As hundreds of thousands of Americans get the COVID-19 vaccination each day, some Evangelical Christians are insisting that they have not and will not be among those who are taking the shots in an effort to curb the spread of the deadly pandemic which has already killed over 560,000 people in the United States and infected 31 million more.
CNN paid a visit to Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge recently, and immediately discovered that the insistence that “believers” don’t need to be vaccinated starts with the pastor of the church, a man named Tony Spell, who told correspondent Elle Reeve:
“I’ll just tell you today, if being anti-mask and anti-vaccine is anti-government, then I’m proud to be anti-government.
“If you have a 99.6% survival rate, why do you want somebody to contaminate your bloodstream with something that may or may not hurt you?”
Spell also told Reeve:
“I would rather die free than I had live on my knees.”
That led Reeve to ask:
“How is it living on your knees to take a vaccine?”
“Because you’re bowing against your convictions.”
Many of Spell’s congregants spouted the very same nonsense. Some even claimed that vaccination was a plot to eliminate them:
“Bill Gates and them trying to kill us.”
Patricia Seal, who also attends church at Life Tabernacle, said she loves former President Donald Trump but disagrees with him on the vaccine:
“When he was talking about getting the shot I said, you can have it all you want. I don’t want it.”
Why the reluctance among some Christians to trust medical science? According to Samuel Perry, a sociology professor at University of Oklahoma who specializes in religion, it’s an “us versus them” mentality:
“There is a tendency within White Christian nationalism, to want to believe these kinds of conspiracies, because I think it reinforces this idea of an us versus them. The problem is, the people who are feeding that fear, have an incentive to keep stoking that fear because people keep clicking, and people keep listening.”
When Pastor Spell was confronted with the accusation that it sounded like his refusal to be vaccinated was based on little more than a political motive, Spell responded:
“It’s not political at all. I’m not a politician, I’m a prophet.”
Prophets can catch a deadly disease, too. COVID-19 doesn’t give a damn what religion a person happens to be. It kills without distinction, and Tony Spell and his flock are a direct threat to others in their community.
Here’s the video from CNN:
95% of Evangelical leaders in a survey said they’re open to getting a Covid vaccine.
But the number of White Evangelicals opposed remains high, one expert says, in part due to baseless conspiracy theories. That could be a problem for some parts of the US. https://t.co/q6mqiCQgn7 pic.twitter.com/PdGXCP6feS
— CNN (@CNN) April 15, 2021
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