A federal judge in Texas on Monday sided with a group of sailors – including SEALs – who say the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement violates their religious freedom, The Hill reported.

The judge said the Navy’s policy for reviewing religious exemption requests “is theater” designed to rubber-stamp denials and violate religious freedom.

“The COVID-19 pandemic provides the government no license to abrogate those freedoms, Judge Reed O’Connor wrote. “There is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment. There is no military exclusion from our Constitution.”

Dozens of congressional Republicans had supported the sailors’ suit in an amicus brief.

Navy photo by Dale Davis