Home Christian News Mohler, Graham, and Others React to SCOTUS Decision Halting Vaccine Mandate

Mohler, Graham, and Others React to SCOTUS Decision Halting Vaccine Mandate

vaccine mandate
Ivan Radic, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s “vaccine-or-test” mandate on large private businesses Thursday, many faith leaders praised the ruling. In a 6-3 decision, the court’s conservative majority said the vaccine mandate, which forced companies with 100 or more employees to require COVID-19 vaccines (or undergo mandatory testing and masking) amounts to “a significant encroachment” on people’s lives.

In the second of two high-profile expedited cases, SCOTUS ruled 5-4 that health-care facilities that receive federal Medicare and Medicaid funds can require employees to be vaccinated. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the three liberals in that decision.

Vaccine Mandate: Details of Thursday’s SCOTUS Ruling

A national group of independent businesses had sued the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), saying its vaccine-or-test mandate was burdensome and unrealistic. A majority of justices agree, writing that Congress hasn’t given the regulatory agency powers of such “economic and political significance.” The OSHA mandate would have affected an estimated 84 million American workers.

The three liberal justices who dissented warn that the court is hindering “the federal government’s ability to counter the unparalleled threat that COVID–19 poses to our nation’s workers.” During a public health crisis, they argue, SCOTUS shouldn’t “[displace] the judgments of the government officials given the responsibility to respond to workplace health emergencies.”

Many business leaders applaud the ruling, while others say they prefer having legal justification for requiring employee vaccination. Although no states have vaccine mandates for private businesses, a patchwork of state rules affect health-care workers. (Some states ban vaccine mandates.)

‘Vindication,’ Declares SBTS President Albert Mohler

Last November, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), led by Dr. Albert Mohler, joined the federal lawsuit against OSHA’s ordinance. After Thursday’s ruling, Mohler tweeted, “Yes!! Really thankful for SCOTUS granting stay on Biden vaccine mandate for employers. We filed suit against the administration in hope of this victory, just handed down.”

In a statement, Mohler, the seminary’s president, calls the ruling “a vindication of our cause from the very beginning.” He says, “The issue here is not the vaccine, but the attempt by the Biden administration to turn employers, including religious employers, into extensions of the administrative state. It was vital that the Supreme Court preclude a federal agency such as OSHA from coercing religious employers into violating their conscience and that of employees who may be divided over the question of vaccines on convictional grounds.”

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Stephanie Martin, a freelance journalist, has worked in Christian publishing for 28 years. She’s active at her church in Lakewood, Colorado, where she lives with her family.