Well, the Constitution has just taken another hit, and we’re mobilizing again to defend it. The reason is that our infernal authorities, not content with demanding to know your medical status, now want unfettered access to your religious status too!
On Jan. 11, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a notice proposing to track all its employees and contractors who made “requests for exceptions from public health emergency mandates.” When those exceptions (which most people call “exemptions”) are on religious grounds, the DOJ intends to catalogue each individual’s creed, practice, or observance. And it plans to collect all their medical histories, test results, identifying information, and contact information.
Then, adding injury to insult, all this data can be shared with other branches of government – including federal, state, local, or foreign – along with judicial bodies, law enforcement, and other enforcers of rule or regulation.
In one fell swoop, therefore, the DOJ has desecrated the First Amendment’s protection against religious meddling and the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of searches without a warrant.
Through its attorneys, ICAN sent a scathing response to the DOJ on February 10, 2022. Its four-page letter denounced the government’s authoritarian measures and “contempt for religious conviction” and demanded the Department “immediately dismantle this despotic and invasive database.”
As the letter observes, individuals who submitted requests for religious exemption had no idea that “their most personal thoughts and beliefs could be shared indiscriminately with others both within and outside of their employers. We strongly urge you to not irreparably breach the trust of these individuals who have done nothing more than seek to abide by their faith.”
The letter also quotes George Washington’s statement, in his Letter to the Society of Quakers, that men “remain responsible only to their Maker for the Religion or modes of faith which they may prefer or profess.”
Yet, as ICAN’s attorneys have also documented, the DOJ’s ploy has been replicated throughout the federal government. Among them is the Department of Transportation (DOT) which, in the words of Missouri’s Attorney General, Eric Schmitt, has developed “Orwellian plans to track citizens who engage in the free exercise of their religion.”
In his own letter to DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Schmitt continues, “There is no freedom under our Constitution more sacred than the freedom of religious expression and practise.” He also asks why “information on the religious beliefs or practices of American citizens should be shared with foreign governments.”
Similar denouncements were expressed in a joint letter to Joe Biden from some 40 Congressional representatives, dated January 24, 2022: “From day one,” they write, “your administration has displayed a consistent attitude of contempt towards Americans who prioritize faith in their lives.”
So, are we back to the bad old days when worship had to be conducted in secret, lest the authorities persecute the faithful? Or when priests had to hide in hidden wall cavities because a hostile monarch was on the throne? Isn’t that what the Pilgrim Fathers sought to leave behind? Of course not and we don’t intend to sit idly while our rights are being stripped.
Although the period for public comment has ceased, I’m sure the DOJ would love to hear your views on its casual slaughters of the Constitution at [email protected] (citing CPCLO Order No 01-2022), or by calling Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Arthur E. Gary, at (202) 514-3101.