A small, obscure federal agency in the District of Columbia that most people may not have heard of has announced a new policy this week that may serve as a model for the Biden administration to establish a database of Americans who refuse to comply with COVID vaccine mandates for religious reasons."
The Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia (PSA) is a "federal independent entity" that provides assistance to courts in the district in formulating release recommendations to defendants who are waiting for trial.
According to The Daily Signal, the PSA announced on Tuesday that they have established a new records system that would record the names and "personal religious information" of all employees who make "religious accommodation requests for religious exception from the federally mandated vaccination requirement."
The PSA's announcement failed to explain why the agency had to establish this list, but said that it will "assist the Agency in the collecting, storing, dissemination, and disposal of employee religious exemption request information collected and maintained by the Agency."
The announcement also failed to disclose what the government will do with the information they have collected. The PSA did not explain why its officials decided to test out the policy in an agency which staff is mostly Black, who are "both more religious and less vaccinated than other groups."
According to CBN News, several other federal departments under the Biden administration appear to be preparing to establish their own database of religious objectors. Such agencies include the Treasury, Interior, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, and Transportation, and even the General Services Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Sarah Parshall Perry, a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation's Institute for Constitutional Government, told the Washington Times that some level of data collection is legally allowed under Title VII, when a person seeks out religious accommodations. But Perry admitted that "we have not seen it on a broad scale like this ever."
The Biden administration's COVID vaccine mandate for federal workers was first announced on September 9 and took effect on November 22. Many have sought religious exemptions to the vaccine mandate. These are the very same people who will be affected by the new policy that aims to record who are objecting to the COVID vaccine requirements for religious reasons.
"Normally, information like that goes directly to the [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] and is maintained for internal purposes, just in the case that there is a future dispute about whether or not religious discrimination exists," Perry explained.
"However, we're not told why or how this information is being used. And that smacks of religious discrimination on a grand scale."
Meanwhile, the Biden administration appears to continue its attack on the unvaccinated. According to Reuters, the Biden administration sought to require weekly COVID testing for unvaccinated government employees who work in the office or interact with the general public. The announcement was made on Tuesday.
The Biden administration said that this requirement must take effect on February 15. It argued that unvaccinated employees, including those who seek religious or medical exemptions "should be tested weekly for any week during which they work on-site or interact in person with members of the public as part of their job duties. Agencies may require more frequent testing."
The White House also said on Tuesday that they are allowing federal agencies to impose disciplinary measures on employees who refuse to get tested for COVID and enabled them to prohibit employees from agency workplaces pending resolution of any disciplinary action.