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Marine kicked out of military for refusing to wear mask, take COVID vaccine

Stacy Vasquez, CEO of the Birmingham VA receives the COVID-19 vaccine. (Joe Songer | al.com/TNS)
September 01, 2021

A Marine corporal was discharged from the Corps after she refused to comply with the recently-imposed mask mandate and rejected the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to a video shared by Marine veteran and Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel, Cpl. Whitney McHaffie was kicked out of the Marine Corps despite her religious objection to wearing a mask and receiving the vaccine. Military.com reported that she later sought a religious exemption for the vaccine, but it was not resolved by the time she received a general discharge under honorable conditions.

“If this is happening to Whitney, I’m sure it’s happening all over the Marine Corps, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force,” Mandel said. “We cannot allow this to happen.”

McHaffie said her leadership became aware that she was not wearing a mask or getting inoculated against COVID-19, and “within a week’s time, I was processed out.”

“Military personnel don’t give up their religious freedom when they volunteer to serve our country,” Mandel tweeted.

McHaffie told Military.com that the mask mandate violated her religious liberties protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. She said the masks are ineffective against COVID-19 and that wearing one would force her bear false witness, violating her belief in Judaism and Christianity’s ninth commandment.  

McHaffie added that she believes officers wanted to make an example of her, noting that most Marines in her unit do not comply with the mask mandate and only around half were vaccinated, according to her estimates.

“It’s against my religion because it’s associated with aborted fetal tissue, I’m catholic,” McHaffie said regarding why should cannot take the vaccine. “I’m not against vaccines, for me it’s about religious freedom, choice and health concerns.”

McHaffie said prior to being discharged, she told her commanding officer that she didn’t believe “in the panic behind COVID.”

“I went into my [officer in charge’s] office to talk about something else, and I was coughing and he asked me if I thought I had COVID,” McHaffie said. “At that point, I told him I don’t believe in the panic behind COVID and I’m entirely fine. From that point, he kept pushing the COVID topic and told me when it was mandated he was going to push paperwork if I don’t comply.”

A senior member of her chain of command even contacted McHaffie’s mother in an effort to convince her to comply, she said.

A Marine Corps spokesperson said mask and vaccine mandates in the military apply to all Marines and that “failure to adhere [to] policies, orders and regulations may result in corrective, disciplinary or administrative action, when appropriate.”

Liberty Counsel attorney Richard Mast told Military.com that the discharge happened shockingly fast, adding that “she barely had time to seek counsel.”

Last week, President Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the U.S. Food and Drug Agency (FDA) approved Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine would be required for all military personnel “immediately.”