Creighton University, a Catholic Jesuit University, is being sued by four of its current students. The school is being sued for refusing to grant religious exemptions to their Covid-19 vaccine mandate. The school set the deadline for students to upload proof of vaccination by September 7, 2021, or be administratively removed from the school. Their mandate applies to all students, even those who attend online classes. The students filed the lawsuit on September 8, claiming, “Arbitrary and disparate treatment of students and violations of religious freedom.”
On September 8, students who did not upload their proof of vaccination began receiving notices that their school accounts had been placed on hold. Some were told they could not attend classes until their vaccine records were uploaded. The student’s attorney, Rober Sullivan, said, “Many students and parents are disturbed that a religious institution is not allowing religious exemptions…A Catholic university should never be placing its students in such a position where they may be required to violate the teachings of the Church.”
Lauren Ramekers is one of the student plaintiffs and president of the school’s Student for Life Groups. She claims she opposed the vaccine due to its aborted fetal cells used in the development of the vaccine. Nebraska Medicine hit back against this claim stating, “The COVID-19 vaccines do not “contain any aborted fetal cells,” though fetal cell lines were “used in testing during research and development of the mRNA vaccines and during [the] production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.” Ramekers said it was “abhorrent” to her that any aborted tissue or cell is used in the development of vaccines or treatment. She said, “This is a sincerely held religious belief, which impacts my moral and ethical views of the world.”
Both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI have endorsed Catholics receiving the vaccine. Pope Francis even made a video saying, “Vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable.”
Creighton University is the only college in the Big East Conference that does not permit religious exemptions. The University of Connecticut does not allow religious exemptions, and instead classifys them as personal exemptions. Creighton currently does not mandate its faculty or staff to be vaccinated. Instead, they highly encourage staff to be vaccinated.
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