Pastor Greg Fairrington Hands Out COVID Vaccine 'Exemption Cards'

A California pastor is handing out exemption cards to people who do not want to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pastor Greg Fairrington of Destiny Christian Church, in Rocklin, is offering religious exemptions for people who attend service on Sunday.

It comes after the pastor previously offered exemption letters to churchgoers at an earlier sermon.

Taking to Instagram on Monday evening, Fairrington justified his reasons and said: "What an amazing weekend at Destiny. Almost 6,000 people came out, all needing one thing—hope."

He continued: "They're in a midst of a personal crisis. People are devastated, loss of their jobs their careers, their livelihoods and we were able to walk alongside them. Obviously, we're helping them with the religious exemption."

Fairrington later added he would again offer exemptions this weekend, adding: "Next weekend we'll be helping people again with the religious exemption."

He continued: "We stand for freedom. Freedom of religion."

In an August 12 statement posted on Instagram, pastor Fairrington said the church was "not anti-vax, but we are pro-freedom here."

Fairrington continued to say he had been working with the church's legal team to write up an exemption form, which he claimed had been "approved by our legal counsel."

The move is one of open defiance of California Governor Gavin Newsom's recent vaccine mandates that compel state employees to show proof of getting jabbed or get tested regularly instead.

Hospital workers must, however, get vaccinated against COVID, as they no longer have the option to test weekly.

An August 5 statement by Tomas J. Aragon, the state public health officer and director, said health care workers were required to have their vaccines by September 30.

The same statement did allow for exemptions, one of those being "declining vaccination based on religious beliefs."

California's mandates are aimed at reducing the impact of the Delta variant, which has ripped through California's unvaccinated population. The state has recorded a total of 64,684 COVID deaths so far, according to date compiled by the New York Times.

The majority of Californians support Gov. Newsom's mandates according to a CBS News poll released on Sunday.

It also found that 47 percent said unvaccinated people "make me upset or angry." Some 57 percent of respondents agreed that anyone who has not been vaccinated is "being misled by bad or false information."

Only 27 percent of polled Californians said they "respect the decision" of people who opted not to take up the vaccine.

Newsweek has contacted the Destiny Christian Church for comment.

Pastor Fairrington is offering exemption letters
Pastor Fairrington is offering exemption letters for people who do not want to get vaccinated. In these images taken from social media, Pastor Fairrington explains why he is offering the exemptions. Desitny Christian Church