Photo by Mark Strozier on Wikimedia Commons
Ok, I confess I’m from Kansas. Sorry to use the name of my adopted state to lure you into a Medium story on religion and lawmaking. Writers far and wide use Kansas or the Wizard of Oz when they need a reference to place further than 20 miles east or west of either coast. And believe me, we get sick of it. However, I digress from my religion and lawmaking theme.
In Kansas now, our newest law allows anyone to refuse getting a Covid vaccination required by an employer simply by saying it’s against their religious beliefs. You don’t even have to say exactly what religious beliefs are being violated. It’s not even a request for an exemption. Just sign a form saying you are exempt.
There are other religious exemptions, one of which is that a person can refuse to serve in the military on religious grounds. It is quite an involved process that an applicant must go through to get approval. No such process is required in the Covid legislation crafted by the Kansas Legislators.
These same Kansas Legislators regularly talk about their Christian faith and its importance by implication for all of us. Fortunately, the Speaker of the Kansas House happily confirmed religious exemptions would cover beliefs that aren’t tied to a belief in God but simply a strong moral conviction. How nice of him to clarify this, because for a moment I thought only those with Christian beliefs could take advantage of this exemption. What a relief!
Then, as I thought about this some more, maybe these Republicans were onto something. Say I’m a little short one month and I can’t pay my liability insurance for my car, I could really use a new religious exemption to not pay my insurance. Maybe the legislature would be kind enough to do that for me. And if I hurt somebody terribly with my car, well tough luck. Then exemptions could be expanded to other things I don’t like doing, say observing speed limits. And if the legislature could exempt people from the prohibition on getting an abortion, wouldn’t that be great — oh wait a minute, Republican legislators are really, really against abortion so I don’t think this exemption would ever be approved.
But for now, at least I’m appreciative for the exemption from getting a Covid vaccination required by my employer. At least it’s a start. And if I, my family or friends happen to die from Covid, well tough luck.
Ken Grotewiel is a Founding Member of None of the Above Society.
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