not pretend that there is little or no evidence of serious harm from this.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Ken S's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

According to a truckers' trade association, 37% of truckers don't want the jab.  Small number?

As I've noted before, I've gotten the jab and would consider getting an update if my doctor recommends it.  But let's not pretend that there is little or no evidence of serious harm from this.  

I'm still trying to understand what is the "serious harm". Get tested weekly if you don't want the vaccine. What is the serious harm?

Bert Perry's picture

Ken S wrote:

 

Bert Perry wrote:

 

According to a truckers' trade association, 37% of truckers don't want the jab.  Small number?

As I've noted before, I've gotten the jab and would consider getting an update if my doctor recommends it.  But let's not pretend that there is little or no evidence of serious harm from this.  

 

 

I'm still trying to understand what is the "serious harm". Get tested weekly if you don't want the vaccine. What is the serious harm?

The mandate doesn't give that option.  I know my company doesn't, and some people are leaving rather than take the jab.  So what we're talking about is not 37% of truckers going through the hassle of weekly testing, but rather up to 37% of truckers quitting.  

And really, the weekly hassle...I've talked with truckers, and if you want to get on their bad side in a hurry, assign them a few more weekly tasks without what they consider to be a good reason.

It's worth noting as well that even a 1% hit hits people hard after decades of "lean" hiring.  We are not in the situation like we had in the sixties anymore.  There are a lot of "single point of failure" roles out there these days, so a few groups losing a person or two can be catastrophic.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Ken S's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

The mandate doesn't give that option.

I just looked at it again and you're right. I had been thinking it was vaccine or weekly testing, but I see that while employers may offer the option for weekly testing, they are not required to offer it.

I'm not personally bothered by the mandate, but I can see how others would be upset.

dgszweda's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

According to a truckers' trade association, 37% of truckers don't want the jab.  Small number?

As I've noted before, I've gotten the jab and would consider getting an update if my doctor recommends it.  But let's not pretend that there is little or no evidence of serious harm from this.  

Don't worry, truckers may be exempt from the mandate:

https://fortune.com/2021/11/08/truckers-exempt-osha-vaccine-mandate-labo...

Lets not pretend that there is more here than there really is.

Bert Perry's picture

Most long haul truckers work in teams, and hence they are reporting to a workplace where coworkers are present.  Plus, they go into facilities where other people are present when they dock.

Let's not underestimate the stupidity of the Biden order.  To be sure, we might guess that faced with another debacle, OSHA may modify the order, but "may be exempt" is not something I'd rely on, especially when the government is involved.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

josh p's picture

In my area we have been greatly affected by the mandate as a large number of ferry workers have quit. The ferries are considered part of our highway system and they have had to go down to one boat service on several routes. Traffic has increased greatly and the foot ferry service has been overwhelmed. Doesn't look like there is an improvement in sight. 

Mark_Smith's picture

I was desperate to listen to something for a few minutes.. so I turned on Brian Kilmeade and Friends. Turns out Lt Col Allen West was on. He just had COVID. Was going on and on about how bad the vaccine is... but he was promoting monoclonal antibodies and the new anti-viral drug that will soon be available. So let me get this straight, a $500 vaccine is bad, but a $20000 bag of monoclonal antibodies is peachy? And who knows anything about the new antiviral drug?

Crazy.

dgszweda's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

I was desperate to listen to something for a few minutes.. so I turned on Brian Kilmeade and Friends. Turns out Lt Col Allen West was on. He just had COVID. Was going on and on about how bad the vaccine is... but he was promoting monoclonal antibodies and the new anti-viral drug that will soon be available. So let me get this straight, a $500 vaccine is bad, but a $20000 bag of monoclonal antibodies is peachy? And who knows anything about the new antiviral drug?

Crazy.

So what is crazy is that people are against the vaccine, which is essentially a set of instructions for your body to naturally create antibodies.  Your cells are creating spike proteins in a natural mechanism so that your body can create natural antibodies.  All with no harmful chemicals or anything being retained in your body that was not created by your body.

Instead those same people are jumping on board of injecting monoclonal antibodies.  These are synthetic.  These are only approved through an emergency authorized use notice, they only last about 2 weeks, and they are extremely expensive.

You have people that for some reason in their brain reject vaccines, but will be all for anything else regardless of whether it conflicts with their same concerns they have vaccines or regardless of whether they work.  I am not against monoclonal antibody therapy, but it is a tertiary line of defense and not a primary defense against any kind of virus, let alone COVID.

The antiviral is a typical antiviral, which means that its focus is on prohibiting the virus from replicating.  It is something that you take after you have been infected.  It is not something you take to prevent infection.  The problem with relying on this instead of vaccination is that these have side effects, they are drugs so long term impacts to the body is not known (unlike vaccines who don't have long term impacts), and they require a person to start having symptoms.

Bert Perry's picture

Mark, that's a good question, and my take is that about 90%+ of Americans know only what they see on their favored news stations, and there are a few complicated things about how we handle vaccines that lend themselves to resistance.

For starters, the CDC and NIH, among others, have gotten used to simply saying "do it", and they're not seeing that ever since smallpox and polio were dealt with, adults haven't really been subject to their mandates.  So the pushback is essentially taking them by surprise, and they're not used to doing the hard work of persuasion.  A corollary factor is that health authorities have enabled the fiction that once you're vaccinated, you're basically bulletproof vs. a disease forever.  Reality is that immunity declines over time, and it's not absolute.  If people had known this beforehand, they'd have been more willing to deal with the weaknesses of the crop of COVID vaccines.

Going further, we have two competing vaccine reporting groups in the government, VAERS and NVIC, I believe.  The former collects all incidents after vaccination, and the latter is the best attempt to see which cases were actually caused by vaccines.  My best guess is that the reality--what proportion of effects are actually caused--lies somewhere between the two, hopefully closer to the NVIC numbers.  But popularly, the gaudy and ugly numbers of VAERS have become the face of consequences of COVID, and I don't see public health authorities dealing with this reality.

Another issue that needs to be dealt with better (and to be sure, NIH/CDC have tried a bit) is the reality that a lot of medicines are developed using a cell line derived from fetal tissue--fetal tissue most likely from an aborted child.  This includes many vaccines, and I don't see clear notation that demonstrates that no new abortions are being committed to provide this cell line.  

Long and short of it is that our reporting structure is set up to confuse us (not intentionally, but it does), we've got an ugly source for one of the development materials that isn't being explained well, and there's an almost reflexive appeal to authority instead of data that doesn't work for American adults.  Couple that with well-known mistakes and even flat out lies about the epidemic, and you've got a recipe for strong resistance.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dgszweda's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Going further, we have two competing vaccine reporting groups in the government, VAERS and NVIC, I believe.  The former collects all incidents after vaccination, and the latter is the best attempt to see which cases were actually caused by vaccines.  My best guess is that the reality--what proportion of effects are actually caused--lies somewhere between the two, hopefully closer to the NVIC numbers.  But popularly, the gaudy and ugly numbers of VAERS have become the face of consequences of COVID, and I don't see public health authorities dealing with this reality.

VAERS and NVIC are two different things.  One is an adverse event reporting system (of which there are many more than VAERS and NVIC is an information center.  NVIC is the official vaccine information center.  VAERS is one of many more formal adverse event reporting systems.  It was created in order to gather as much information about any kind of event as they could.  The ultimate purpose of VAERS is to be a signal reporting system, more than any type of Adverse Event Reporting System.  An enormous number of people who have no clue around 1) how adverse events work and 2) the purpose and use of VAERS are pushing so much ridiculous information it isn't even funny.  Even if the government clarified this (which they have done numerous times), it can't compete with all of hte clueless epidemiologist and drug safety "experts" that use any social media platform or news organization to peddle their disinformation.  VAERS is useful but it is the farthest piece of data from the truth.

Bert Perry's picture

....and public health authorities need to start saying that to people.  I've started, despite not being quite a public health authority, to put it mildly.  Maybe it'll make a difference.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dgszweda's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

....and public health authorities need to start saying that to people. 

They have.  It is debunked on every major fact checking site.  Every major news outlet (besides FOX, Newsmax and OAN) have explained it.  The VAERS site has an explanation, FDA, CDC, HHS all have clear statements about it, and other public speakers have mentioned it.  It really does not matter at the end of the day.  Do we really need to go around and clearly explain to people the earth is round?  No, but that isn't stopping the flat earther movement from rapidly growing.

dgszweda's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

Yes, if that discovery was only a year old, I think it would take a great deal of repeated explanation.

mRNA medicines have been around since the late 1980's.  VAERS has been around since since the very late 1980's.   The Moderna vaccine was developed 6 weeks after COVID gene sequencing was done in January of 2020.  The vaccine has been in use since March of 2020.

The issue is that people 1) don't like being told, 2) have a mistrust of government, and 3) don't understand science and medicine very well.  So they seek explanations that sound scientific to support their general mistrust.  It has been proven that a percentage similiar to the amount who are unwilling to take the vaccine for any reason will not change their opinions regardless of any fact whatsoever, thus why I used the flat earth idea.  It is estimated based off of survey data that between 2% and 4% of the population believes strongly that the earth is flat.  Guess how many people will refuse the vaccine no matter what?  2% to 4%.  About 18% don't plan to get the vaccine and are not likely to change their mind.  But evidence at large companies and the government under vaccine mandates has shown that this number is under 5% actually.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Guess how many people will refuse the vaccine no matter what?  2% to 4%.  About 18% don't plan to get the vaccine and are not likely to change their mind. But evidence at large companies and the government under vaccine mandates has shown that this number is under 5% actually.

Haven't we been told all along that these kind of numbers will get us to a place of safety? In other words, we can achieve the goal of the mandate without the mandate. Enough people will voluntarily take it without force of government or employer. Why isn't that good enough? It seems like another case of moving the goal posts. 

This leads to the suspicion that this is about control. 90-95% of people will take it anyway. That is well above the "herd immunity" threshold. So why make a government mandate or an employer mandate since you are getting the desired result without it?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

This leads to the suspicion that this is about control. 

I may be at risk of naivete but I think I'd rather be naive than join the perpetually suspicious--not that I'm accusing you of "perpetually suspicious,"--just explaining how I lean. When there are multiple explanations of why I do something, I want observers to judge me generously, so I try to extend that to others, even the left.

And there's the Hanlon's Razor factor: humans tend to overlook/underestimate the prevalence of ordinary mistakes from moments of stupidity (often fear/anxiety induced), lapses in judgment, etc.

So, if we would have gotten to near total vaccination anyway, what could motivate a federal mandate?

  • Fear of the political consequences of seeming to not be doing anything about the problem (a result of "do-somethingism")
  • Belief that reaching the inevitable goal will take too long
  • Belief that the culture needs to be taught to be more civic minded (tag this 'extra stupid,' because you can't teach people anything by coercion)
  • Belief that you can grow your base by increasing popular resentment of the unvaccinated, a marginalization strategy.... also pretty stupid, because a mandate is more likely to do the reverse
  • Belief that there is a need to establish patterns/policy for future public health emergencies.

Of course, some uglier possibilities exist also: belief that increasing the power of the enlightened officials of the left-of-center ruling class is the only pathway of societal progress. In other words, "it's about control," but not for control's sake--more like because of a belief system that assumes society must continually evolve by throwing off the old and embracing the new and that an enlightened few know best how we need to evolve.

That one has plenty of evidence to back it, as far as the left goes. It's worth noting, though, that these folks who consider themselves the enlightened few in this scenario really think their vision of progress is real progress--and what's good for everyone.

So the short version...

  • Belief that when the enlightened few are in control of government they're entitled to tell everyone what to do because they know best... and supporting arguments are really just placatory. The enlightened decision makers simply possess superior wisdom.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

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