19 Federal Agencies Spying on Americans With Religious Exemptions

There now are at least 19 federal departments or agencies that have – or are trying to get – procedures so they can keep lists of people who seek or are granted “religious” exemptions to various COVID-19 mandates.

The details come in a Daily Signal column by Sarah Parshall Parry and GianCarlo Canaparo.

Earlier, they explained when they first found an agency trying to spy on Americans, the Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia.

Its policy, that first report said, “will likely serve as a model for a whole-of-government push to assemble lists of Americans who object on religious grounds to a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Now a new report explains, “A little digging at the Federal Register revealed that there are at least 19 total federal agencies—including five cabinet level agencies—that have created or proposed to create these tracking lists for religious-exemption requests from their employees.”

Included are the Departments of Transportation, Justice, Health and Treasury.

“As the nation’s largest employer, with over four million civilian and military employees, the federal government has received tens of thousands of religious exemption requests. It now appears that an increasing number of federal agencies are keeping and preserving those individuals’ names, religious information, personally identifying information, and other data stored in lists across multiple government agencies,” they reported.

The authors explained, “The earliest set of proposals appears to have been rolled out in October of last year, during the start of the holiday season in a possible effort to ensure very little attention was paid to a coordinated data collection move. Many of the announcements have clocked only a few page views. Almost none attracted any public comments. Most permitted only a 30-day window for submitting objections. All announcements were issued within a few weeks of one another.”

The column said the “disturbing trend” is that “the Biden administration is creating lists that can all communicate with one another on which individuals have sought religious exemptions from the federal employee vaccine mandate or other religious accommodations within the scope of their employment by the government.”

Among the details being assembled, they report, are “religious affiliation, the reasons and support given for religious accommodation requests, names, contact information, date of birth, aliases, home address, contact information, and other identifying information.”

It was Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt who raised objections, telling Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, “On November 18, at the direction of the Biden administration, four federal agencies simultaneously announced that those who exercise their legal right to seek a health or religious waiver from a vaccine mandate would be tracked in federal databases. Rather than give the public ample time to weigh in on the advisability or legality of collecting such personal information, the Department of Transportation’s database in particular became effective on the day it was published…”

He explained what’s alarming is the chilling effect on Americans’ exercise of their religion.

When the authors reported on the D.C. operation, officials there claimed listing those people would help it “in the collecting, storing, dissemination, and disposal of employee religious exemption request information collected and maintained by the agency.”