A Republican Congressmember suggested that it’s not “legal” for the Catholic Church to require priests to get the COVID-19 vaccine, showing that the GOP’s commitment to religious freedom may be somewhat limited.
Linking a story about how employees of the Holy See will be fired if they don’t get the vaccine, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) wrote, “This doesn’t sound legal….”
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It’s unclear exactly which laws he was referring to – the Vatican is a sovereign state and international law doesn’t bar it from requiring the vaccine.
Moreover, it’s surprising that a conservative Republican would be calling for a law to ban a religious organization from doing anything, much less taking a measure to protect the health of clergy and followers.
“One shouldn’t be forced against their will to be vaccinated,” Cawthorn continued. “The vaccination is there for those who want it, and are in need of it due to medical vulnerabilities.”
Commenters on Twitter roasted Cawthorn.
So let me get this straight: Religious entities have the absolute right to prohibit employment based on sexuality, gender identity, marriage-status, and pro-choice views. But they absolutely have no right to require that staff partake in the life-saving end to a global pandemic.
— Bill (@billdahab) February 19, 2021
This will age well when he demands religious organizations be allowed to fire people for who they have sex with.
— Shane (@skk_74) February 19, 2021
Regardless, it's not illegal in the USA (which, just to be clear, is a different country from the Vatican) for employers to require the COVID vaccine.
— Pé (@4everNeverTrump) February 19, 2021
Don’t you represent North Carolina. Pretty sure the Vatican is out of your jurisdiction!
— Manisha Sinha (@ProfMSinha) February 19, 2021
Wait ‘til you find out about their marriage laws. Hoo boy.
— Helen Kennedy (@HelenKennedy) February 19, 2021
Totally agree, let's bring it up with The Pope's manager.
— Max Kennerly (@MaxKennerly) February 19, 2021
A)Vatican isn’t in your district.
B) It is governed by religious rule. Which is what you and conservatives want. pic.twitter.com/03VEmaVCg5
— Rob Jackson (@muh_thoughts) February 19, 2021
Hopefully this helps clarify the reason the Vatican's laws seem strange to you pic.twitter.com/Ds4hE1WVP2
— rez – 🔞 (@dilfhunterdabi) February 19, 2021
If the tweet is a result of a complete misunderstanding of what the Vatican is, it would be surprising considering Cawthorn’s interest in European history. In 2017, he traveled to Adolf Hitler’s vacation home and posted smiling pictures to Instagram, calling Hitler “the Fuhrer” and saying that visiting the spot was on his “bucket list.”
He later said that he was happy to be there because the Allied forces celebrated “their victory over evil” and accused his critics of ableism by calling them “my opponents and the disgusting members of the media who would try and affiliate a disabled man, like myself, with a movement that would have had me exterminated.”