Appearing on PBS News hour, Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, explained that hesitancy over whether or not to take the vaccine yet, or even at all, is driven by conspiracy theorists on social media who are propagating disinformation.
In the brief interview, host John Yang asks Moore whether he himself is vaccinated- Moore confirms that he is- and is then questioned over whether or not the polling skepticism of white evangelicals to embrace the vaccine is the result of religious beliefs
“No. This doesn’t have anything to do with religious beliefs. It’s instead about the mistrust and distrust that’s evident in American society right now.
And plus I think some of it has to do with the fact that we’ve been isolated from one another in lots of ways for over the year, and much of the way that misinformation and disinformation gets combated is with people in conversation with one another.
And that’s why a lot of us are doing what we can to say a vaccination is not only something that’s acceptable for Christians, it’s something we ought to thank God that we have the technology for because it’s going to get us back to doing the things that we need to do quicker.”
"A vaccination is not only something that's acceptable for Christians. It's something we ought to thank God that we have the technology for because it's going to get us back to doing the things that we need to do quicker."— ERLC (@ERLC) April 9, 2021
(Video credit: PBS Newshour) pic.twitter.com/cwkG9cnvGj
Pivoting to whether or not pastors should encourage congregants to get the vaccine, Moore explains some of them are, but that they ought to do more to help people understand what can be gained by getting an AstraZeneca or Moderna shot. Using it as a carrot to coax the evangelical turtle out of its shell, Moore suggests bytaking the vaccine pastors and congregants will be able to have all sorts of ministry opportunities they haven’t been able to have this past year.
“So, for instance, many evangelical churches have vacation Bible school every summer. To say “we will be able to gather together for vacation Bible school, to do mission trips, to do youth community outreach, and so forth.” And to minister to the elderly among us, who are often the most isolated in assisted living facilities and nursing homes and other places.
We want to get those grandmothers and grandfathers together with their grandchildren. And so I think talking about the positive aspects of vaccination is the way to go, rather than seeking to scold people.
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