OKLAHOMA CITY, O.K. (KAMR/KCIT) — Offices with Oklahoma Senator James Lankford announced today that he’s secured to protect the right of religious liberty for our heroes in the Armed Forces.
According to a press release from Lankford’s office, he received a commitment from the Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Lloyd Austin, that all members who request religious accommodation from covid19 vaccine will now get answers and be allowed to return to duty.
Officials said Lankford was holding DOD nominees until he got an answer on the religious accommodation requests for our military now he can lift the holds.
“I have fought for months to be sure the Department of Defense and the service branches did not ignore religious accommodation requests from Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine from the members of our Armed Forces, and today we finally have victory to protect the religious freedoms servicemen and women work to defend and protect every day,” said Lankford. “Service members called my office to tell me their requests for a religious accommodations were falling on deaf ears or flat-out being ignored. But my team and I were not going to let them down, and we did not let this go. Now our heroes are getting the correct process they should have had from the very beginning to live their faith and be able to serve our country.”
After Lankford secured an end to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for service members in this year’s defense bill, his next step is to request religious accommodations that remain pending.
According to the release, consideration of religious accommodations is usually routine for the military, and officials believe that thus did not follow protocols. Lankford officials said they are also calling for reinstatement and back-pay for service members who were impacted by Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Officials stated that a year ago a letter was sent to Secretary of Defense Austin questioning why no religious accommodation from the Covid-19 vaccine was granted. The letter requested a response by Feb.1 said officials, and after no response, Lankford requested that the Acting Department of Defense (DOD) Inspector General Sean O’Donnell conduct an audit of DOD’s COVID-19 vaccine exemption process.
The release said that O’Donnell responded 10 days later that an audit would be conducted.
Lankford officials said that a letter to the Department of Defense was also sent, calling for immediate action on deplorable living conditions for service members with religious objections to the vaccine.