A pastor in Rocklin, California, is handing out vaccine "exemption letters" in order to enable people to avoid vaccine mandates based on the freedom of religion.
Destiny Christian Church Pastor Greg Fairrington says he's not anti-vaccine, he's just pro-freedom.
"On Sunday, we prayed for educators, nurses, doctors, and first responders who are being mandated to get the vaccine or lose their job. Many feel morally compromised by taking it — let this prayer speak to you if you're in the same situation," said a post on social media from the church.
The government of California has ordered that all state employees be vaccinated or undergo COVID-19 testing twice a week. Fairrington said that many state employees called him asking for help so that they could keep their jobs without taking the vaccine.
"People have a moral objection to taking a vaccine," he explained to KCRA-TV.
Fairrington said he developed the letter so that people could ignore the state order based on their constitutional freedom of religion.
"There should not be a mandate in place, it should be the freedom of conscience," Fairrington continued. "They can make a choice. And so yes, we're going to receive criticism, we understand that. But we understand that America is the land of the free, we get to make choices here."
Fairrington said that some people told him that they had traveled for two hours in order to get their exemption letters. He says the response has been overwhelming.
"I wouldn't say we're anti-vaccine. Now, if we start looking at how some of it was developed, you know, we would have another conversation," said Fairrington.
"But I'm freedom of conscience, I want people to make a choice," he added.
He went on to say some of his closest and dearest friends took the vaccine.
Here's a local news report about the exemption letters:
Rocklin Pastor Greg Fairrington talks about COVID-19 vaccine religious exemptionswww.youtube.com