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U.S. serviceman receiving COVID-19 injection.Aleksandar Malivuk/Shutterstock

(LifeSiteNews) – In a recent opinion, a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked the U.S. Army from discharging 10 soldiers who refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine and have not been granted religious exemptions.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden on Friday signed a bill that repeals vaccine mandate for members of the military. 

District Judge James Hendrix ordered a preliminary injunction on Wednesday, effective “until the Court orders otherwise,” which prevents the Army from “taking or continuing any disciplinary, punitive, or separation measures” against the 10 plaintiffs involved in the case.  

“Such measures include, but are not limited to, adverse administrative actions, non-judicial punishment, administrative demotions, administrative discharges, and courts-martial,” the decision states. “The defendants may not process any of the cadet-plaintiffs through administrative boards due to their vaccination status or impose any other measures that interrupt their ability to undertake their course of study, including discontinuing or prohibiting them from attending classes.” 

The order includes a “temporary exemption” from the vaccine mandate. The exemption is to “remain in place during the pendency of this litigation.” Additionally, the Army is prohibited from “making deployment, assignment, and other operational decisions” based on the plaintiffs’ “vaccination status.” 

Hendrix declared that the COVID vaccine mandate “indisputably burdens some soldiers’ sincerely held religious beliefs” and that “the Army must retreat from imposing its mandate in this particular field and permit religious exemptions to these plaintiffs.”  

According to the court decision, “each plaintiff has requested an exemption to the Army’s vaccine mandate due to religious opposition to the use of fetal cell lines in developing the COVID-19 vaccine.” The order quoted multiple plaintiffs citing their Catholic or other Christian beliefs as the grounds for seeking religious exemption. 

The document also included a table of “U.S. Army COVID-19 Exemption Data.” According to this data, 2,336 active duty soldiers have been granted temporary exemptions to the mandate. Out of the 783 active soldiers who requested permanent medical exemptions, only 30 received approval. Similarly, only 119 permanent religious exemptions were granted to active duty members out of the 4,440 requests. 

Military vaccine mandates have been a source of long-term debate and legal battles as thousands of service members have been denied religious exemptions and lost their jobs after refusing to take the experimental and abortion-tainted shots.  

In recent months, Republicans have continually demanded an end to the mandates which have cost the U.S. Armed Forces thousands of service members. The Navy and Marine Corps rescinded their practices of denying active duty soldiers training and deployment opportunities in September, in a victory for those seeking religious exemptions.  

Shortly after, over 1,200 members of the Coast Guard banded together to file a class action lawsuit against the mandate, also arguing that religious freedom was being violated. Another religious freedom victory occurred on November 29, when thousands of Air Force personnel were released from the requirement. 

Earlier this month, the House approved legislation to rescind the mandate within the U.S. military, which Biden signed on Friday. However, the bill does not include  reinstatement with full compensation for service members who were unjustly discharged for refusing the vaccine.