Anti-Vaxxer White Evangelicals Are Tearing Apart Their Own Families and Churches May 14, 2021

Anti-Vaxxer White Evangelicals Are Tearing Apart Their Own Families and Churches

By now, we know all too well that many people who refuse to get vaccinated (or wear masks or respect quarantine and social distancing recommendations) are white evangelical Christians. 26% of them, according to one survey, say they will never get a COVID shot while an additional 28% are hesitant about it.

In addition to putting immunocompromised people at risk — as if that alone isn’t bad enough — their general anti-vax attitude is causing division within families. Writing for Religion Dispatches, Chrissy Stroop writes about hearing stories from evangelicals who won’t attend weddings or funerals and who also refuse to let unvaccinated relatives visit their grandchildren. It’s not always in one direction either; sometimes, it’s the parents begging the kids to get vaccinated or they can’t visit.

Stroop also says some churches are split over this issue, with some pro-vaccination pastors fearing their jobs might be in jeopardy if they encourage the congregation to take that responsible step.

This is based on a tweet requesting stories — and the responses will both infuriate you and break your heart.

Stories like this highlight how the radical politicization of the coronavirus pandemic on the right has added so much stress to reasonable Americans’ lives over the past year and counting. And, while rearguard efforts like the [National Association of Evangelicals]-sponsored “Christians and the Vaccine” initiative may make a dent in the proportion of evangelical vaccine refusers, they won’t even begin to solve the underlying problem of widespread willful ignorance and paranoid, conspiratorial thinking among conservative evangelicals

This is not an issue where two differing opinions can be equally valid. One side is backed by science; the other is backed by conspiracy theorists, FOX News primetime hosts, and various YouTube influencers. That ignorance is a major reason why the United States can’t reach herd immunity.

While there are undoubtedly some prominent evangelicals who have encouraged vaccinations — Franklin Graham among them — there need to be many more leaders in the evangelical world willing to tell their congregations the truth about the vaccines instead of fueling their paranoia.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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