Former Washington AG: Religious exemption form for state workers is ‘begging for trouble’

Aug 26, 2021, 5:01 AM | Updated: 9:10 am
vaccine, exemption...
A clinical pharmacist with Seattle Indian Health Board prepares to administer a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images).
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Governor Jay Inslee’s office drafted an exemption form intended to disqualify as many staff as possible from avoiding his COVID vaccine mandate. As it’s written right now, if a staff member took an antacid from a doctor, it would disqualify them from the religious exemption.

Rantz: Email shows COVID religion exemption intentionally written to disqualify staff

According to an email that was sent internally by his general counsel, Kathryn Leathers, it says: “Exemptions: medical for sure; and religious (if we have to; if yes, as narrow as possible).”

Former state Attorney General Rob McKenna told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that he had the same initial reaction when he saw the email, which is that the governor’s office “doesn’t want people to be able to claim the religious exemption if they can avoid it.”

“And they’re trying to really limit it in a way which I think is problematic under the First Amendment,” he said. “So we’ll have to see if this effort succeeds or it’s challenged in court.”

McKenna says this is the kind of claim that could result in a temporary restraining order against this particular language used in the exemption form.

“Because you’re facing a choice between violating your religious beliefs by being vaccinated — if those are your beliefs — on the one hand, and being fired on the other, it really would cry out for injunctive relief while the court sorts through the constitutional issues,” he said.

Additionally, McKenna says he’s not sure that the governor’s office has the right to inquire into the basis for someone’s religious beliefs and their claim of exemption.

“I agree with you that you can’t discriminate between religions,” he said to Rantz. “But in addition to that, I don’t think you can narrow down the exemption in the way they’re trying to narrow it by essentially telling you if you’ve ever accepted medicine, you can’t legitimately claim to have a religious objection to the vaccine. The fact is someone could have a religious objection to a particular medication or type of medication, even while accepting other kinds of health care.”

COVID vaccine exemption asks if state workers received medicine as an adult

“I think that the governor’s office is begging for trouble here in their pretty transparent attempt to limit people’s ability to exercise their religious beliefs,” he added.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Olympia Meeting...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: City of Olympia embraces racist segregationist meeting at taxpayer expense

The City of Olympia is hosting a racially segregated community safety meeting as officials continue to advance BLM-inspired initiatives.
1 day ago
drug dealer...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: WA judges side with accused drug dealer over ludicrous claim of racism

Three judges on the Washington Court of Appeals just overturned a conviction against an accused drug dealer by using woke standards
2 days ago
Phantom Lake Elementary Principal Marcus Johnson (Instagram screengrab)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Elementary principal allegedly pushed erotic fiction, said he’s a ‘lover of smut,’ recorded smoking weed

Up until Sept. 24, the profile was public. But after the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH asked him about its content, the account went private.
6 days ago
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Oregon quietly considers housing migrants, shuns attention of Texas, Florida

One leader from the Oregon Department of Human Services said they should be regarded as "welcome guests."
7 days ago
smiley woke...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle Times out with early smear as Democrats fret over Tiffany Smiley threat

David Gutman wrote an editorial smearing Smiley for the Seattle Times. But the paper presents it as a news feature.
8 days ago
Xavier Arreaga_Brian Schmetzer...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Sounders fans, coach throw player under bus over different political opinion

An online mob of radical Seattle Sounders FC fans went after the team's star defender. And his coach threw him under the bus.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Former Washington AG: Religious exemption form for state workers is ‘begging for trouble’