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Boston Medical Center nurse loses lawsuit over firing for refusing Covid-19 shots; judge says her request for a religious exemption was too vague

A federal judge yesterday dismissed a lawsuit by a nurse at Boston Medical Center over the way the hospital fired her after rejecting her request for a religious exemption to its requirement that all employees get vaccinated against Covid-19, saying her suit failed to provide very specific details on just what religious doctrines would have been violated by the shots.

Last week, another Boston federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Milton Hospital by a fired worker there on similar grounds.

In his order today, US District Court Judge Richard Stearns ruled that Maureen McCarthy failed to show a legally required bona fide reason for her request. Her complaint, in fact, "is devoid of any explanation of McCarthy’s beliefs, let alone how they are religious in nature," Stearns wrote. The bulk of the 18-page complaint discusses not religion but alleged claims about how the vaccinations don't work and besides, McCarthy had already contracted Covid-19, so she was less of a threat to other employees and patients.

As an exhibit, McCarthy did attach a copy of the religious exemption request she filed with the hospital, but that fails to make her point as well, Stearns wrote. He began his analysis of why he was dismissing the case by quoting a section of that request:

I believe that receiving this vaccine would be a violation of conscience as a Christian who believes in the Bible, specifically the King James version. I feel that this vaccine would violate the principles laid out in God’s word, I believe my body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. It is a God given responsibility and requirement for me to protect the physical and spiritual integrity of my body (Rev 14:9-11, 19:20).

Stearns wrote that's not a doctrine from a particular religion, though:

Nothing in the request for a religious exemption indicates that McCarthy's religion inherently conflicts with obtaining COVID-19 vaccination (e.g., because it requires her to refuse vaccinations in general or even the COVID-19 vaccination in particular). See Griffin, 2023 WL 4685942, at *7. Instead, the cited basis for McCarthy's opposition to vaccination appears to be the dictates of her own conscience, which she maintains that her religion requires her to follow. Consistent with the decisions of other courts “faced with the same or similar articulated belief,” the court concludes that "such a conviction is not a bona fide religious belief." Thornton, 2023 WL 7116739, at *4 (collecting cases). To find otherwise would be to impermissibly make BMC beholden to McCarthy's personal preferences, as any policy violation could be framed as an expression of her religious belief.

Stearns then again quoted the Griffin case, in which an employee of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue sued after she was fired for refusing Covid-19 vaccinations despite her request for a religious exemption:

A stated claim of religious belief, without more, cannot grant an individual a blanket privilege to make his own standards on matters of conduct in which society as a whole has important interests.

McCarthy, who moved to Texas after she was fired, was represented by Peter Vickery of Amherst, one of a small number of Massachusetts lawyers who took on vaccination-firing cases.

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Comments

LMFAO

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It is very disturbing that there are nurses who don't understand how vaccinations work.

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It's even more disturbing that there are nurses who don't understand THAT vaccines work.

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She knows the vaccines are harmless and just was looking for things to argue with her bosses with. Toxic employees are a thing.

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Religious objection to vaccination? At this time in history? In this part of the country? Localized entirely within this pandemic?

Yes!

May I see it?

No.

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I said "Steamed vacuums"

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No wonder these places have staffing shortages! they do everything they can to make the most miserable work environments, and they go out of their way to make an example out of individual staff.

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You make it sound like the hospital put up posters with her picture on it as a warning to others or something. Nope. The fact that you are even reading about this case is not because of anything the hospital did but because she sued.

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And that's just her coworkers - patients are also at risk from this lunatic.

Hospital workers have long been required to be vaccinated. I worked for a local place thirty years ago and had no patient contact, yet I had to be vaccinated for measels, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, diptheria, tetanus, polio, HepB ...

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If I want to lend gravitas to my claim that religious beliefs sets me above the law and science then I'm going for broke instead of referencing some Jesus come lately bunch thees and thous. Vulgate or bust!

On a serious note this proves how foolish the current majority of Supremes are. If they had any wisdom they would have foreseen the results of injecting their bias and preference for religious ideology.

Imagine if Jesus asked a Christian baker to make a cake celebrating his love for the Beloved Disciple. The baker claims her religion says she doesn't have to (where it says a baker can discriminate is another question - certainly nowhere in the New Testament). Jesus sues for discrimination arguing that His religious beliefs were violated. His love for the Beloved Disciple is well, love.

Case reaches the Supremes. The majority of the Supremes twist and shout so well that they win the Buddy Dean Show of Angels Dancing on a Pin. Even Thomas Aquinas praises their Scholastic argumentation, recognizing that the judges realized Jesus was not Christian and so has no rights in this country.

Thomas then the judges to shut up and move in with the fascist busts lover, friend of Uncle Tom. They can keep their robes but America needs real judges.

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On a serious note this proves how foolish the current majority of Supremes are. If they had any wisdom they would have foreseen the results of injecting their bias and preference for religious ideology.

It didn't start with them. Google "Religious Freedom Restoration Act", signed by none other than Bill Clinton.

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from Revelations don't seem to support her position in the tiniest way.

Maybe someone who speaks Christian-right MAGA can connect the dots between her alleged deeply-held religious beliefs and some godly prohibition against getting a shot of any kind? I'm not seeing it in the scripture she references.

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In which case, I'd worry less about getting fired from my job, and a lot more about the seven plagues of God's wrath that are about to sweep the world (Revelation 16). Really, filing lawsuits seems like a waste of time in the Last Days, but that's just me...

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...and not that this is important, but it's "Revelation". Not "Revelations".

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I knew that too, and of course still screwed it up. Guess I need to re-read Revelation 22:18-19...

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