DESPITE the fact that numerous religious leaders – from Pope Francis through to Walter Kim, above, President of the National Association of Evangelicals – have urged their flocks to get themselves vaccinated against COVID-19, those proving most resistant to the jabs are white evangelicals.
The Christian Post reports that a new study from the Pew Research Center found that only 54 percent of white evangelicals “definitely or probably” plan on getting vaccinated or already have received at least one vaccination shot – the lowest of any religious demographic surveyed.
Furthermore, white evangelicals were also the least likely to consider the deleterious effects on members of their own communities of not getting vaccinated.
When evangelist Franklin Graham used Facebook last December to praise God, Trump and Mike Pence for getting vaccines out ahead of Christmas, he unleashed torrents of anger. Here are some (unedited) samples:
• Sorry but the vaccine is definitely not from God when aborted fetuses are used to create it. Always amazes me that Christians don’t do their homework when it come to vaccines and the corrupt pharmaceutical industry that is completely intertwined with planned parenhood’s evilness.
• Any vaccine that contains Ingredients to alter your DNA is not a blessing!!! It’s Poisen that gives the government say too much control over your body. I beg everyone to do their research regarding this vaccine prior to agreeing to receive it!
• I know the covid is a horrible virus! But how can we trust that the vaccine isn’t laced with something even worse. A way to kill more people! No thanks! With all the lies, deceit, evil that’s going on, who can trust it? Just sayin’.
• I will not take the vaccine. It is not necessary if we allow our God given immune system to respond as it is meant to. This whole covid thing is a man made hype designed to usher socialism into our country …
In contrast, 64 percent of black Americans surveyed said they would “definitely or probably” get vaccinated or already have been, along with 77 percent of Catholics and 71 percent of the religiously unaffiliated.
Atheists and agnostics are the least sceptical about vaccinations
Of all the groups surveyed, atheists were the most likely to say they will get vaccinated, with 90 percent saying they plan to or already have had been vaccinated.
Eighty percent of agnostics said the same. Among the religious “nones,” 64 percent said they would “definitely or probably” get a vaccine or already received at least one vaccine shot.
Just 48 percent of white evangelicals said they would consider community health effects “a lot” compared to 70 percent of black Protestants, 65 percent of Catholics and 68 percent of unaffiliated Americans.
The survey also showed that 83 percent of Democrats either plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or already have been, compared to 56 percent of Republicans.
In a recent op-ed for The Washington Post, Southern Baptist Convention ethicist Russell Moore and Walter Kim argued that vaccines are a “cause for Christians to rejoice and to give glory to God.”
They identified vaccines as a “common grace, discovered by human beings but given by God.”
We have all lost much during this pandemic. For Christians, one of the most awful aspects, apart from the deaths of those we love, is the isolation we have had from one another, along with our feelings of powerlessness to change the situation.
The vaccines change that equation. By getting vaccinated as soon as our time is called, we can actively work for what we have been praying for – churches filled with people, hugs in the church foyer, and singing loudly together the hymns we love.
Kim and Moore insisted that the vaccines:
Help express our love for neighbor – especially the sick and elderly – by reducing the chance that we might inadvertently pass along a virus that could kill them.,
All we are asked to do is to get a shot. As evangelical Christians, we should all hear that challenge and say ‘Amen.’
Dr Francis Collins, above, a Christian physician-geneticist and the Director of the National Institutes of Health, has repeatedly discussed the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. He has encouraged Christians to seek out the truth about vaccines instead of misinformation and conspiracy theories.
I know people are tired of hearing these messages and having to be acting upon them, but the virus does not care that we are tired. The virus is having a wonderful time right now spreading through this country, taking advantage of circumstances where people have let their guard go down.
We need to be just absolutely rigorously adherent to things that we know work. But they don’t work unless everybody actually sticks to them faithfully without exception.