At least 19 federal agencies plan to track requests for religious exemption from vaccination mandates

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At least 19 federal government agencies have implemented or are considering implementing a system to track religious exemption requests for mandatory vaccines, according to a review of Federal Register notices by The Epoch Times.

Agencies include the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Transportation, and Treasury.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative group, was the first to report on the development and warns it could be a test pilot project to monitor all federal workers.

The system tracks requests for religious exemption from employees of federal agencies as well as all contractors, consultants, interns and volunteers associated with them.

Based on its review of the new tracking system – and the choice of the little-known Pretrial Services Agency to implement the database – The Heritage Foundation called it a “test run” for a national database of all requests for religious exemption made by federal workers.

The Pretrial Services Agency collects information and makes recommendations about newly arrested defendants in the federal criminal system.

“It’s likely that the Biden administration is using these agencies to stealthily test a policy it intends to roll out across government,” the foundation’s lawyers wrote in an analysis of the tracking system.

Notices of the new tracking system were only made public in the Federal Register, the federal government’s daily newspaper.

News of the system drew criticism from conservative officials.

“The Biden administration must immediately dismantle the Orwellian database,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt wrote in a public comment he posted on regulation.gov.

“There is no freedom in our Constitution more sacred than freedom of expression and religious practice,” Schmitt wrote. He called the decision “alarming” and said it had “a chilling effect on the exercise of religion by citizens”.

The Attorney General directed his comments specifically to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

“Rather than giving the public sufficient time to comment on the propriety or legality of collecting this personal information, the Department of Transportation database, in particular, became effective on the day of its publication” , did he declare.

The 19 agencies announcing the implementation of the tracking system did not respond to phone calls from The Epoch Times.

None of the notices in the Federal Register announcing the tracking systems say why the religious exemptions were tracked or what the Biden administration plans to do with the information collected.

Descriptions of the Religious Exemption Tracking System do not specifically identify COVID-19 vaccination as one of the mandates.

However, the notices say the new system meets guidelines issued by the new Safer Federal Task Force on the Federal Workforce under Biden’s executive order that established the national mandate for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This records system retains personal religious information collected in response to religious accommodation requests for a religious exception to the federally mandated vaccination requirement in the context of a public health emergency or similar health and safety, such as a pandemic, epidemic, natural or national or regional disaster,” one of the notices read.

The tracking system will include names and personal religious information, the notices say.

“As the nation’s largest employer, with more than four million civilian and military employees, the federal government has received tens of thousands of requests for religious exemption,” the Heritage Foundation wrote in its updated report. .

“It now appears that a growing number of federal agencies are retaining and preserving names, religious information, personally identifying information, and other data stored in lists from multiple government agencies.”

Last week, the Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden’s executive order that mandated a COVID-19 vaccine for all federal employees and contractors as well as workers at private companies with more than 100 employees.

However, he did not overturn the mandate of health care workers or the military.

These employees can only avoid the COVID-19 vaccine by requesting a religious exemption.

From The Epoch Times

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