Delaware Christian employees at Bayhealth had their religious exemptions denied and will face termination if they do not receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
TV Delmarva News spoke to over a dozen employees who agreed to interview on the condition that we protect their identities. Here are some of their stories:
“Why would you blanket no religious exemptions? Our religious letters, mine, was straight from the heart, it’s exactly what I believe,” one employee stressed. “I don’t see how you can be in the medical field and not believe in God, you see miracles all the time. How can you not believe in God?”
“To me, personally, being a Christian, I just feel like we should be able to say what goes into our bodies,” another employee stressed in an anonymous interview. “God created our bodies, so we can fight off infections.”
“We all have our own reasonings when it comes down to religion, and I even denied the flu vaccine for the past few years, and I would have to do is check a box, I had to have no reasoning at all,” another employee emphasized. “When they say that they’re denying it because I didn’t give a good theological reason, I did give a good theological reason and per my rights I shouldn’t have to spell it out, it’s between me and God.”
Another employee, who relocated a far distance across the country seven years ago to take their job at Bayhealth, emphasized how their religious exemption was also denied as a Christian.
“I currently serve in my church as a youth leader and teacher,” the employee said. “I take my faith very seriously, my faith is very authentic, I don’t just use it to gain things in this world, and I do hold my faith in higher regard than my career. I believe a career is important, but I’m not willing to give up my faith or jeopardize what I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Dr. Paul Isaacs, one of the chaplains at Bayhealth Sussex Campus, says he was forced to resign after his religious and medical exemptions were denied.
“This year after I got the flu shot, for the last three and a half months, I’ve had Bell’s Palsy, it’s doing better now but I still struggle with it, my eye won’t shut, I have to keep on protective glasses so I don’t get things in my eyes, I can’t eat right or shut my mouth right, and it’s a challenge,” Dr. Isaacs stated. “They forced me out in the sense that they told me if I don’t get the shot by Thursday I would be fired, so I resigned so I would not be fired. But I resigned under reluctance, and I shared in a letter my convictions about why I have difficulty accepting their decision.”
Dr. Isaacs stressed that both his medical and religious exemptions were denied and claimed the hospital even wanted him to not pray in the name of Jesus.
“I applied for the religious exemption and I was told that because my convictions are not based on my religion, and they never asked what my religion was, I argued from scripture about my faith and about my requirement to be faithful to the word of the Lord and the Lord himself and count on him protecting me, and I was told that’s not a valid religious exemption,” Dr. Isaacs stated. “For instance, I was supposed to pray in the name of Christ, I’m not supposed to say Jesus. That to me is a danger sign. They don’t want you to say the name of Jesus, and I have a problem with that.”
Our news department could not a clear cut answer from Bayhealth as to why the religious exemptions for Christian’s were denied during an interview with Bayhealth’s Vice Presidents of Marketing and Human Resources. Bayhealth also failed to provide the number of religious exemptions that were approved. And interestingly enough, hours after our interview on Tuesday, the following memo was sent to all employees, warning them not to speak to the media.
“Bayhealth employees should not be speaking to the media without approval and coordination with Bayhealth Marketing Communications. This includes all types of media — from print to radio to television.”
When our news department requested the specific policy they referred to in the memo, we were denied access.
According to Bayhealth, employees must receive their first shot of either Pfizer or Moderna no later than Thursday the 27th , if not they will have the option to take the Johnson and Johnson before a deadline next month of Febraury 28th.