Religious Exemption Denied by Religious Institution

(Note: this is a true story from a chiropractic physician who left the staff of a Catholic hospital in Cleveland, Ohio when his religious exemption was denied.) 

By Dr. Marshall Connors

Until recently, I have been part of the provisional staff, although not employed by, a local hospital system.  When the federal healthcare covid “vaccine” mandates were issued, I was required to either get the jab, or submit a religious exemption to stay on the staff. Knowing that I will never submit to the injection, I submitted a religious exemption, which was quickly denied.  I then asked for reconsideration and was denied again. I then decided the only option was to resign. But as I was leaving, I decided to send a final letter about my thoughts on mandatory vaccination… and refusing to accept my religious exemption.

Below is a summary of what happened, including the timeline.  I decided to share my experience to bring awareness to what is no doubt happening to countless others as they fight for their right to bodily autonomy and the right to choose – and refuse – what is injected into their body.


On March 1, 2022 at 11:19AM, I submitted my religious exemption form, along with the reasons for concern in receiving the covid vaccine.

I received the following denial on March 1, at 4:02 pm (note the timestamp):

“This request for religious exemption from our COVID vaccination policy is declined.  The request does not offer substantial evidence to support a religious exemption.”

Somewhat surprised, I sent the following response on March 1, at 4:39 pm:

“Could you please provide more detail as to why my exemption was denied and what substantial evidence to support a religious exemption would be?  Should I have stated that “fear not” appears in the Bible nearly 365 times. Should I have quoted Bible verses, as anyone could do regardless of their beliefs?  Should I have provided scientific proof that these so-called “vaccines” do indeed alter our sacred blood and God-given genetics?  I would have thought, given how well-respected this Catholic Hospital is in the community, as well as in my eyes, that what I submitted would be given at least a moment’s thought and consideration.

“How is it that someone feels they are able to decide my religious convictions based on a single piece of paper?  How is this possible?  What is motivating the entire health system to take such drastic measures? Is it CMS funding? I would ask that this decision be reconsidered and I would be happy to discuss this with any of the committee members.”

I received my second denial on March 2, at 9:30 am.

“The request and related documentation clearly point to concerns with the efficacy of the vaccine, the effects on one’s body, as his “constitutional right” to reject a vaccine mandated by government or institution, versus religious conviction.”

I sent my final response on March 3, at 1:45 pm. As I type this, it is currently March 6, 2022 at 8:05 pm, and I have yet to receive a response and doubt that I ever will.


Good morning,

After reading the response and denial of my request for reconsideration of my religious exemption yesterday, I found it sadly ironic that I spent a good portion of the rest of the afternoon explaining to my patients who asked why I had ashes on my forehead.

Could I please bring a few points to light regarding the second response I received?

1) I filled out the exemption form that was provided by [name of health system omitted], answering all questions and stating that I am religiously against the vaccine because I believe that it alters my sacred blood.  My blood and DNA were given to me by God and are unique to me. Our blood is sacred, and I do not want to submit to a medical intervention that could change that.  With this said, and referring to your response, I am indeed concerned of the “effects on one’s body” that this vaccine has, as it directly relates to my individual genetic blueprint that was given to me by God.

2) The Constitutional Right that was so flippantly referred to in your response using quotations, is my Constitutional Right to a religious exemption to the shot.  That right is given to me without the need for me to prove my convictions.  You are outside of the law in requiring any information as to why I feel the way I feel, and in my opinion, this is bordering on discrimination.

3) It appears in your response that a reason for my denial is that I have other concerns regarding the efficacy of the vaccine.  Does having concerns with the efficacy and safety of the vaccine negate my religious belief?  Is it not possible to have more than one concern about this vaccine?  I provided only my religious objections on the religious form.  I did not state anything on that form outside of religious thoughts.  Then in response to #7 on the second page of the religious form, I supplied additional information.  It appears clear that this additional information was used against me in your decision-making process.

The way this has turned out deeply saddens me for many reasons:

  • I am sad that we have come to the point that I feel I am treated as less than human because I have concerns about the effects this shot may have on my own body.
  • I am sad that people are being treated differently in this world because of their choice not to take this shot, and in some cases, even being denied necessary medical care.
  • I am sad that I wasted valuable time trying to convince others of my religious convictions and beliefs when in reality, that only needs to be between me and God.
  • I am sad that the explanation of a decision of this magnitude is summed up in one condescending sentence, confirming my bodily autonomy has zero value to the author of that sentence.
  • I am sad that some of the most trusted members of our society, (medical physicians), have lost so much trust with so many people throughout this pandemic.
  • I am sad, that in my eyes, [name of health system omitted] has abandoned God, and seemingly expects me to do the same.
  • I am sad to think of how many of your pregnant employees may have been coerced or led to take this shot without true informed consent. I am very sad about the possible effects that choice will have on them and their child.
  • I am sad that our children, who have nearly zero risk from this virus, are being targeted to receive this shot.
  • I am sad that many medical professionals are seeing the devastating adverse effects of these injections and do not have the courage or fortitude to speak up.
  • Lastly, I am sad that my relationship with [name of health system omitted] has ended in this manner. They are losing a very competent, caring, knowledgeable, skilled, and ethical Chiropractic Physician, who also happens to be a man of strong Catholic Faith.

On the other hand, there are also many things that I am grateful for:

  • I am grateful to have had the trust of some of the [name of health system omitted] practitioners in treating their patients.
  • I am grateful that I did not allow myself to be coerced into taking this experimental shot.
  • I am grateful that my faith, trust, and relationship with God remain strong and I was able to stay true to my beliefs.
  • I am grateful that I had the courage to continue treating patients face-to-face throughout the pandemic, especially when so many other medical professionals would only treat their patients remotely, if they treated them at all.
  • I am grateful that my blood remains as pure as it was the day God created me.
  • I am grateful that I have educated my patients on the importance of proper diet, nutrition, exercise, sleep, and vitamin levels throughout the pandemic, empowering them to take proactive measures.
  • I am grateful that there are many priests, ministers, lawyers, physicians, research scientists, and reporters that are doing their best to spread the truth about these shots.
  • I am grateful for the emails back and forth between [contact’s name omitted] at the hospital over the last few years.  Until recently, you have always appeared very warm and caring.
  • I am grateful for the mild interaction I had with the committee concerning this matter, because I have learned from it.

In closing, please provide me with the answers to the following questions so that I may find some closure in this matter?

  1. Why does it matter that I have more than only a religious concern with taking the shot?
  2. What was the reason for using quotation marks on the term ‘constitutional right’ in your response regarding my exemption?
  3. Is it wrong to have concerns about the efficacy and effects of the shot?  If so, why?
  4. Why does this very real concern negate my religious beliefs in your eyes?
  5. What would proper support for a religious exemption consist of?


Dr. Marshall Connors


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Dr. Marshall Connors has been a Chiropractic Physician for over two decades. He practices by the philosophy that our body has the innate ability to restore and maintain health, without the use of drugs or surgery. He uses his experience and knowledge to educate and empower people to be their absolute best in body, mind, and spirit. He strongly supports and promotes medical freedom, transparency, and true informed consent.

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Written by Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, DO. Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.