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RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION IN NEW JERSEY (August 13, 2003)
Many parents have submitted religious exemption letters that have been rejected including my 20-page extravaganza. (www.vaclib.org/chapter/cherubs.htm ) I am now recommending that this letter be used as a back up letter. Here is a substitute.
In June of this year one family in Senator Martin's District 26 used my religious exemption letter and the Health Department rejected it because it was "too long." I do not think that legally this is an acceptable reason to reject, however, Sen. Martin's office was nice enough to call the Health Department in Trenton and ask what would be acceptable. According to Dr. Robert Morgan, MD, (pediatrician) Health Official in Trenton, the following was acceptable:
Dear (School Nurse):
I would like to have my daughter, (named), exempted from mandatory immunization because the administration of immunization conflicts with the practice of our religious tenets, i.e. my religious belief prohibits the injection of foreign ingredients into my body or that of my child. Thank you.
This letter was accepted by Antonia Farrell, Public Health Rep. on July 29, 2003:
This is to inform you that your religious exemption for your daughter will be accepted as long as you take out the letters/symbol "i.e." (for example) in the body of the letter.
I informed the school nurse in reference to this. If you have any further questions, please call me at (609)588-7512 press 0. Just a reminder to please keep a copy for your files.
Many of you have submitted similar letters and they too, have been rejected. This is bewildering, but there is good reason to persevere. Formerly religious exemption from vaccination was granted only to Christian Scientists in New Jersey, the law was amended in the early 1990's to include all religions so as not to be discriminatory. Also, formerly the Health Department used a form where parents could just "check a box" if they were exercising their legal right to a religious exemption. Unfortunately, as of late the Health Department requires a letter from parents. Unless the letter reflects the language of a Christian Science objection (refusal of all drugs and surgery), the letters are casually being rejected in violation of New Jersey statutes. Christian Science is not considered to be a mainstream religion and the Health Department would like to believe that only extremists would refuse vaccinations. The vaccine ingredients as portrayed in the package inserts are in violation of every religion's dietary law.
Certainly, vaccinations are not Kosher (Leviticus). Some Catholic leaders in the US are finally supportive of Catholics opposed to vaccines including those containing aborted human fetuses. [See the Catholic religious exemption letter at: www.cogforlife.org] There are also clear Biblical proscriptions against mixing animal and human blood (Ezekiel). Lastly, many Buddhists and Hindus do not eat meat. When an animal is slaughtered for food, the pain and suffering and fright experienced by the animal remain in the meat in the form of negative energy. Many religious groups find it undesirable to take this kind of energy into the body. Therefore, the animal parts from a tortured animal would be that much worse. In the case of vaccinations, we are not just eating the meat we are injecting it directly into the bloodstream.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
I would suggest the following:
First, get the refusal and the reason for the refusal in writing. If you cannot, then recount the phone conversation in a letter. Send the letter with a note saying that your religious rights are being violated to (1) your three state legislators (free), (2) Edward Barocas, Legal Director of the ACLU (not-for-profit), and (3) Erik W. Stanley of the Liberty Counsel (also not-for-profit)
Contact your three state legislators. if you do not know what district you are in, you can find out at www.njleg.state.nj.us or call (800) 792-8630. Legislators can intervene personally (this usually solves the problem!) If necessary, they can also arrange for a judicial hearing with binding arbitration.
File a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):
Edward Barocas said that if parents are receiving letters from the Health Department saying that the religious exemption letters are not "good enough" he wants to see copies.
It is illegal for the Health or Education Department to ask what your religion is. Mr. Barocas also said that you must be careful to say only things you really believe in for them to be able to defend you.
He can be reached at : Edward Barocas, Legal Director ACLU
P.O. Box 750, Newark, New Jersey 07101
Contact Erik W. Stanley at the Liberty Counsel. He wrote the following to me on June 18, 2003:
I understand that you have been speaking with Rena from our office about vaccination exemption. After reviewing the information you have provided, I would suggest simply having people sign a statement that immunization conflicts with their religious tenets. I don't believe you need to provide them a whole packet of information because it tends to confuse the issue. Just a short and simple statement should be sufficient. If it is not, then we can go from there depending on the particular situation.
I hope this information helps. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.
Erik W. Stanley, Litigation Counsel (407) 875-2100 (Phone)
P.O. Box 540774, Orlando, Florida 32854
Vaccination Liberation - Idaho Chapter
Contact: Vaccination Liberation
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