Focus on the Family is defending imposing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate to comply with requirements from President Joe Biden’s administration.
The Colorado-based Christian organization told its approximately 650 workers earlier this month that they would be implementing a vaccine-or-test requirement.
Workers will have to produce proof of COVID-19 vaccination. If they do not, they will have to wear masks inside offices and get a COVID-19 test on a weekly basis.
The mandate complies with an emergency temporary standard issued by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The standard requires every business with 100 or more workers to require vaccination or regular testing.
Businesses and states have challenged the standard, but it went into effect on Monday because the Supreme Court has thus far declined to intervene after hearing oral arguments for and against the rule last week.
After The Epoch Times reported that Focus on the Family was imposing the mandate, the organization pushed back against critics.
“Focus believes each person should have the right to determine if they should be vaccinated. We are firmly opposed to a vaccine mandate, and any reports that suggest otherwise are misleading,” Jim Daly, the president of Focus on the Family, said in a statement.
Because violators of the OSHA standard face fines, and because the organization does not want to spend donors’ money fighting against the rule, it has decided to comply with it, he added.
“Focus is actively monitoring the Supreme Court’s deliberations in the hope that it will rule against the requirement in the coming days. We will continue to follow developments and assess our response as necessary. In the meantime, we want to reiterate, in no uncertain terms, that Focus on the Family opposes a vaccine mandate,” Daly said.
A Focus donor told NTD, an Epoch Media Group outlet, that they were considering halting donations to the group over the decision to impose the mandate and a worker told The Epoch Times they felt Focus on the Family should take a strong public stance against the mandate.
Commenters on Facebook reacting to Daly’s statement primarily expressed disappointment with the organization’s actions.
“How about supporting families by fighting these mandates? People are being hurt and lives are being destroyed. People are being put out of their jobs and families are struggling which is going to lead to more broken marriages, etc. Very disappointing,” Leanne Merren wrote.
“If even you guys won’t stand up to government overreach, the rest of us Christians that don’t have a powerful platform like yours are doomed,” another said.
However, some said they understood the move.
“I believe that FOTF is making the right choice. They are not complying with a mandate that forces the vaccine, but are ‘sloughing off’ the mandate that does not go against God,” Patti Simon Hartline wrote.