Four female soccer players at Western Michigan University (WMU) have sued the school claiming its Covid-19 vaccine mandate violates their Christian beliefs.

Emily Dahl, Hannah Redoute, Bailey Korhorn and Morgan Otteson filed a federal lawsuit on Monday in Grand Rapids after the university announced on August 12 that they have to be vaccinated by the month’s end or they would be kicked off the team.

The suit from the Great Lakes Justice Center – which was released on the eve of the vaccine deadline – stated the athletes were allowed to request religious exemptions beginning August 24, which all four players took advantage of.

According to the lawsuit the athletes were separately denied throughout the following week. On August 26 they each ‘submitted a written request for explanation for the denials and for information on their right to appeal the denial’.

The university claimed the denials were not due to ‘insufficiency or insincerity’ of their religious beliefs and cited their written response which stated the school ‘has a compelling interest in taking action to avoid the significant risk posed to the intercollegiate athletic programs of a Covid-19 outbreak due to unvaccinated participants’.

To accomplish that, the school is ‘prohibiting unvaccinated members of the teams from engaging in practices and competition’.

Read more: ‘Our bodies are a temple’: Female soccer players sue Western Michigan University for ‘violating their religious freedoms’ with vaccine mandate

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