Seventeen Christian professionals in New York who filed a lawsuit earlier this month to be exempted from COVID-19 vaccine mandates are standing by their lawsuit even after a new mandate requiring healthcare workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 took effect on Monday.
According to The Christian Post, the vaccine mandate applies to more than 600,000 workers in public and private hospitals and nursing homes.
But religious liberty advocate group Thomas More Society, which is representing the 17 Christian professionals, is arguing that New York Gov. Hochul is disrespecting and bullying medical workers with religious beliefs against the COVID-19 vaccine.
"New York's Governor Hochul is using every strong-arm tactic she can to attempt to coerce employees into taking vaccines against their will," Thomas More Society Special Counsel Christopher Ferrara said in a statement.
"She is also demonstrating disrespect, at a minimum, if not outright hostility to the deeply held religious convictions of our clients as well as thousands of others."
U.S. District Judge David Hurd extended an order temporarily preventing New York's health department from rejecting employer-approved religious exemptions to the vaccine mandate. The temporary order lasts until October 12, the same day a decision is expected.
"The seventeen plaintiffs in this action — practicing doctors, M.D.s fulfilling their residency requirement, nurses, a nuclear medicine technologist, a cognitive rehabilitation therapist and a physician's liaison — are united in their conscientious religious objection as Christians to being inoculated at all, much less 'continuously,' with any of the available COVID-19 vaccines because they all employ fetal cell lines derived from procured abortion in testing, development or production of the vaccines," said the lawsuit filed by Thomas More Society.
Previously, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to get the vaccine, and other Protestant church leaders have also voiced support.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, Pastor Robert Jeffress, leader of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, recently told the Associated Press that "There is no credible religious argument against" COVID-19 vaccines.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.