Chaplain of Hospital forced to resign after religious exemption for COVID vaccine denied by Local Hospital. How can that be?
August 1, 2022: My name is Dr. Paul Isaacs. I was a staff chaplain at Bayhealth for 7 years (until 1/26/2022), and have been a pastor in Milford, DE, for the past 13 years. I have earned the equivalent of 4 degrees, which include a Masters of Divinity and Educational Doctorate in the Administration of Higher Education, with a minor in the Law of Higher Education. All told, I have been a pastor for 43 years (having served in several denominations, and an independent church). My passion is teaching the Word of God, but my calling includes giving hope to the suffering and grieving. I believe the LORD led me into chaplaincy because I have been blessed to survive brain surgery twice, and I am persevering with health limitations as a result. In addition, I have lost a teenage son as a result of a car accident, and that is why I have compassion for the grieving. I have one faithful wife (for 46 years), one living son, who is married, with 2 children. My parents are aging, and my father is struggling with severe dementia, which makes me very cautious about not damaging my mind from any more surgeries or shots.
The requirement to remain employed in many health facilities is to receive a COVID shot, which I am not willing to risk taking. I have a cerebral shunt, and cannot risk the possibility of an mRNA or COVID shot implanting something in my body that could cross the blood-brain barrier. I agreed, reluctantly, to take the flu shot, early Oct. (2021), and I am still suffering Bells’ Palsy as a result. In addition, my convictions about not receiving blood or organs from others, has been part of my Advanced Care Directive. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience, accept another shot.
Because of my health limits, after having been injured from the flu shot, I was told by HR to apply for a Medical Exemption, which I did through my doctor, and it was denied. I also applied for a Religious Exemption, because of my conviction that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and I am not to defile it with anything (as in, animal substances, human fetal tissue, blood, organs from another, mind altering drugs, tobacco, illicit sex, etc.). That’s based on Old Testament passages, as well as 2 passages from the New Testament (Holy Bible: I Corinthians 3:16-17 and 6:19-20).
My faith is not in any religion, but in a relationship with the LORD, based on the promises in His Word (John 11:25-26; Romans 1:16-17; 10:8-15; Hebrews 11:6). I informed my employers of this faith. However, I have also had my Religious Exemption request denied, because it was determined my convictions were not being supported by my religion. The interesting thing is: I never declared my religion. I simply stated my convictions based on many Scriptures from the Bible (which are supported by numerous religions). I also quoted the First Amendment and appealed to MY right to hold to my convictions, in line with Scripture and my personal conscience.
As a Chaplain, I have been asked to honor and serve people of all faiths, and have done so, respectfully. Loyalty to my LORD, serving with integrity toward all, is vital to me. My religious freedom should be accepted, based on my faith and conscience, in relation to the Scriptures I have been consistently following. However, I believe my faith is being discriminated against, because I am not given the honor I have been giving to others. Therefore, my grief is deep. I am suffering from a moral or spiritual injury, because my faith and God-given soul are being rejected.
How can any health system promise equal concern for the mental, physical and spiritual needs of their patients, claim to offer excellence in Spiritual care, yet violate the physical and spiritual needs of a chaplain? There has been little compassion for my physical needs, and the medical promise of “do no harm” seems no longer valid. At least, I have lost my confidence in the medical industry to fulfill it.
Blessings, Dr. Paul Isaacs