Last week, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s (SBTS) president Al Mohler shared that the seminary jointly filed a lawsuit with Asbury Theological Seminary (ATS) against the OSHA ordinance that would require employers to enforce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The ordinance stems from the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate, which requires compliance by January 1, 2022. OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard became effective November 5, 2021.
On Monday November 9, 2021, the Alliance Defending Freedom, who is representing SBTS and ATS, tweeted a video wherein Mohler explained why he believes the vaccine mandate is a threat to religious liberty. Mohler said that this is the reason the seminary has filed a suit against OSHA.
“We as an institution are encouraging vaccines,” Mohler said, sharing that he himself has already received three COVID-19 vaccine shots. “My encouragement to people based upon my personal advisement is to be vaccinated.”
Arguing that the government is overstepping its reach by forcing religious institutions to vaccinate their employees, Mohler said, “Placing a religious institution in the position of intruding into the lives of it’s employees on matters that are religiously debated, even within the institution, and on which the church body takes no official stand — that is a step, indeed, an enormous step too far. It does place the institution in the role of being an extension of the course and power of the state.”
Mohler asked, “If this mandate stands, then what mandate will follow?”
“On this issue you do not have to be a sociologist, a theologian, or for that matter particularly alert to know that there is quite a distinction of opinion among our churches on this position,” Mohler said. “This mandate will violate conscience and it’s just a question of how many consciences will be violated, how regularly [and] to what degree. That makes this an unconstitutional imposition upon and violation of religious liberty.”
Similar to other prominent Christian leaders like Franklin Graham, Greg Laurie, Beth Moore, and Robert Jeffress, Mohler shared last December that he would be taking the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it was available.