Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Suit Claims Mask Mandates Violate Free Exercise Rights and Establishment Clause

In a wide-ranging 128-page complaint, a woman who alleges that her medical conditions make it dangerous for her to wear a face mask filed suit in an Indiana federal district court earlier this month against 16 separate defendants challenging the legality of COVID- related mandates or recommendations to wear cloth face masks. Defendants include the CDC, the FDA, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the governor of Indiana, state and local health departments, local officials and several private businesses. Among the numerous challenges, the complaint (full text) in Reinoehl v. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (ND IN, filed 8/18/2021), includes these state and federal free exercise and federal Establishment Clause claims:

418. Non-medical masks have been used since ancient times in pagan religious ceremonies to ward of evil spirits and prevent illness....

421. Wearing talismans and other pagan, non-medical masks is against Plaintiff's religious beliefs.

422. Mandating everyone wear non-medical masks to prevent disease when the mask manufacturers cannot make claims they prevent disease transmission is the same as the State establishing a religion in which the Mask Deity prevents its wearers from becoming infected with disease.

423. The State cannot mandate the Plaintiff follows its religion. Plaintiff has the right to freely exercise her religion according to the dictates of her own conscience.

Friendly Atheist blog has more on the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the country novel religious freedom arguments are being asserted to avoid mask mandates.  According to Fox47 News, a Mason, Michigan mother is seeking a religious exemption from a school mask requirement for her children based on a verse from 2 Corinthians, Chap. 3: "But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed..."