A man has been caught in a viral video showing off a “religious exemption” card he claims means he does not have to wear a mask or face covering inside a grocery store.
In the clip, the man appears to have been asked by a store employee to wear a mask, a policy implemented in many businesses and mandates by a number of states to limit the spread of coronavirus.
The man refuses, telling the employee: “It’s illegal to discriminate.”
When he notices he is being filmed, he turns to the camera and brandishes a card in a lanyard that he is wearing around his neck.
“I have it right here, you can read it…read it out loud,” he tells the person behind the camera.
Anti-masker in California claims to have a religious exemption & refuses to wear a mask pic.twitter.com/e6QbUpxbxo
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) September 7, 2020
“Don’t harass me, you can’t harass me,” he says as he walks away.
The card seen in the video appears to be one that can be purchased online.
“The bearer of this card is LEGALLY EXEMPT from wearing any face coverings or being subjected to temperature taking or viral testing or vaccination, as protected by U.S. Federal Law, Title II of the Civil Rights Act, U.S. Code 42 SS 2000 (a),” the card states.
“According to state and federal civil rights law, this individual has FREE and EQUAL access to all facilities in your business establishment, regardless of store policies.”
But the website of The Heathy American, which sells the cards for $12, notes: “While we hope and pray this card will smooth your way, unfortunately we cannot state that it will guarantee your entry into any business establishment.”
The 1964 Civil Rights Act does not allow religious-based exemptions for mask mandates.
While some states allow mask exemptions for people in places of worship, no religious-based exemptions are detailed in mask mandates for businesses and other public places.
The 30-second video went viral after it was posted on Twitter by the popular “Fifty Shades of Whey” account, amassing almost 400,000 views since Tuesday.
It’s not clear exactly where the incident took place, but it was originally posted on Facebook by a man named Ryan O’Donnell at the weekend, the person running the “Fifty Shades of Whey” account told Newsweek.
“These store employees have a hard enough job, this guy was just there to make their day tougher in my opinion,” O’Donnell, from San Rafael, California, wrote in the post, which has since been deleted.
“Gonna take this down soon, but the whole point is that there are essential workers being subjected to people like this every day. Just wear a damn mask in a store and make everyone feel more comfortable even if you don’t agree.”
O’Donnell has been contacted for additional comment.
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