Gregg Fairrington, the lead pastor of Destiny Christian Church located in Rocklin, California has established a religious exemption against the COVID-19 vaccination.
In an interview with KCRA News, Fairrington spoke about the inspiration to develop the exemption.
“We were literally receiving hundreds of phone calls in the last week and a half from healthcare workers. People are government employees [and] teachers saying we’re going to lose our livelihood.”
The 10,000 member congregation believes that the vaccine requirements aren’t “right.” “America is a free country. We have freedom of religion, and if a person has a moral objection to taking the vaccine, we want to come alongside of them,” he stated.
It was reported that people traveled nearly two hours to receive a letter. In a statement sent to the Los Angeles Times, Fairrington emphasized that the exemption would only be given to those for the sole purpose of religious beliefs. “The exemption is only issued to individuals who have a sincere belief in religious conviction stated in the document, so we cannot distribute it to the media.”
This is not the first time that Destiny Christian Church has found itself taking a controversial stance during the pandemic. In March 2020, Destiny Christian Church did not close its doors when the country went on a lockdown.
Since the release of the exemption letter, Fairrington and the church have received severe criticism. Professor of law and medicine at Stanford University Michael Mello believes that the exemption letter is “irrelevant.”
However, the pastor has received a lot of praise for his decision as well.
“People are in tears and thanking me,” Fairrington shared. “It was overwhelming to hear these people and their gratitude for somebody that will care enough to say, ‘hey, I want to help you and your situation.’”