There’s a growing consensus on the Left regarding religious exemptions: namely, that they’re absurd. “Dump COVID vaccine religious exemptions—there is no Church of Moderna Disbelievers,” declares the editorial board at the Los Angeles Times. There have been similar op-eds at MSNBC and Wired.
But it’s not just frustration with resistance to the vaccine mandates. In a 29 September op-ed for the Washington Post, Kate Cohen decries the ability of Americans to claim a religious exemption to the equal opportunity clause, to the contraceptive coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act, and to the requirement that a child be immunized to attend public school. “This seems crazy,” Cohen declares.
Thus Cohen’s “novel” solution: “If religious people can opt out of secular laws they find sinful, then maybe the rest of us should be able to opt out of religious laws we find immoral.” For example, she explains, anti-abortion laws are “religious laws,” and thus persons who are not religious should be able to exempt themselves from them. “Let’s call it a rational exemption,” she explains. “Rational exemptions could be used for religion-based laws with which people strongly, sincerely disagree. For example, a law that values the life of a quarter-inch embryo more than the life of a person carrying that embryo. That’s clearly a religious law.”