If you’re reading this, chances are you or someone you love are facing the very real possibility of losing your job, maybe even your career. You’re wondering what you’ll do next and how you’ll provide for yourself and your family. You may be reading through tears. You may be far past the tears and just angry. Now you’re faced with having to prove your religious convictions and in many ways, this is just too much. You many be asking yourself, “where do I even begin”?
Well, this article is for you. It’s here to give you help and suggestions when writing and submitting your own religious exemption letter to your employer. It may feel like a daunting or scary task, but hopefully this will ease the stress.
Here are some things to consider.
First, there are only 2 requirements for a religious exemption:
- It has to be about your personal religious beliefs (not that of your church or any organized religion), and
- Your beliefs have to be sincerely held
Second, there are 3 important parts to communicate in your letter requesting a religious exemption:
- Share what you believe (try to be as specific as you can when stating your belief(s), and try to back them up with something that supports the reason for your belief, like a bible verse)
- Share how your religious belief is opposed to vaccines or how vaccines violate your religious faith (try to make a clear connection between your religious beliefs and how they would be violated by taking a vaccine)
- Conclude with a definitive statement (at the end of your letter, make a clear conclusion with an absolute statement objecting to the vaccine, saying something like “so I can’t take it” or “my religious beliefs prevent me from getting the vaccine” or “therefore I cannot take the vaccine”)
In your letter, your personal religious belief(s) are all that matter. It’s best to leave out anything medical, scientific, political, or legal related to vaccines. Even if you believe vaccines are harmful, it’s not relevant to a religious exemption. It’s best not to mention vaccine harm, ongoing clinical trials, toxic ingredients, etc. Only your religious beliefs need to be included… not even your religious affiliation or denomination. Sometimes giving your employer more information than needed can work against getting your religious exemption approved.
Example religious exemption letter
Below is an example of an exemption letter. Please change it and make it personal to you. Remember, it’s important to show your beliefs are sincerely held. Writing your own personal letter demonstrates your sincerity. Simply copying someone else’s letter or signing at the bottom of a form letter may actually undermine the sincerity you want to show. It’s ok to use other letters as inspiration, but nothing is as strong as your own words. Letters from churches or religious leaders can be useful as supportive or follow-up documents if they should they be needed after your letter is submitted.
Dear [Name of HR professional/Religious exemption contact/Employer Name],
This letter is to request a reasonable accommodation and religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine required by [name of employer].
Share what you believe. (try to be as specific as you can when stating your belief(s), and try to back them up with something that supports the reason for your belief, like a bible verse)
Share how your religious belief is opposed to vaccines or how vaccines violate your religious faith. (try to make a clear connection between your religious beliefs and how they would be violated by taking the vaccine – see the Vaccine Position Statement for People of Faith for biblical arguments and relevant verses)
Conclude with a definitive statement. (make a clear conclusion with an absolute statement objecting to the vaccine, saying something like “so I can’t take it” or “my religious beliefs prevent me from getting the vaccine” or “therefore I cannot take the vaccine”)
Thank you for reviewing my request for a reasonable accommodation and religious exemption from [name of employer]’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement.
*Feel free to copy and paste this example… just make sure to personalize it!
Attorneys helping with religious exemption cases
- The Liberty Counsel has a dedicated page to help with religious exemptions. It’s a great place for even more information and sample letters. Also, if you feel like you need legal assistance, you can request help by filling out their online form
- The law firm of Siri & Glimstad has a vaccine exemptions page and detailed FAQ pages for religious vaccine exemptions in the workplace and in schools and universities, as well as immigration exemptions. They also offer paid legal help with your exemption process.
- The Vaccine Position Statement for People of Faith is a theologically-based statement signed by people around the world. It presents religious beliefs against the use of abortion in the making of vaccines.
- Megan Redshaw’s article provides useful information including biblical supports that may be helpful in writing your religious exemption letter.
- The Vault Project’s article provides a thorough explanation of law applicable to religious vaccine exemption requests, and helps you understand your rights as an employee.
- National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) has information on what laws exist to protect employees and adults from vaccine mandates
- The Rutherford Institute provides guidance on how to request a religious exemption in the workplace.
*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not providing legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney.