ICAN Wins Religious Exemption Decision in Mississippi: Why This Matters
By STEVE KIRSCH
This is a critical first step to enabling a NATIONWIDE religious opt out of vaccination requirements for kids to attend school. It should now be just a matter of time until this is nationwide.
Here’s the announcement of the win:
The federal court ruling that the First Amendment requires that, by 7/15/23, the State of Mississippi afford its residents a religious exemption for their children to attend school without one or more state mandated vaccines!
If the state appeals and ICAN wins again, the decision will apply to all Fifth Circuit states. If they appeal again to SCOTUS and win, it applies to all states.
If the state doesn’t appeal, lawyers in other states have an opportunity to leverage the decision and take it upwards to SCOTUS.
That’s what makes it so important.
Congratulations to ICAN, Aaron Siri, and Del Bigtree on a very important win!
ICAN ATTORNEYS SECURE RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION TO VACCINATION IN MISSISSIPPI
Today, ICAN’s attorneys secured a historic and critical win with a ruling from the bench following an evidentiary hearing, where a federal court has ruled that the First Amendment requires that, by July 15, 2023, the State of Mississippi afford its residents a religious exemption for their children to attend school without one or more state mandated vaccines!
A written entry on the Court’s docket was issued shortly after the hearing providing, in relevant part:
Minute Entry for proceedings before District Judge Halil S. Ozerden: Hearing on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction held on 4/17/2023. Court heard testimony and additional argument. For the reasons stated on the record, and to be more fully detailed in a written order to follow, the Court will grant Plaintiffs’ Motion. From and after July 15, 2023, Defendants Daniel P. Edney, in his official capacity as the State Health Officer … their officers, agents, servants, and employees, and anyone acting in active concert or participation with them will be enjoined from enforcing Mississippi Code § 41-23-37 [Mississippi’s compulsory school vaccination law] unless they provide an option for individuals to request a religious exemption from the vaccine requirement.
Mississippi is one of only six states that does not have a religious exemption for students to attend school. Numerous parents have sincerely held religious beliefs that do not permit them to vaccinate their children, including because of the involvement and development of vaccines using the products of abortions. Those parents were put in an impossible position as they were forced to violate their sincere religious beliefs if they wanted to send their children to school.
The refusal to recognize religious exemptions has needlessly harmed these children by forcing their parents to homeschool or move out of the State, often directly across the border to attend school in a neighboring state while otherwise continuing to live their lives in Mississippi.
Thus, ICAN supported a lawsuit to defend these parents’ constitutional rights.
The State of Mississippi affords a secular exemption to those with medical reasons that prohibit vaccination, reflecting that it can accommodate students that are unvaccinated. It has simply chosen to not accord an exemption when it is someone’s immortal soul that a parent believes would be at risk.
The plaintiffs and all parents in Mississippi whose children have been excluded from school due to their religious beliefs are, no doubt, incredibly heartened that a federal court agreed that the State cannot afford a secular exemption without affording a religious exemption because doing so violated the First Amendment.
The six plaintiffs in the case are parents from across the state including a pastor that had to exclude his own daughter from his own private Christian school because he could not accord his own religious convictions to let her attend.
ICAN could not be more proud to support this lawsuit that secured this incredible win for freedom! It is yet another step in its ongoing work to restore the right of every parent in this country to have his or her convictions respected and not trampled by the government. We look forward, with your support, to continuing and broadening this fight!