Religious COVID Exemptions – Court Case With Mat Staver – Religious COVID exemptions are still being fought for at the courts. Mat Staver Joins us today to explain these court cases, their consequences and more. You don’t want to miss today’s show!
Air Date: 06/20/2022
Guest: Mat Staver
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live. We’re taking on the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. And we appreciate you joining us today, as we do exactly that. Whatever that hot topic is, we want to know what the Bible says about it, we want to know what history can teach us and then, of course, how do we live that out under the United States Constitution.
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My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s constitution coach. And I am here with David Barton and Tim Barton. David’s America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders. Tim Burton’s a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. We thank you for joining us. Visit the website wallbuilderslive.com today.
Alright, David and Tim, we’ve got Mat Staver, our good friend over at Liberty Counsel coming on in just a few minutes. I can’t believe we’re getting any time from him. This guy is everywhere all over the country, and has cases all over the country and even was recently at the Supreme Court. We had him on just a few weeks ago celebrating that 9-0 win. But he’s back for another case to talk about Liberty Counsel is handling.
Yeah, it’s a COVID case, which is really strange, because a lot of us are kind of breathing a sigh of relief that this COVID thing is kind of over and go through an airport now anywhere in the United States and I have to do crazy stuff. I just got back from Israel and now I don’t have to do crazy stuff to get into America from Israel anymore. So a lot of the COVID stuff seems to be going away, except it’s not in the legal community.
I think Mat told us at one point, he had a COVID case in every state in the United States, something in the court in every single state, all 50 states. And so a lot of the stuff that’s still going on and it needs to because we want to make sure that if anything comes up again, I don’t know, whatever the next fake crisis is going to be that the government can’t step in and do what it did this time. And so he’s litigating these things on through and there’s a lot of health care workers in a lot of states that really got punished for saying, hey, we don’t want to do the vaccines, we don’t want to do that.
And by the way, now we’re seeing a whole lot of medical evidence on all the danger that stuff was, didn’t know until two years ago. But there’s a lot of people had really conscientious objections. And we’ve seen in the military and health care and education and elsewhere, that if you say I have a religious exemption, they say no, no, you’re not allowed to have that. What do you mean I can’t have a religious exemption? Are you in charge of my religion? Now you get to tell me what I believe? And so that’s…
And they really did. They really did. They tried to say this is not in the tenets of your particular faith. I couldn’t believe. They actually looked inside people’s religious tenets and decided, well, does this line up with what we’re doing or not? I mean, if that’s not a violation of the First Amendment, I don’t know what could be.
And even outside of tenets of faith, just the whole concept of the rights of conscience, there’s so many Founding Fathers talked about. But long before that, the Pilgrims and Puritans, William Penn, John Locke, all these other guys in generations before the founders, they had already laid out the rights of conscience. And if you’re going to go back to saying you have to have religious tenets, then we’re back to where we were at war time when you say you can’t be a conscientious objector at war unless you’re denomination is against war. And that means no Baptist can be a conscientious objector, no Presbyterian, whatever. And that’s just not the way it’s ever been.
And so for these employers, these government agencies, whatever to say, we’re going to tell you whether your conscientious objector is sincere or not, that’s crazy. And so that’s one of the cases Mat has right now. And they’re in these preliminary motions going back and forth on what’s going to happen when they finally get to trial. And there’s a lot of important decisions being made at that point and so.
I saw an article on this on some of the things that just were decided by the judge and what they will and won’t admit to the trial and what you can and can’t put forth and it just really caught my attention how important this stuff was. And we thought it’d be really good to get Mat on to talk about some of this, because this really does have far reaching ramifications for every one of us and is not the COVID stuff necessarily. It’s what does conscience mean? And how much protection do you have for rights of conscience? And if something like this comes up again in the future, what kind of limits can we put around the government to make sure we don’t have what we had this time?
Alright, well, Mat Staver with us. We’ll be right back, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. The second amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees to every individual the right to keep and bear arms has been targeted for years now by those who are determined to dismantle the individual right to self-protection. Opponents argue that only the militia the military and law enforcement are to have and use firearms.
But those who wrote the Second Amendment strenuously disagreed, including founding father Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration, a president of the Continental Congress, and one of those who actually frame the Second Amendment. He declared “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught to like, especially when young how to use them.” For more information about Richard Henry Lee and the history of the Second Amendment, go to wallbuilders.com.
Welcome back to the Mat Staver show on WallBuilders Live. Well, it feels like that sometimes because he’s on the frontlines on so many issues. It feels like we have him on once a week, actually, we couldn’t have him on enough, Mat, always good to have you, brother. Thanks for coming back.
Good to be with you for sure.
You’re one of the busiest men in America, so many cases, so many things Liberty Counsel is working on. And so once again, we’re just thankful for you. Want to send people to your website, lc.org. Get on the email list, folks, you can stay up to speed there, make donations, make it possible for them to continue to fight this good fight. Mat, this one we haven’t covered before and it is the health care worker case you’ve got. I think it’s that at Maine, is that right?
Well, we have several. We have Maine, we have New York and then we also have one in Illinois against a private entity that terminated 500+ employees because they refused to take the COVID shots.
Wow! At a time when we need them most, we’re just going to get rid of them. And despite the science, despite all those things, the big issue here is anonymity. These health care workers they’re subject to all kinds of punishment essentially, if this anonymity is not kept and apparently the judge has convinced that it shouldn’t be. So what happened on this?
Right. In this particular case, this is our case in Maine against Governor Janet Mills, Janet Mills, the governor of that state issued an order that said that all of the hospitals, all of the healthcare providers in that state, they must require the employees to get the COVID shots and that they could not entertain any objection or request for an accommodation based upon their sincere religious beliefs. If, in fact, they did, if they accommodated them as they are required to do under federal law Title VII that prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion in the workplace, if they accommodated the employees, the employers would lose their license to do business in the state of Maine. So it was a significant threat.
We filed suit on behalf of about 2,000 healthcare workers throughout the state. We have named plaintiffs in Maine. And then of course, the class that we’re seeking is about 2,000 people. But the named plaintiffs, we presented them as anonymous individuals. The employers, the defendants, they know their identity for purposes of litigation. That’s all that is necessary.
But now what happened is some media intervened and they’re asking for the identities of these individuals to be public information. The problem is, is that when these same media sources print their articles about the case, their readers respond in a very negative way with threats against these individuals. And it’s the same media that now wants to essentially dox them and indicate who they are by name so that people can track them down and intimidate them and harass them.
So we believe, for several reasons, both for their personal protection and for the fact that this is medical information about their decision to take or not to take any kind of injection into their body, that it’s protected by privacy and there is no reason for the public to have their names, especially when the defendants have their names. Unfortunately, the judge required that their names be revealed. We have filed an appeal to that decision and now that’s up on appeal. And we have recently filed our briefing in that case asking for this to be stayed and overturned because it’s a significant issue. I mean, if you have to reveal the names of these individuals, some of these individuals simply won’t be able to continue the suit because they’re going to be targeted specifically by individuals who have essentially targeted any individual that disagrees with them.
Yeah. And they’ve proven it over the last few years. Kind of a general question for you, Mat because you got a better feel on this and maybe anybody I know. I have never seen so much just ignoring the law, ignoring precedent, ignoring those things. It seems like to me right now. And I mean, I all the religious liberty stuff we fought over the decades, you had goofy Supreme Court decisions where people could argue the different tests and all that kind of stuff.
But the stuff over the last couple of years, I mean, whether it’s HHS not following the emergency authorization statutes and just ignoring the other treatments, ignoring, there’s what they’re supposed to be telling doctors and patients and all that to this kind of thing where you would normally protect the identity of these folks. Just in general, I mean, have you ever seen the rule of law, so malleable and just the two tier Justice, and I don’t thrown a lot at you, but I’ve just been thinking about this, it feels like we’re losing our legal system.
Well, you know, when ideology rules the day rather than the rule of law, you do lose your legal system. And that is fundamentally a worldview issue. It is what role does law play? Or is it just simply a cold instrument on associated with history, and obviously, other inalienable rights so that it can be used as a tool to obtain any achievable objective no matter whether it’s right or wrong? And that really is the battle over law. Law can be something that’s very good. I mean, obviously, God created law and order and brings chaos and turns it into order, brings law that when it’s used properly produces life rather than death and harm and destruction.
But when it’s used improperly and disassociated with its fundamental founding principles and inherent and transcendent principles, that same instrument of law can become a very dangerous weapon. And that’s what you see happening is being used as a weapon. And when it happens to be used as a weapon to come against somebody’s ideology because the person using that weapon disagrees with you, it becomes very, very dangerous. That’s the thing of repressive regimes. They take law, they abuse it, and then they oppress people with it.
And so that’s what you’re seeing happening right now is this battle. It’s the same battle that we look at, for example, on the United States Supreme Court, regarding the debate over judicial activists or those that want to adhere to the original understanding or intent of the rule of law, the Constitution and the statutes. That’s really the issue that we see battled there and all of the courts. And dependent upon which one has the rule of the day is depending upon whether society is going to be a society based on law or whether it’s going to be one that devolves into a repressive state.
And so yeah, I think we do see that. For example, in this case here, we have a law called Title VII, it is a federal law going back to the 1960s that prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of religion. It’s pretty clear. When someone says that they have a sincerely held religious objection or belief and they need accommodation to the COVID shots, it’s the employers duty to consider that and try to accommodate it make reasonable accommodations unless it’s an undue hardship not to do so. Pretty straightforward in that respect!
But when a governor of the state of Maine says the employers of that state cannot consider this federal law, in fact, must not accommodate anybody’s sincere religious belief in violation of a federal law and if any employer does accommodate and does adhere to the federal law, then that employer will lose their business license to operate in the state of Maine. That is lawlessness at its epicenter. That is what lawlessness looks like. That is an objective etiology or an any ideology that has an objective that simply disregards the rule of law.
Yeah. Man, I wish I had a program like Joe Rogan and you and I could spend three hours because there’s so many rabbit holes I’d love to go down and pick your brain on this because it also seems like it just all comes back to moral relativism versus moral absolutes. And even with the rule of law, if your constitutional Republican, you’ve got absolute on paper, or is it all up to whatever a Judge feels like that day and becomes like more. It’s just seems so malleable we’re used to it was, hey, it was very clear right and wrong. And of course, that’s what legislators are forced to decide where to draw those lines and all those.
But the lines meant something before and it just they seem to mean less and less. And it’s a Machiavellian hey, end justifies the means everybody’s doing whatever they can do to win. And as you said, is just a dangerous, dangerous road where the law is being used as a blunt instrument against people. And we lose the equal justice, blind justice as well becomes a two tiered justice system being used.
So the only way to turn that in is to get back to truth, value truth once again and have champions of truth, which is exactly what you guys at Liberty Counsel are. You’re on the frontlines fighting for truth, fighting for these things, and in so many different areas. And I just thank God for you. Man, this COVID thing, you’ve always been great on religious liberty and other issues. But you stepped up in a way that very, very few people did. So many members of the military, healthcare profession, I mean, all these different areas that you all have stepped in the gap for. So thank you, thank you for being a warrior and thank you for staying in the fight. I hope you sleep fast. I hope you can like spend three hours get all night sleep because I don’t know how you’re handling all these cases that you are.
You know, it really is a battle over truth. That’s really what the battle is about in these days. And it’s a struggle. But you know, we make strides, you have ups and downs here and there. But at the end of the day, we know that with God all things are possible. He’s called us to engage, and engage we will. And I believe that despite all the adversity that we may face even uncertainty, you know, we have these stories from history, whether it’s Moses or Esther or even Jesus, obviously, overcoming this incredible adversity, this incredible, impenetrable object that or insurmountable situation that they faced. History does not remember cowards.
Yeah. Amen. Amen. And let’s not forget and your optimism is another thing I love. But I mean last time we had on, just few weeks ago 9-0 decision at the Supreme Court victory and so, like you said ups and downs and victories and we get right back in the fight when we have a defeat of any kind as well. And that’s what it’s going to take. I’ve said for a while, it’s going to get ugly before it gets better and we’ve got some tough, tough roads ahead because of the lack of moral absolutes and moving away from God and those things all have their consequences. But hey, this is where God’s planted us, we’re going to stay in the fight, duty is ours, results are God’s. And like you said, history is replete with amazing stories of overwhelming odds. So stay in the fight, brother. Lc.org is the website, encourage our listeners to come alongside, you make donations, get on the email list. And Mat, we look forward to having you back as soon as possible.
Thanks. Good to be with you. I look forward to it.
That’s Mat Staver. Folks, stay with us. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Hey, guys, this is Tim Barton, I am interrupting the normal broadcast to bring you something pretty special. This summer, we are doing a special program for college aged students 18-25 year olds. And it’s something that is becoming more and more special based on where the climate is.
In the middle of a crazy culture, in the middle of a nation going in crazy directions and right now we’re seeing in academia where even Christian universities are promoting critical race theory, teaching the 1619 project, we want to do something to help equip young people the next generation, to know the truth, the truth of the Word of God, the truth of America, the truth of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the free market, we want to get into a lot of this. And this is something that if you are an 18-25 year old, or if you are a parent or grandparent, if you have an 18 or 25 year old, if you’re in church 18-25 year olds, this program is something that can be life-changing for them, you want them to be a part. Go to wallbuilders.com and look for the summer institute to be part of this program.
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us, back with David and Tim now. And thanks to Mat Staver, not just for the time today, but for all the great work that they’re doing at Liberty Counsel. So guys, this is all about can you reveal to the public and to the media these plaintiffs knowing that the other side is relentless on harassing, even becoming violent with people they politically disagree with?
Well, let’s just bring up for a second, right, a little unrelated case. But there was a case earlier this year, Ghislaine Maxwell, I’m probably pronouncing her name incorrectly, but was the Associate of a very famous Jeffrey Epstein who might not have hung himself but did die in prison. And during that trial, they said, oh yeah, we can’t televise it. I guess it was last year, right. They said, oh, we can’t televise this. We can’t let people know who might be a part of the sexual exploits with children. We can’t let people know that. Well, why can’t you let people know that? Because of some of the politically powerful, of some of the financially powerful people who were on that list. And then you have the Johnny Depp Amber Heard trial, which would not leave social media, which would not leave the news for so long. And what you see is his inconsistency of the system. Obviously, a Judge has the ability to say, hey, we’re going to televise, we’re not going to televise. Obviously, there are…
I don’t know, if he has the ability. He has the opinion to say…
Well, he has the authority.
Yeah, authority. There you go.
But that’s what I mean by ability. So he has the authority to say we are going to allow this or we’re not going to allow this. But in some of these cases, it doesn’t make sense why you would not allow some of these individuals. So like the Maxwell trial, where she’s accused of this sexual activity with minors of trafficking minors. Well, how can she be guilty of this if we don’t know who should traffic them to? Isn’t that part of what she’s doing? She was getting these minor girls for somebody.
But because of the people on the list, and we know Bill Clinton was on this plane with Jeffrey Epstein dozens of times, but they don’t want us to know who that happened to. What we are seeing is a political motivation in some of these scenarios. And I mean, this Rick, was kind of your point with the conversation with Mat Staver is we are seeing a political motivation where the Left wants to demonize people and get their names out, to put pressure on them.
We saw even with Judge Kavanaugh where there was a literal assassin who showed up to this guy’s house because the Left is saying, hey, no, we want to show up and protest. We want Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden are actually on record saying we want to pressure these Justices to try to make them change their mind about what this really might be, which is actually illegal. That is against a federal law. You cannot interfere and sway the outcome of an election. And yet we have elected officials promoting that.
This is where this specific scenario becomes important. Because some people might say, but wait a second, don’t they have the right to confront their accuser? Like this argument, they should be anonymous. Like shouldn’t people be able to know who they are? Well, it’s not that the accuser doesn’t know. These individuals in the courtroom know exactly who they are. It’s not like the people in the courtroom are sitting behind some kind of platform or screen or shield. They’re not wearing some kind of cloth bags or hoods over their head in the courtroom.
In the courtroom, everybody knows who it is. But they’re trying to, for the sake of these individuals, protect them from the external threat. We’re now we know, again, like with the Judge Kavanaugh scenario, people are actually showing up at his house offering death threats against his wife and his kids, like just crazy stuff. That is part of what the judicial system should be protecting people from is these negative outside influences. I mean, these people should be arrested. They should be in jail for what they’re doing.
But that is an important part of this conversation. Is it’s not that Mat is trying to protect these individuals so that the person they’re accusing doesn’t know who’s accusing them. No, they actually get to confront their accuser. That’s part of the process. But it’s not exposing them to all of the crazy extremists and leftist who would then want to take and dox them and use this information to destroy their lives, to threaten them at their homes, or whatever else the case might be.
I wish I thought of this when Mat was still on, guys, but you know what they could do is tell all the media folks, hey, the consolation prize is when we have to turn around and sue you for defamation, you’ll find out who we are. You’re the defendant, we’ll let you know who are for sure.
You know, there’s such an irony to this. Because when you think of terrorist, the root word of terrorists is terror and terrorists do cause terror. They cause fear, and they cause panic, etc. And it’s interesting how willing the Left is to cause fear in people, to dox people, to cause a Supreme Court Justices to have to fear for their children, fear for their wife, fear for their own lives. It’s okay to make that public and we’re not going to stop them from putting all that public information.
And we’re saying, but when you do, look what happens, the Left is so radical. They are so terrorist oriented that they want to create terror. I just got off the road. I mean, just for the record of this, I got off the road and I’d been at number of churches and the Left found out what churches I was at, and they so harass those pastors and so accused and so threatened and so just because I was there. They don’t even know what I talked about. It doesn’t matter, just the fact that was there.
And so I exposed all these pastors, all this harassment by the Left who are by definition terrorist, at least the way they act and behave. And so for this Judge to think, oh, it’s okay if we make these names public, nothing’s going to happen. Are you kidding? These guys that are so far on the left progressive, I mean, COVID was their religion. That’s what they worship at. Everything had to do with COVID and everything’s centered around COVID. Oh, my gosh, if you didn’t mask up, you were worse than Hitler. And it’s just crazy that a Judge would say no, and especially Rick, as you pointed out, in the court, they know who these people are and that’s all you need to know so you can confront your accuser. The public doesn’t have to know who they are. And if they do, it can come later after the decision.
And this Judge should certainly be looking exactly what you just said, which is the track record. I mean, let’s not forget that what a crazy percentage was. Was it 40% or 45% of a lot of these folks were willing to put you in basically internment camps if you did not agree with them on COVID and you didn’t do all the things that they wanted. And here we have healthcare professionals saying, we don’t want to have to get the vaccination or whatever it is because it hasn’t proven to be worth it. So yeah, this Judge absolutely should have taken all that into account and let’s be praying for Mat to be successful on appeal.
Alright, friends, out of time for today. Thanks to Mat Staver for joining us today. Be sure to visit his website at lc.org, that’s lc.org, a great place to stay informed and also to support one of the most important areas of defense for Liberty today and that’s at the courts. That’s all the different cases that Mat’s dealing with across the nation. When you make a contribution in his website, you’re helping to defend all of these folks. And you never know when it might be you and you need one of these legal think tanks to come alongside you without charging you. And you’ll be thankful for all those people that donate to these different organizations so that they can defend us and defend our liberties. Lc.org is the website to do that.
And then don’t forget our website wallbuilderslive.com, you can listen to archives of the program there. Share the program with your friends and family which is vitally important right now. Get the word out there. Spread truth as best you can. And then also that’s where you can make that one-time or monthly contribution. Thanks so much for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.