Liz Wheeler: “I’ve obtained documents exposing the U.S. Navy’s plan to issue blanket denial of religious exemptions to the COVID vaccine mandate, in violation of Navy policy”

1/ BREAKING: I’ve obtained documents exposing the U.S. Navy’s plan to issue blanket denial of religious exemptions to the COVID vaccine mandate, in violation of Navy policy.

2/ Here are packages submitted by Navy Sailors at IWTC Corry Station in Pensacola, FL, requesting religious exemption to the COVID vaxx mandate. They are Navy Sailors who have honorably served for 30 years, 18.5 years, etc.

3/ Each request makes specific descriptions of why they are requesting religious exemption. The Navy hasn’t returned acceptance/denial yet… BUT, we know what’s happening behind the scenes. Let’s begin.

4/ U.S. Navy policy requires EACH religious exemption package to be evaluated “on a case-by-case basis” and requires that commanders pursue the “least restrictive means” in an effort to honor religious convictions.

5/ Navy policy dictates that religious exemption requests for vaccines be screened by a Chaplain, reviewed by the CO & fwd’d to the first O-6 in the chain of command for endorsement, then sent from O-6 to Chief of Naval Personnel, VADM John Nowell. BUT that’s not happening here.

6/ In this case, CAPT Marc Ratkus, who is CO of Center for Information Warfare Training & CDR Schley’s boss, provided a standard denial memo to CDR Schley and instructed her to use it for all requests at her command. It even had his letterhead and signature on it.

7/ In the denial endorsements all of her Sailors received, the letterhead and signature had been changed to make it appear that she was making the recommendation and he was merely concurring. But we know that she didn’t concur, and Schley admits it.

8/ CDR Schley knows she is violating policy & in fact complained to colleagues about it. I’ve obtained copies of TWO sworn affidavits from Sailors who heard CDR Schley claim she didn’t want to issue blanket denial of all religious exemption requests, but was forced by CPT Ratkus.

9) CDR Schley is knowingly violating policy and CAPT Ratkus is directing her to do so. This also begs the question: How high does this go? This is where it gets murky, but we have clues.

10/The blanket denial template that came from Ratkus to Schley is a Word doc. The doc properties show the original author is a JAG officer named LTJG Carlos Pagan who appears to work for 2-star RADM Peter Garvin, commander of Naval Training & Education Command (NETC).

11/ Why does this 2-star have any role here? The chain of command for religious exemption requests related to immunization goes directly from the O-6 to the 3-star CNP. So, are 2-star Garvin & his JAG Pagan involved? If so, why & to what extent?

12/ The NETC website boasts that it’s the Navy’s largest shore command, covering 50,000 Sailors worldwide. If RADM Garvin’s staff is inappropriately interfering in these religious accommodation requests, how many people might be impacted?

13/ If they are indeed dictating policy to issue blanket denials of religious exemptions, they are violating Navy policy in gross breach of ethics.

14/ Now let’s look at the gross hostility shown to servicemembers requesting religious exemption to the COVID vaxx. This is called a chop sheet. It’s a correspondence tracker passed up the chain of command that includes notes to be considered by superiors. On this chop sheet…

15/ CDR Michael Tiefel is the XO (second in command) at CIWT. He wrote a revealing note for his boss, CAPT Ratkus, regarding the data a Sailor at IWTC Corry Station included in his request showing how & to what extent aborted fetal cell lines were used in COVID vax development.

16/ CDR Teifel commented on the Sailor’s concern about aborted fetal cell lines used in the vaccine development. The sailor cited the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Who did Teifel cite?, an aggressively pro-abortion site that insults & stigmatizes pro-lifers.

17/ Tiefel actually quoted WORD-FOR-WORD about the Charlotte Lozier Institute, accusing the pro-life group of “pushing alarmist narratives.” Tiefel also added a few of his own words, saying that the site “spreads his [the Sailor’s] absurd research.”

18/ also proclaims that opponents of abortion are “extreme,” “toxic,” and “out of touch.” It even accuses them of “dangerous rhetoric.” Apparently objecting to abortion on religious grounds is now dangerous according to the Navy.

19/ Few are bold enough to put it in writing, but this is what people in positions of power in the Navy think about people of faith, and these are the resources senior leaders are using to consider these religious exemption requests. Does this sound like a fair process to you?

20/ And it’s not just IWTC Corry Station. I’ve also uncovered documents from IWTC Virginia Beach, another command under CAPT Ratkus’ control, in which the same exact denial recommendation is being used. All that changed was the letterhead and signature.

21/ Well, almost. CDR James Brennan, CO of IWTC Va Beach at least added a couple words to make it look like he’d conducted the “case-by-case” analysis required by policy, but somehow he actually made things worse.

22/ In one case, a denial recommendation from his command stated that the request hadn’t mentioned any specific religious conviction despite both the Sailor & Chaplain providing highly specific details supporting the request. Did CDR Brennan even bother to read these requests?

23/ In another, the denial recommendation states that “fetal cell tissues were not used in the development of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.” While it’s true only J&J contains the fetal cells, it’s irrefutable fact that fetal cell lines were used in testing of Pfizer & Moderna.

24/ As for the risk assessment of granting all the religious exemptions requested at a command that’s required by policy? Each denial recommendation simply said, “Not applicable.” That’s right. They just chose not to do it.

25/ Lest you think the COVID vax is necessary to accomplish the Navy’s mission, here’s an email to IWTC Corry Station from the previous CO (he left in July after holding the job during the whole pandemic), stating how during the pandemic w/o vaccines THE MISSION WAS ACHIEVED.

26/ Despite the command accomplishing 100% of its mission with 0% vaccination, suddenly the claim is that IWTC Corry Station won’t be able to accomplish its mission with 99% vaccination. At a command of over 2.5k people, only 20 have requested religious accommodation. That’s <1%.

27/ Furthermore, if the Navy CAN grant a service member’s request & accomplish their mission, they are supposed to do so (this according to training material provided by the Navy).

28/ At the same command, a religious accommodation was approved for a Sailor who was a Sheik wearing a turban, which violates uniform code. In fact, he was known to allow his hair & beard (additional uniform violations) to be messy & yet his religious accommodation was approved.

29/ The leverage to grant religious accomodations is wide. Navy policy says: you can be the only person who believes something, you don’t have to be part of an organized religion. AKA: it doesn’t matter what faith leaders say. Even atheists can utilize a religious accommodation.

30/ But here’s the thing: These blanket denials-in-process aren’t JUST xerox copies that violate policy. Look at WHY they plan to deny exemptions. “This would undermine fairness to those who complied.” (What about ppl who have to shave? Is allowing a Sheik to not shave unfair?)

31/ That’s an argument against religious exemptions altogether. Are you surprised?

32/ FINAL/ These documents are part of an official request from a servicemember for a congressional inquiry. Congress? You have the duty of oversight. Use it.

Originally tweeted by Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) on October 28, 2021.

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