United States District Court, Southern District of New York
October 12, 2000
LUIGI AND FRANCESCA FARINA, PLAINTIFFS
THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, ET AL, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nickerson, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiffs Francesca and Luigi Farina, individually and as
guardians for their minor children Gianluca and Alessio, brought
this action against defendant New York City Board of Education,
alleging that defendant violated plaintiffs' rights of religious
freedom and equal protection of the law under the First and
Fourteenth Amendments and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, by refusing to grant
plaintiffs an exemption from the immunization requirements of
New York Public Health Law § 2164 and prohibiting the children
from attending Public School 329 unless plaintiffs have their
children immunized. Plaintiffs contend that they are entitled to
an exemption under § 2164(9) because they hold genuine and
sincere religious beliefs which are contrary to the practices
required by § 2164(2) and (7)(a), mandating immunization against
Plaintiffs brought the action on September 25, 2000 and sought
by order to show cause a temporary restraining order and a
preliminary injunction. This Court denied the temporary
restraining order, and held a hearing on the preliminary
injunction on September 29 and October 2, 2000.
The Farinas first attempted on May 1, 1997 to register their
older child Gianluca at Public School 215 for the 1997 — 1998
school year. As part of the registration process, the school
secretary asked Francesca Farina to provide immunization records
for her son. Then Mrs. Farina presented a letter dated May 1,
1997 addressed to Gail Feuer, Principal of P.S. 215, stating:
Our family holds genuine and sincere religious
beliefs which prohibit the practice of vaccination
and invasive treatments and tests by the State. We
release the School from this responsibility. With
this statement we invoke our rights and are therefore
exempt from vaccination pursuant to New York State
Public Health Law 2164 (2165), Paragraph 9.
This matter is personal and private. Please keep this
confidential statement on file as legal proof of our
The school secretary called the Community School District 21
Superintendent's office, and faxed a copy of Mrs. Farina's
letter to Denise Sasso, the school district Health Secretary,
who showed it to her supervisor, Anita Malta, executive
assistant to the Superintendent. Ms. Malta determined that the
letter was insufficient, as "it didn't really give us any
information about the nexus between the religious beliefs and
the request for an exemption." Ms. Sasso spoke to Mrs. Farina on
the telephone at P.S. 215, telling her that the letter was
insufficient, and that Mrs. Farina needed to provide additional
documentation supporting her religious beliefs relating to
The parties disagree about the next sequence of events, but
either in a telephone conversation or in a subsequent meeting at
the District office, Ms. Sasso asked Mrs. Farina what religion
she practiced. Mrs. Farina said her family was Roman Catholic.
Ms. Sasso then told Mrs. Farina to support her request with "a
letter from the Catholic diocese or from the parish." Ms. Sasso
testified that Mrs. Farina responded, "Oh, come on, I'm
Catholic. Don't be ridiculous. You know I'm not going to get
this documentation . . . [i]t's really not a religious belief,
it's a personal belief." This ambiguous statement may be
interpreted either to mean that Mrs. Farina knew her beliefs to
be secular rather than religious, or that she meant that her
religious opposition to inoculations is personal to her, not
official dogma of the Roman Catholic church. Mrs. Farina
maintains that Ms. Sasso also told her to change the letter to
reflect personal rather than religious beliefs, but that Mrs.
Farina insisted that the beliefs were religious.
Mrs. Farina sent a letter to Principal Gail Feuer on May 11,
1997, requesting an appointment to discuss the matter with Ms.
Feuer. Mrs. Farina then sent a certified letter on May 21, 1997
to Ms. Feuer asserting:
"[a]ccording to New York State Public health law
2164, my child's records are complete, and all legal
requirements have been complied with in full . . .
Should you have any questions regarding this matter,
I ask that you put them in writing, explain your
position and include and/or cite and reference the
appropriate statutory authority. If within 10 days I
do not receive any such communications, I will
consider this matter settled."
On June 7, 1997, Mr. and Mrs. Farina sent a letter to Ms.
Feuer that repeated that "our child's records are complete, and
all legal requirements have been complied with in full" and
We believe that it is not important for the School
District to understand our beliefs, but to respect
that we hold them. We are not requesting permission
for an exemption: we are invoking our right to claim
In the interest of expediting the processing of our
child's enrollment papers, we submit the following
supporting statements: As the legal and responsible
parents, we prohibit the vaccination of our children
by the State, as it is contrary to our genuine and
sincerely held religious beliefs and practices.
Vaccines are made of man and not God. Our children
were created in God's perfect image with physical,
emotional aspects balanced and working in unison. The
injection or ingestion of such substances would prove
injurious to the health and therefore the spirit. We
believe we were not meant to interfere with the
spiritual wisdom of the organism in this way.
This letter also repeated the language of the May 21st letter
requesting that any questions be in writing, with statutory
authority, and asserting that the Farinas would consider the
matter "settled" if they received no response within ten days.
District 21 responded on June 19, 1997 with a letter stating
that the letter of June 7 was received and the matter was under
Francesca Farina testified that during the summer of 1997,
Gianluca Farina "regressed with speech and with behavior," and
that he was evaluated at Warbasse Nursery School from September
to December of 1997. Mrs. Farina presented Warbasse school with
a letter on September 30, 1997 which was identical to the letter
presented to P.S. 215 on May 1, 1997.
In December of 1997, Gianluca was placed in a special
education program at P.S. 329. That school never requested a
letter of religious exemption, but received a copy of the letter
to Warbasse school with Gianluca's records. Gianluca attended
school at P.S. 329 from December 1997 until September 20, 2000.
The Farina's younger son Alessio attended Warbasse Nursery
School beginning in 1998, receiving special education services
there. His records contained a copy of the Farina's letter to
Warbasse regarding Gianluca. In January 2000, Alessio was
reevaluated for special education needs, and in June 2000, the
Farinas received notification that he would be offered a place
in the special education program at P.S. 329. On September 7,
2000, Mrs. Farina brought Alessio to P.S. 329 and was told that
he would not be allowed to attend school without an immunization
record or a religious exemption.
Mrs. Farina contacted her attorney, who represents the Farinas
in this action. He sent a letter to Anita Garcia, Principal of
P.S. 329. The letter asserted that his clients have sincere
religious beliefs that prohibit them from having their children
immunized or inoculated, and stated:
My clients' religious beliefs are as follows:
"We believe in God, the Creator of heaven and earth
and all therein. God is the supreme authority over
this creation and is all-powerful. We are created in
God's image and must not be defiled. As the divine
Architect, God designed our bodies to have immune
systems, which must not be defiled by immunizations.
Immunizations are a violation of God's supreme
authority, and therefore, unholy. Since immunizations
are `unholy' they violate our religious beliefs.
We believe that God has created us in His image. In
being created in God's image, we are given His immune
system. We are bestowed with His gift, the immune
system. We believe it is sacrilegious and a violation
of our sacred religious beliefs to violate what God
has given us by showing a lack of faith in God."
My clients also believe the following quotations from
the Bible support their religious beliefs:
"Know ye not that your body is the Temple of the Holy
Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God and ye
are not your own."
1st COR 6:19
"If any man defiles the Temple of God, him shall God
destroy, for the Temple of God is holy, which ye
1st COR 3:17
"That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of
men, but in the power of God."
1st COR 2:5
P.S. 329 notified Anita Malta of receipt of the letter, and
Ms. Malta forwarded it to the Office of Legal Services. On
September 20, 2000, Deborah King of the Office of Legal Services
notified Ms. Malta that both children should be excluded from
school. Anita Garcia of P.S. 329 sent Mrs. Farina a letter on
September 20, 2000 stating that "the letter for religious
exemption for Gianluca and Alessio Farina does not provide
proper documentation to substantiate religious exemption" and
that it was "therefore necessary for Gianluca and Alessio Farina
to be excluded from school effective immediately." This action
To obtain a preliminary injunction, plaintiffs must show: "(a)
irreparable harm and (b) either (1) likelihood of success on the
merits or (2) sufficiently serious questions going to the merits
to make them a fair ground for litigation and a balance of the
hardships tipping decidedly toward the party requesting the
preliminary relief." See Deeper Life Christian Fellowship, Inc.
v. Board of Education, 852 F.2d 676, 679 (2d Cir. 1988)
(quoting Jackson Dairy, Inc. v. H.P. Hood & Sons, Inc.,
596 F.2d 70, 72 (2d Cir. 1979) (per curiam)).
Plaintiffs meet the first element of the test. The Supreme
Court has stated: "The loss of First Amendment freedoms, for
even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes
irreparable injury." Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373, 96
S.Ct. 2673, 2689, 49 L.Ed.2d 547 (1976); see also Deeper Life,
852 F.2d at 679.
The second element of the test requires an evaluation of the
merits of plaintiffs' claim that they have been improperly
denied religious exemption from immunizations for schoolchildren
required by New York Public Health Law § 2164. The statute
provides, in pertinent part:
(2) Every person in parental relation to a child in
this state shall have administered to such child an
adequate dose or doses of an immunizing agent against
poliomyelitis, mumps, measles, diphtheria, rubella
and haemophilus influenzae type b(Hib), which meets
standards approved by the United States public health
service for such biological products, and which is
approved by the state department of health under such
conditions as may be specified by the public health
(7)(a) No principal, teacher, owner or person in
charge of a school shall permit any child to be
admitted to such school, or to attend such school, in
excess of fourteen days, without the certificate
provided for in subdivision five of this section or
some other acceptable evidence of the child's
immunization against poliomyelitis, mumps, measles,
diphtheria, rubella and, where applicable,
haemophilus influenzae type b(Hib). . . .
(9) This section shall not apply to children whose
parent, parents, or guardian hold genuine and sincere
religious beliefs which are contrary to the practices
herein required, and no certificate shall be required
as a prerequisite to such children being admitted or
received into school or attending school.
Because the statutory exception of § 2164(9) is for persons
whose opposition to immunizations stems from genuine and sincere
"religious" beliefs, it does not extend to persons whose views
are founded upon, for instance, "medical or purely moral
considerations," Sherr v. Northport-East Northport Union Free
School Dist., 672 F. Supp. 81,92 (E.D.N.Y. 1987), "scientific
and secular theories," or "philosophical and personal" beliefs.
See Mason v. General Brown Cent. School Dist., 851 F.2d 47,
51-52 (2d Cir. 1988). Thus, the Court must first determine
whether plaintiffs' purported beliefs are religious, and only if
they are, determine whether those beliefs are genuinely and
The Court must also take care to avoid making impermissible
assessments of the credibility of the beliefs themselves. See
International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v.
Barber, 650 F.2d 430, 441 (2d Cir. 1981). The beliefs need not
be consistent with the dogma of any organized religion, whether
or not the
plaintiffs belong to any recognized religious organization.
Sherr, 672 F. Supp. at 91. Thus, Denise Sasso's questions to
Mrs. Farina about the Farinas' religious affiliation, and her
statements to Mrs. Farina that she obtain a letter from the
Roman Catholic diocese or her parish were misplaced. The Farinas
had no obligation to provide documentation from the Roman
Catholic church regarding their beliefs. Personal religious
beliefs, as long as they are in fact religious, are sufficient
under the statute if sincerely and genuinely held.
Religious convictions are inherently subjective, and the Court
cannot look directly into the minds of the plaintiffs. But the
Court may, as in any state of mind inquiry, draw inferences from
the plaintiffs' words and actions, in determining whether they
hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs against inoculations.
The Court is convinced that the Farinas sincerely and
genuinely oppose vaccinations for their children, but is not
convinced that those objections are religious in nature. The
preponderance of the evidence adduced at the hearing leads the
Court to conclude that the Farinas' objections to immunization
are personal and represent a belief that inoculations would e
damaging to the physical health of their children.
While the plaintiffs presented testimony and documentation
purporting to express personal religious beliefs, we did not
find either the testimony or the documentation persuasive that
the beliefs so expressed originated with the plaintiffs
themselves, or were sincerely and genuinely held by the
plaintiffs. Rather, much of the testimony of both the plaintiffs
and the witnesses, as well as significant portions of several
documents in evidence, struck the Court as the product not of
the plaintiffs own deeply held conviction, but rather more
plausibly as expressions the plaintiffs borrowed from outside
sources in their effort to obtain the exemption.
Mrs. Farina's testimony was often evasive and inconsistent.
That she did not choose to testify in her own behalf gave the
Court pause, since it is clear from the record that Mrs. Farina
leads the effort to prevent her children from being immunized,
and is the likely driving force behind this litigation.
Luigi Farina, an information technology manager at a large law
firm, testified that he downloaded extensive information
concerning immunization from the Internet, including the New
York Public Health statute. He also testified that he and his
wife worked together on all of the correspondence to the schools
and the District. Yet Francesca Farina's testimony regarding her
knowledge of her husband's research on the Internet was evasive
and inconsistent. She testified that she and her husband
composed the letters to the schools, and that her husband found
information on the Internet which helped in writing the letters.
In particular she said that her husband found information on
the Internet concerning "what [their] legal rights were within
the school system," and that her husband had searched the
Internet for parents who "have the same beliefs" as the
plaintiffs. Yet when asked if her husband had relayed to her
what he had found on the Internet, Mrs. Farina was evasive:
Q: You said your husband did some research on the
Q: Do you know what he found on the Internet?
A: I'm not sure what he found.
The Court: Did he tell you what he found?
A: Well, actually, he was trying to find parents that
have the same beliefs as we do.
Q: Did you find parents who had the same beliefs as
Q: Were these parents members of some organization?
A: I don't think so.
Q: How did you find them?
A: I've never been on the Internet myself.
Q: Did your husband tell you whether or not these
parents were members of some organization?
Q: Did he tell you how it was that he acquired the
names of these other parents?
A: I don't know the exact procedure. I believe he got
it from the Internet.
Q: Did you speak with these other parents?
A: No, I don't speak on the Internet.
Q: Did your husband speak with these other parents?
A: Most probably.
Q: Did he tell you what these other parents told him?
A: No. What do you mean?
Q: You said that you were looking to see whether or
not there were other parents who had similar
objections to vaccinations as you did, right?
Q: And you also said that your husband looked on the
Internet to try to find other couples who might have
had similar views as you and your husband, correct?
Q: I'm asking you whether or not your husband as a
result of his research relayed to you the results of
his contacts with other parents?
Q: What did he tell you that they told him?
A: They had similar beliefs.
Q: What beliefs were those?
Q: Did they go into the details about what the nature
of their beliefs were?
A: I don't know, sir.
Mrs. Farina's later testimony on the same topic also lacked
Q: Your husband testified about research that he
performed on the Internet and that he read various
things and spoke with a number of people in reaching
the decision jointly with you that your children
should not be immunized. Did he tell you who he spoke
with, what Internet sites he visited?
Q: Did he tell you anything at all about the details
of his research?
A: All I know is that we made a spiritual decision.
Q: But I'm trying to find out whether or not you know
the names of any of the people with whom he testified
he had spoken on this issue?
Q: Did you speak with anyone about this issue?
Q: Aside from the people who came here to testify on
We find it implausible that Mr. Farina would not inform his
wife in detail about his findings on a matter of apparently
vital importance to the Farinas. Mr. Farina testified that he
would "probably burn in hell" for having his older son immunized
prior to the age of eight months. Mrs. Farina testified, as did
her brother Antonino Noto, that she believed she was "living in
sin" as a parent when her older son, Gianluca, was vaccinated.
It strains the Court's credulity to be asked to believe that
this is an issue of the highest spiritual consequence to the
Farinas and that they worked together on preparing letters
asserting their claim, but that Mr. Farina did not speak to his
wife about help he may have found on the Internet. It is more
plausible to suppose that Mr. Farina would convey to his wife
virtually every piece of pertinent information he may have found
on the Internet, including correspondence with others who may
have been sympathetic to his and his wife's objections to
immunizations and helpful in their efforts.
Mrs. Farina was similarly vague when asked how she came in
contact with her attorney in the case. She testified that she
had "his name and number for over
three years," and that she found his name in a publication
entitled "Health Science." She testified that her girlfriend
subscribed to the magazine, and that she had read it "a little
bit." She knew it was published monthly, but would say only that
she "assumed" it talked about health problems.
It turns out that Health Science magazine is published by the
American Natural Hygiene Society, an organization devoted to
something called Natural Hygiene. This is described on the
Society's website as "a philosophy and a set of principles and
practices based on science that lead to an extraordinary level
of personal health and happiness." Among its basic principles,
it includes a statement that "Health is the normal state;
healing is a biological process and is not something you can buy
. . . nothing that makes a well person sick can make a sick
person well." The philosophy purports to enhance physical,
emotional and mental health, but does not make any mention of
religious or spiritual well-being.
One cannot subscribe to the magazine without joining the
organization. A related website further describes Natural
Hygiene: "Natural hygiene advocates: vegetarianism, freedom of
choice in healthcare (opposes compulsory treatment or procedures
of any kind — vaccinations, fluoridation in water . . .)."
Natural hygiene adherents believe that the body is self-healing.
Mrs. Farina's denial that any of her friends or family members
are opposed to vaccinations seems implausible if she selected
her attorney out of a friend's subscription to a magazine only
obtainable to members of such an organization.
When asked about her husband's testimony that he had learned
from the Center for Disease Control that numerous people had
contracted Polio from vaccines, she was evasive:
Q: Did he ever tell you that in your discussions at
A: All I can say is that lately this issue has been
all over the news and TVs.
Q: What has been all over the news?
A: Whatever my husband said.
The Court: What do you mean your husband was telling
A: I'm sorry?
Q: What is all over the news, what do you mean by
A: There has been more attention — more talk about
vaccinations and injuries.
Q: That vaccinations are harmful?
A: There has been more in the media and that's what
my husband testified about.
There has in fact been recent media attention concerning
alleged links between immunizations and disease. This may be at
the heart of plaintiffs' objections to immunization. A cursory
exploration of the Internet yields several easily accessible
websites both in favor of and opposing immunization.
Researchers consistently find that the incidence of any
adverse reaction to vaccines whether mild or severe, is
extremely low (.08% in 1995, for example), and that includes
reactions as mild as a brief elevation in body temperature. But
the current generation of parents, who fortunately grew up
relatively free, at least in this country, from these crippling
communicative diseases due to the success of vaccines, have
become more concerned with their possible adverse effects. Luigi
Farina testified, "there are countless cases . . . where the
person got vaccinated against polio and the person got polio."
The Farinas apparently believe this.
Of particular relevance is the recent release of a preliminary
study published in the British medical journal Lancet by Dr.
Anthony Wakefield, tying the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
vaccine to regressive developmental disorder. Mrs. Farina's
repeated statements that her older son, who had been immunized
before the age of eight months, "regressed in speech and
behavior" during the summer of 1997 raises the likelihood that
concerns are for their child's physical rather than his
The Court also found implausible Mrs. Farina's testimony that
her pediatrician, to whom the children are brought for yearly
examinations, allegedly expressed no opinion whatsoever
concerning the possible health risks of failing to vaccinate the
children. When asked what her physician told her about
vaccinations, Mrs. Farina testified, "[s]he is respecting my
wishes." On further questioning, she maintained that her
physician expressed no opinion one way or the other.
The Farinas impressed the Court as caring and diligent
parents, and they each testified that they underwent extensive
deliberation in arriving at their decision not to permit
immunizations. It seems likely that such parents, seeking to
make a decision of great importance to their children's
well-being, would insist on hearing the pediatrician's opinion
in the process. It is equally inconsistent that Mr. Farina, a
practicing Roman Catholic who testified at great length about
his upbringing in Rome in close contact with leaders of the
Roman Catholic faith, would neglect to consult with his priest
concerning a matter that allegedly caused him and his wife such
The Farinas' testimony concerning the nature of their beliefs
was also inconsistent. Their initial contention, and the
testimony of their witnesses, was that their objection to
immunization was based solely on the injury they believed was
inflicted on the spirit, and not on concerns for the physical
health of their children. Luigi Farina testified that the body
is "nothing but a shell" and made distinctions between the body
and the spirit: "there are two kinds of death that you have to
consider . . . the death of the body, and the death of the
spirit" and "the death of the body you have no control over
. . . the death of the spirit is something I have control over
. . . if I decide to soil my spirit . . . that's my decision."
In the same vein, when asked why the use of anti-perspirant was
not objectionable, Mr. Farina replied, "That's not taking care
of my spirit, having anything to do with anything spiritual."
All of the witnesses denied that they had ever heard the Farinas
express concerns about immunization other than spiritual
concerns. But Mr. Farina later said that "the body and the
spirit are one and the same, because [God] created the function
to work together."
Similarly, Mrs. Farina first denied any concerns about the
potential effect of immunization on the physical health of her
children, testifying that she had not learned anything at all
about possible health problems or learning problems of her child
that might have influenced her decision not to immunize. But
Mrs. Farina later stated that injury to the body, was caused by
Q: So I ask you again how does immunization defile
the immune system?
A: That's not the part what I'm saying.
The Court: Excuse me, maybe I'm misreading here.
A: Saying that God has created us with an immune
The Court: But must not be defiled by immunization.
And the question is why would an immunization defile
A: Because it would endanger our spirit as well, sir
Q: It would also endanger the child's health as well,
isn't that right?
A: Subsequently, yes.
The Farinas also made a connection between damage to the
health and damage to the spirit in the letter of June 7, 1997 to
P.S. 215, in which they wrote, "The injection or ingestion of
such substances would prove injurious to the health, and
therefore the spirit." Thus, the Farinas' denials that they have
concerns about alleged health problems caused by inoculations
are contradicted by their own testimony and written statements.
The content of the Farinas' letters to the schools presents
serious credibility problems. In general, it seems plausible
that much of the language used by the Farinas
was found in their research on the Internet. As Mr. Farina
testified, "I forget where the article came up, that I was more
or less quoting in one of those letters: God made this body. God
made the soul that's in this body. Your soul is in this
container for as long as you're on earth. Do not soil the
container or the inside."
The letter of May 1, 1997 contains form language almost
identical to a document received as Defense Exhibit A, called a
"Legal Exemption from Vaccination per compliance with State
Statute Provisions," typed on letterhead which purports to be
from the State of New York, Department of Health, but Ms. Malta
of District 21 testified that the Department of Health issues no
such letter. The document was not written by the Farinas, yet
Mrs. Farina's letter of May 1, 1997 is strikingly similar to it,
containing several identical sentences, and overall differences
only in style and sequence.
The letter of September 7, 2000 is more troubling. A
comparison between it and Defendant's Exhibit E, written on
behalf of another person seeking a religious exemption from
vaccinations, reveals that many sentences are replicated
verbatim. Of particular importance is one of the paragraphs
following the sentence, "My client's religious beliefs are as
follows:" and contained in quotation marks. It states:
"We believe that God has created us in His image. In
being created in God's image, we are given His immune
system. We are bestowed with his gift, the immune
system. We believe it is sacrilegious and a violation
of our sacred religious beliefs to violate what God
has given us by showing a lack of faith in God."
The same paragraph appears in Defendant's Exhibit E, with the
only difference that the first sentence reads, "We believe in
God and that God has created us in His image" and there is an
additional sentence at the end, "Immunizations are a lack of
faith in God and His way, the immune system." The expression
that immunizations represent a lack of faith in God comes up
repeatedly in the Farinas' case as well. Both Mr. and Mrs.
Farina testified to this idea, as did several of their
witnesses. Thus, Mrs. Farina's assertion that these expressions
in the letter of September 7, 2000 were "what we discussed" and
that they "expressed my beliefs" is implausible. Even taking
into account that plaintiffs' counsel might paraphrase the
Farinas' discussion of their beliefs into language which
previously may have been useful in expressing similar sentiments
of others, the identical expression of these ideas undermines
any contention that these are genuine, sincere religious beliefs
held personally by the plaintiffs. Mrs. Farina's assertion that
she provided her attorney with the three quotations from
Corinthians contained in the letter of September 7, 2000 is
equally improbable. Those same quotations are contained in
Defendant's Exhibit E.
The Farinas' repetition verbatim of boilerplate religious
sentiments and biblical quotations would not, on its own, render
the statements incredible. But their insistence that their
objections to immunization are the result of their personal,
individualized interpretation of scripture arrived at through
personal spiritual contemplation, gives the Court reason to
doubt the sincerity of the expressed beliefs.
Mr. Farina testified repeatedly that his beliefs were his own
"personal, unique understanding of what [he] read and
experienced" and that he had "gotten this out of the Bible."
Mrs. Farina's affidavit and the letter of September 7, 2000 both
contain quotations which read, "God designed our bodies to have
immune systems which must not be defiled by immunizations." Yet,
when she was asked why immunization defiles the immune system,
Mrs. Farina hesitated, evaded, said she didn't understand the
question, asked to see the document, and at one point responded,
"That's not the part I'm saying, sir." This testimony casts
doubt on the sincerity of
both the testimony and the written expressions of religious
The totality of our observation of the witnesses' testimony
and our examination of the documents leads the Court to conclude
that Plaintiffs' objections to immunization are based on their
personal fears for the health of their children, rather than on
genuine and sincerely held religious beliefs.
Because the Court finds that Plaintiffs have not shown that
they hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs which prohibit
immunizations, the motion for preliminary injunction is denied.
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