Earlier this year, after spending much of 2020 spreading misinformation about COVID, Christian evangelist Franklin Graham did something remarkable: He said he had been vaccinated and urged others to get their shots, too.
… I have been asked my opinion about the vaccine by the media and others. I have even been asked if Jesus were physically walking on earth now, would He be an advocate for vaccines. My answer was that based on the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Bible, I would have to say — yes, I think Jesus Christ would advocate for people using vaccines and medicines to treat suffering and save lives…
… Vaccines have worked for polio, smallpox, measles, the flu and so many other deadly illnesses — why not for this virus? Since there are different vaccines available, my recommendation is that people do their research, talk to their doctor, and pray about it to determine which vaccine, if any, is right for them. My wife and I have both had the vaccine; and at 68 years old, I want to get as many more miles out of these old bones as possible!
Obviously there were issues with that statement. It’s not like we needed the endorsement of Jesus for the vaccine to be useful, and it’s not like people got to choose which vaccine to take (you just got whatever was available). But still! One of the most prominent white evangelicals in the country was finally telling his followers something sensible! That was especially important because white evangelicals are the least likely religious demographic to say they’ll get their shots.
But after he said that, other Christian Nationalists piled on with their criticism, suggesting that Graham had lost his way by siding with the scientists over the conspiracists.
It now looks like Graham is walking back on his endorsement of the vaccines — perhaps sensitive to the criticism he’s received online. He still says people should get vaccinated, but he’s also celebrating the Republican lawmakers suing the Biden administration’s vaccine or testing mandate.
Oklahoma’s Attorney General John O’Connor is suing the Biden Administration over their Covid-19 vaccine mandate for the military and federal employees, saying that it “does not reflect the Land of the Free.” I must say that I agree with him. I support the vaccine—and thank God for it. I believe it is saving lives. But I don’t support the government mandating it and trying to exert so much control. Attorney General O’Connor says it is unlawful and unconstitutional. The pandemic has given power-hungry government officials the opportunity to overreach into our lives—and they will just want more and more control. I appreciate freedom-loving officials like this Attorney General who are speaking out to defend our liberties. God bless him!
So Graham supports getting vaccinated. But he opposes pressuring people to get vaccinated. Which means a lot of people won’t get vaccinated. Which means the virus will continue to spread and mutate. Which ultimately limits the efficacy of our vaccines.
You can’t say you’re in favor of the vaccine when you also don’t care if everyone is vaccinated. That’s like saying there are good people on both sides — the vaccine and the virus. You don’t get to have it both ways!
This is why you should never take science advice from a Creationist.
If Graham’s trying to appease his base, though, it’s pointless. After spending years spreading baseless lies about basic truths, he can’t seriously expect his thoughtless followers to suddenly accept the scientific consensus. They’ve been trained to reject reason and common sense. They’re doing exactly what he trained them to do.
It looks like even he got sucked in by the monster he created.
(Large portions of this article were published earlier)