From Rabbi Michoel Green (on Facebook):
I just got an urgent call from a woman in labor.
The hospital would not allow her into a labor & delivery room without a mask and pcr test.
She refused, so there was a stand-off.
She claimed religious exemption. The hospital staff (who claimed to be “following orders”) refused to honor her exemption and instead demanded a letter signed by clergy (which of course is a grave violation of her First Amendment right to her own religious beliefs).
In between contractions and in the hallway of the hospital, this brave woman reached out to me and asked me for a letter of religious exemption.
Of course, I stopped everything I was doing to help her and her birthing-partner husband, who also was told he needed a letter signed by clergy.
With no time to lose, I quickly jotted down valid religious reasons why this couple is entitled to decline masks and pcr tests, and why every G-d-fearing human being should do as well. I signed it and sent it off to her at once.
Thank G-d the woman was allowed to give birth in the hospital of her choice without submitting to draconian measures that violate her moral principles and would have added unnecessary distress while she’s laboring and pushing a child into the world.
This was a watershed moment for me.
As a teacher and religious leader, I always saw my role as a spiritual one, and never realized that I had a unique potential to rescue someone from bodily harm, let alone a total stranger.
As I reflect further, I realize that all the letters I’ve written on behalf of individuals seeking religious exemption to experimental injections– in an effort to protect their religious freedoms – have actually helped to shield them from bodily harm as well.
Perhaps that’s why the Bible exhorts us: “Guard your souls scrupulously.” While the verse speaks specifically of guarding one’s soul, i.e. one’s spiritual freedoms, our sages derive therewith the commandment to safeguard one’s life and bodily health as well.
In an effort to defend a fellow human being’s religious rights and spiritual values, I have aided this individual in defending her life against a potentially lethal injection that has already resulted in many thousands of deaths and lifelong injuries worldwide.
In gratitude, I humbly acknowledge my Creator for this awesome opportunity.
I also thank all the individuals who have given me this opportunity to assist them in defending not only their souls and spiritual integrity, but their bodies as well.
May G-d bless us all with fortitude to stand up to defend our fellow human beings at this perilous time, and may we all emerge from this unprecedented assault on humanity fully intact, body and soul.