A Columbia University professor suggested Saturday that President Joe Biden’s administration “come up with guidelines” to stop those who use religious exemption “as an excuse” to bypass COVID-19 vaccination.
Robert Klitzman, the director of the bioethics masters program at Columbia University, appeared on CNN’s “Smerconish,” where he said that employees seeking religious exemption from Biden’s vaccine mandate should not be able to do so simply “checking off the box.” (RELATED: POLL: 48% Of Americans Say Biden’s Vaccine Mandates Go Too Far)
Klitzman shared a story of his patient who had what he deemed a “treatable” cancer but refused to undergo medical procedures, choosing prayer instead. “She died shortly thereafter. So, her religious belief contributed to her death, unfortunately,” he said.
“For instance, there are some Muslims who are jihadists, who say, ‘my religious belief is that I should kill infidels’,” Klitzman said. “We don’t say, ‘fine, you have the religious belief … go and harm other people.’ So there are limits in our society to how far religious beliefs can go.”
The CNN expert recommended conducting one-on-one interviews with anyone applying for religious exemption in order to weed out those intending to use it as an excuse.
“The problem is, a lot of religious exemptions that people are claiming, and there’s lots of them right now, are based on myths. People saying, for instance, ‘all vaccines are made using fetal cells, and I’m pro-life.’ That’s simply not true,” he added.