While there are a handful of prominent white evangelical leaders who have responsibly urged their congregations to get vaccinated, there are many who refuse to even bring up the topic out of fear that their Trump-worshiping congregations will lash out.
That’s why this story from POLITICO is so frightening. Reporter Dan Goldberg spoke with a dozen pastors from the South who are too scared to bring up vaccines in church even though they know how effective vaccines are.
… Each pastor had been vaccinated but not all were eager to discuss it with their congregations.
State health officials are conducting informal focus groups and outreach to try to ease pastors’ concerns about discussing vaccination, but progress is often elusive, they said. Many pastors said they have already lost congregants to fights over coronavirus restrictions and fear risking further desertions by promoting vaccinations. Others said their congregations are so ideologically opposed to the vaccine that discussing it would not be worth the trouble.
“If I put forth effort to push it, I’d be wasting my breath,” said Nathan White, a pastor at Liberty Baptist Church in Skipwith, Va., a small town near the North Carolina border.
There’s an argument to be made that a church effectively spreading a deadly virus isn’t worth salvaging. Nathan White may be “wasting” his breath, but his reluctance to speak up means some of those church members may not have a breath for long. He’s more worried about his job security than their lives.
This problem isn’t just about one guy, though. It’s about an entire group of pastors who have ceded all authority to right-wing propaganda outlets and who are now too scared to warn their congregations about Republican fear-mongering.
As another pastor said:
“I’ve been pastoring for 20 years and Covid has done more damage to the church than anything I’ve seen — more than sex scandals, more than racism,” he said.
That says more about the moral bankruptcy of that Christian denomination than anything about the virus. They’re political, not religious. They’re sheep, not shepherds. They’re gullible, not critical thinkers. And if their own church leaders won’t educate them, there’s little reason to think anyone else will.
Even beyond the virus, these pastors don’t appear to be doing any kind of serious self-reflection about why their congregations won’t listen to reason when it conflicts with FOX News’ lies. If they won’t talk about vaccines, then maybe they should at least spend time talking about why some supposed voices of authority cannot and should not be trusted.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Chaz for the link)