A Filipino police officer in Bethel, Alaska is willing to risk his career of nearly three decades to avoid taking a required COVID-19 vaccination.
A city’s mandate: On Sept. 27, the local government of Bethel officially enforced its vaccine mandate policy for all local employees, following through on its announcement via email two weeks prior.
- The new policy prescribes that all employees either be vaccinated or “be placed on administrative leave for seven days, without pay.”
- After the week-long leave, employees who still refuse will then be forced to take a 30-day administrative leave. They will no longer be scheduled to work after that, losing their jobs.
- According to the memo, the city will consider medical and religious exemption applications.
“Mark of the Beast”: Bethel Police Investigator Vincent Garay, who has chosen not to return to work after the city enforced the policy, was placed on leave and had to surrender his gun and badge, reported Inquirer.
- “It’s about conviction,” Garay was quoted by Must Read Alaska as saying. “I was born in the Philippines. I am Filipino Roman Catholic, ultra-conservative. I don’t even eat an hour before receiving Holy Communion.”
- Garay was denied a religious exemption while a similar request from a non-denominational colleague was granted.
- The officer believes his request was rejected because the Archdiocese of New York has approved for Catholics to get vaccinated.
- Garay said he will refuse the vaccine regardless of what the New York Archdiocese and the Pope think of it.
- According to Garay, the vaccine goes against his pro-life beliefs based on a chapter 13 verse in Revelations, the last book of the Bible’s New Testament, which talks about the “mark of the beast.” He believes aborted fetal tissue was used in the vaccine’s development.
- “We don’t even believe in abortion and divorce,” Garay told KYUK. “Or is it that Catholics are not allowed to have exemptions? Do you even know what’s in the vaccine? I even heard that it has even aborted fetuses in it. That’s against my religion if it has.”
- Garay also cited being “severely, severely allergic” to aspirin, although no COVID-19 vaccines contain aspirin — or aborted fetuses — in them.
- Human Resources Director James Harris said he checks the policy of an individual’s religion to ensure that their issues with COVID-19 vaccines are truly religious beliefs.
The end of a long career: Garay, who has been in law enforcement for 27 years, is now staying in his home in Wasilla, a city with one of the highest rates of COVID-19 transmission in the state.
- Earlier this year, he received a commendation for giving children police car rides at a carnival.
- Before joining Bethel Police as an investigator, Garay served as the chief of police for the Fort Yukon Police Department.
- Garay said he will not quit. Instead, he will wait for the city to officially fire him.
NextShark has reached out to Garay for comment.
Featured Image via Bethel Police Department