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By Tony Perkins

The Defense Department didn’t have any trouble getting 97 percent of its troops vaccinated — but when it comes to granting some exemptions, well, they’re just too busy. On Monday, the same day the Pentagon upped its alarm level on the virus to HPCON Charlie (Health Protection Condition Charlie), Pentagon spokesman John Kirby struggled to answer the looming questions — from why the vaccinated troops were getting COVID to where the religious accommodations were. As usual, none of the department’s answers did much to reassure anyone.

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “continues to believe strongly… that the vaccines really do work,” Kirby insisted. “And it really is, when it comes down to it, it’s a readiness issue,” he tried to explain. But if readiness really mattered, why is the military so intent on discharging thousands of troops with faith-based objections? Instead of depleting the force, why not grant the opt-outs that so many service members requested?

Kirby didn’t really have an answer, instead replying that the process is “controlled by each of the military departments: the Army, the Department of the Navy and Department of the Air Force, Space Force. They are in charge of adjudicating those exemption requests and making those decisions. But in terms of your broader question, which is I think… does DOD still believe in the value of a religious exemption process for this or any other vaccine? The answer is yes, we do,” he continued.

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