Ohio mom becomes a minister in a minute, then signs religious exemptions for anti-mask families

Kristen Grant was ordained a minister on Sept. 3, three days after her children's school district required that all students wear facemasks.
This was done through an online portal, Universal Life Church. It takes only a few minutes, I found out. It took me just two clicks to become Rev. Connie. I declined.

Germantown, Ohio mother of four, aged 37, stated that she wanted online ordination because one thing motivated her. She wanted to help anti-mask parents who were seeking religious exemptions for their children.

Valley View School District's religious exemption form requires that a religious official sign a statement. Grant is a Constitutional Christian and was pleased to oblige.

She said that I have not broken any laws. I have not broken any laws. I did exactly what was asked of me.

She is correct on this. Many school officials blasted Grant's willingness to exploit a loophole. However, the district did not require any qualifications for religious leaders. So here we are.

Kristen Grant is the right person to talk to.

Grant's full-page, written statement begins: Kristen Grant is a Religious Leader and founder at Freedom mission. I am an ordained minister, and I am in good standing with Ohio. This letter is to confirm that I am an ordained minister and registered with the state of Ohio.

The letter continues to repeat what is now the standard language for anti-mask and anti-vax activists. The letter ends with a Bible verse in 2 Corinthians that refers to unveiled faces. This passage has been a go-to for anti-mask activists.

Grant, a newly appointed minister, has not hesitated in signing the letters. 169 students were granted religious exemptions from wearing masks as the pandemic continues to surge. Officials at the school stress that this exemption covers approximately 100 families in a district with around 1,800 students. This caveat will not be of much comfort to the parents of any child infected by COVID-19.

Connie Schultz says: My faith gives me comfort. I feel good when I can defend that to other progressives.

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Grant is not the only religious leader who will use a self-styled version of religion to resist government attempts to protect children and families during this pandemic.

The Washington Post reported last month that Jackson Lahmeyer (a pastor and Republican candidate for the Oklahoma senate) began selling religious exemption forms and donating a dollar to any person who streamed at most one of the churches platforms. According to Lahmeyer, the forms were downloaded by 30,000 people in just two days.

The COVID culture conflict: When should personal freedom be surrendered to the common good.

Pastor Greg Farrington, Rocklin, California, offered the forms free of charge to anyone who requested them. His fans are his.

"I believe he's an absolute fireball. Bonnie Reed said that he believes in the message he preached after Sunday's service. "For those who don't want to receive a COVID vaccine, we believe in the Lord and Jesus is our great physician."

Jackson Lahmeyer is a challenger to the U.S. Senate. He speaks at Washington County Freedom Advocates Rally Against Mandates In Ohio in September 2021.

Kristen Grant took some time to agree to an interview. Kristen Grant was rattled by online comments she received about her efforts in a Dayton Daily News article.

She said that many people were saying I should be detained. One of them mentioned that I was responsible for the deaths of other people. Let's pray that my child does not get COVID and then die. It was clear that I was a terrible parent. Attacking my parenting, my religious beliefs, and attacking any other human being you can.

She doesn't believe the factual reports about rising COVID-19 hospital death rates among unvaccinated. She said it was a fraud to make hospitals and doctors more money by reimbursing them for their treatment. She believes in natural immunity, and she is critical of people who expect you to wear a mask to protect yourself.

She listed a number of vitamins and supplements that have not been proven to be effective in fighting COVID-19. She insists that there isn't any support for her argument. It is impossible to even search for elderberry syrup on Pinterest.

It is false. I searched Pinterest for elderberry syrup, and found a website with many images.

My prayer for Christian unity. I wrote about the reasons I received a COVID vaccine. I was then fired from my job.

Kristen Grant is a great example of this. You don't have to pay attention to people like Kristen Grant.

The answer seems obvious to me. Like other leaders, she is having an impact on science in the country. They are easy to ignore, while some people enjoy mocking their existence. We underestimate their increasing influence to our own peril.

Major religions and leaders of these faiths support vaccines against COVID-19. Pope Francis is one of the major religions that supports the vaccines against COVID-19. He released a video in August in which he stated that vaccines offer hope for ending the pandemic. The Christian Science Church issued a statement encouraging respect for public health officials and conscientious compliance with the laws of land, including those that require vaccination.

These statements are useful, but more religious leaders need to speak out in their communities and congregations in support of vaccinations and masks. They are absent, and charlatans thrive.

This language is for ministers

Kristen Grant is no exception. Each person is different. She said that her childhood was difficult. Her father died in her 20s and she has been separated from her mother for many years. She spoke out about her visits to a psychiatrist for panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. This was the reason she refused to wear a mask. Her two-decade-long career as a hairdresser was ended by this decision and her beliefs about the pandemic. It turned out that most clients didn't agree with her on the pandemic.

She ignores it. COVID-19 is the work devil. She said it repeatedly, and although her church attendance was limited in the past, she is now one of God's soldiers.

You won't change the world by going church. You can only change the world by being the Church. My calling is to serve others. God called me to that.

The power of religion to save the day: How faith appeals can motivate people to receive COVID vaccination

On Tuesday, September 28, 2021, a protestor voiced their opposition to the school-mask mandate at the corner of Kingston Pike & West End Ave. in Farragut (Tenn.).

Grant, her teenage daughter's driver, announced her ordination in a Facebook Live video. As she spoke of the mandatory religious document in her district, Grant used her fingers to create air quotation marks. She also responded to live comments.

She laughed when she saw that parents were asking for separate rooms for religiously-exempt children. She said that she would be all for it f ---,. What's the matter with this? Ruby Bridges, a 6-year-old Black girl, is nineteen-friggin, is that her name? In 1960, she was the first Black student in an elementary school to be integrated in the South.

Connie Schultz: "He's dying": A teenager called 911 to her father with COVID-19, and saw her life change.

She yelled at her daughter repeatedly throughout the video. Oh Jesus Christ! This shit is too much! It's a yellow light. No cars are coming, f -----g sh*t. I'm going to knock you out.

I explained to her that I wasn't used to hearing such language coming from a minister. She was not understanding.

I can love Jesus, and I can also love the word F--- a lot. It is not written anywhere in the Bible that you cannot use cuss words.

Kristen Grant, I kept my word. I promised her that you would get to know her through her words.

USA TODAY columnist Connie Schultz won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Daughters of Erietown. It is now a New York Times bestseller. You can reach her at CSchultz@usatoday.com or on Twitter: @ConnieSchultz

Diverse opinions can be found on our Opinion front page, Twitter @usatodayopinion, and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.

This article first appeared on USA TODAY. Ohio mom is now a minister online, allowing religious exemptions for masks


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