Update: The Bill was set aside until January - families showed up in droves, protesting, chanting, and exercising their rights as Americans.
Act Now to Protect Religious Exemptions in New Jersey
New Jersey Residents: Click HERE before 1:00pm 12/16
The NJ legislature has moved like lightning to pass a law that will ELIMINATE the religious exemption for ALL children in daycare and ALL students in public and private schools starting in June 2020. To preserve your rights, email and tweet—and then send a video message. New Jersey Residents: Click HERE before 1:00pm 12/16
By Kathleen Hayes McCarthy
Trenton, NJ -- New Jerseyans were busy cleaning turkey pots and shopping for holiday gifts when their Senators quietly slated Bill S2173 for the voting docket on December 12. This bill is the companion bill to A3818, which was introduced by Assemblyman Herb Conaway in April, 2019 to the Assembly Health Committee as a restriction on the religious exemption. It passed out of that committee, and then the restriction language was stripped to completely remove the religious exemption during the full Assembly floor vote. It then was voted on and passed by the full Assembly.
With not much time to prepare, New Jersey vaccine and consent rights groups such as NJ Hope from Holly, Innovative Parenting NJ, New Jersey Coalition for Vaccine Choice, The Real Crunchy Mommas, First Freedoms, and Children’s Health Defense joined their voices to oppose this bill. These groups aligned and asked their members to call and email all Senators, especially those on the Health Committee, and also asked their members to meet at the Trenton state Capital building in a boots-to-ground effort to educate legislators and squash the bill.
A few days prior to the Health Committee vote, the language of the Senate bill was made available online for the interested public to read. There has been and continues to be total media silence that a civil and religious right is being removed from New Jersey citizens. Interested parties who were tracking the bill discovered that it was on the docket themselves.
For over 50 years, the religious exemption in New Jersey has required a parent or guardian to write a letter explaining how vaccinating their child(ren) went against their religious beliefs and interfered with their relationship with God. This letter was then required to be privately submitted to primary and secondary schools. This system worked, proving that public health measures and religious liberty can co-exist in NJ.
This new bill S2173/A3818 completely removes the religious exemption from New Jersey law. No longer can the faithful believe in God’s power to protect them. No longer can the faithful rely on their God-given immune system to fight the everyday battles it was designed to do. No longer will a person of faith be able to choose whether to partake in substances being injected into his/her body. There is no more choice and no more consent for the faithful in New Jersey who want to attend public or private school.
Law enforcement is required to obtain a warrant prior to piercing the skin to acquire blood samples from suspected criminals, yet, if these bills pass, law-abiding New Jersey citizens will be forced to pierce the skin of their children in opposition to their religious beliefs to inject into their bodies substances that the government requires to attend school.
The preamble to the New Jersey State Constitution asserts that “We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution.”
This preamble contains very strong language securing civil and religious liberties for New Jersey citizens, and requires the duty to pass the same to future generations “unimpaired.” These words are an umbrella covering all that is contained in the Constitution. This document, and these words, is a guiding principle for legislators creating law in New Jersey. Removing the religious exemption certainly impairs religious liberty.
On December 12th, the Senate Health Committee met to vote on S2173. People in the thousands showed up in Trenton to demonstrate opposition to the bill. Intelligence provided by vaccine rights groups showed that seven of the ten seated members of the Committee did not support the bill. There were rumors that Senate President Steve Sweeneywanted to change the membership of the Committee to change the outcome of the vote. The voting public and bill detractors struggled to believe that something so corrupt would occur; however, on the morning of the critical vote, Senator Sweeney did indeed swap three of the Senators who were confirmed as No votes with three Senators who professed to vote Yes. Sweeney even swapped himself in as a Yes vote, effectively changing a 7-3 vote to retain the religious exemption to a 6-4 vote to remove it. With that simple and corrupt act – flouting our legislative process and voting honesty – Senator Sweeney’s manipulations stole religious rights from 9,000,000 New Jerseyans.
On Monday, December 16th, the bill will be voted on by the full Senate and the full Assembly. Unless enough Democratic Assembly and Senate members reject these bills for the incredibly sleazy way in which they were passed out of Committee, the bills are expected to pass both houses. The voting is split along party lines - Democrats seeking to strip religious liberty and Republicans seeking to maintain it - and the Democrats want this bill to pass. It will then be on Governor Murphy’s desk for signing.
When the ink from Governor Murphy’s pen hits the paper, New Jerseyans will lose a right that for over 50 years has been recognized as God-given and inalienable. Unless enough Democrats reject the corrupt way these bills made it to a floor vote, this will be a very dark day in the history of New Jersey.
Kathleen Hayes McCarthy
Born and raised in New Jersey, Kathleen grew up in Belmar. This legislation, however, may cause her to leave the state. Kathleen has a BA in English from Drew University, and an MBA in Marketing/Communications from Fordham University Gabelli School of Business. She is passionate about health, human rights, and the environment. A businesswoman and mother, Kathleen adores her two children. She is on the Advisory Board of First Freedoms, a non-profit organization.
First Freedoms is a 501.c.3 non profit formed to address the right to freedom of health choice, religious freedom and other freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. First Freedoms is formed to protect, defend and create awareness of Civil Rights laws (both State and Federal) and other applicable laws and standards; to provide information to individuals concerning their rights as well as information concerning environmental factors that may impact not only acute but also chronic disease in individuals, both in the United States and globally. www.firstfreedoms.org