An assistant football coach for the U.S. Naval Academy has reportedly been fired after he refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, citing religious reasons.
In a Twitter post on Monday, Billy Ray Stutzmann publicly announced that the academy relieved him of his duties for not complying with The Naval Academy Athletic Association’s policy, which requires all coaches and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Based on my religious convictions, and after much thought and prayer, I am unable to follow the requirements of the Naval Academy’s COVID-19 policy, as it has changed these last few months,” Stuzmann wrote. “After applying for a religious exemption and attempting to further negotiate alternative working arrangements, I was ultimately relieved of my duties here at Navy.”
“I continued to stand firm in my conviction of faith, but I understand and respect that each individual and institution has a choice on how they wish to manage these issues,” he concluded. “I wish Navy Football nothing but the best in the future.”
At the end of his post, Stutzmann cited Mark 11:25, which reads: “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you for your offenses.”
— Billy Ray Stutzmann (@BRayStutzmann) September 13, 2021
According to The Christian Post, Stutzmann was in his third season on the Navy coaching staff when he was fired.
In August, after the Food and Drug Administration granted the Pfizer vaccine full approval, the Pentagon called on all U.S. military personnel to get vaccinated.
“Now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved, the department is prepared to issue updated guidance, requiring all service members to be vaccinated,” Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said at a press briefing.
“These efforts ensure the safety of our service members and promote the readiness of our force, not to mention the health and safety of the communities around the country in which we live,” he added.
Photo courtesy: Mohammad Shahhosseini/Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.