White Evangelical Resistance – Dr. James Emery White Christian Blog
According to several polls and surveys, there is a group that is preventing current vaccines from winning over COVID-19:
… White evangelical Christians.
Currently, around 41 million people reside in the United States, and as of the end of February, around 45% said they will not get the vaccine. That’s a large enough number to prevent herd immunity and ensure the spread of the virus and the state of the pandemic, not to mention the continuing rise in the death toll.
I can’t begin to tell you how much this bothers me. I am white, and I have felt comfortable in the past calling myself an evangelical Christian, although what the word “evangelical” stands for today is different from what I first adopted it. . These days more and more I find myself saying that I am just a biblical Christian who keeps abreast of historical Christian orthodoxy.
But back to vaccinations.
Hearing that the problem of our time is any group of Christians, instead of hearing that they are the solution – the blessing, the answer, the heroes of our time – troubles me. That any group of Christians stand in the way of ending the death, economic carnage, community disruption that has wreaked havoc in our world over the past 14 months is, once again, disturbing. As Christians, we are the ones who say that we follow a Jesus who taught us to love our neighbor and to do to others what we would like them to do to us. Obtaining a vaccine that has been tested to be both safe and effective is not a private matter, but a public concern.
So why this reluctance? False information. This is why so many evangelical leaders have gone as publicly as possible to combat the social media flows that shape the minds and hearts of their fellow Christians. So, for those who might need to read this, here’s what your social media feeds can tell you about why you shouldn’t get the vaccine and why these social media feeds are bogus.
It contains aborted cell tissue.
No. Some of the vaccines were developed and tested using cells derived from fetal tissue from elective abortions that took place decades ago, but none of the vaccines include fetal tissue. In fact, some see the vaccine as a redemptive result for the originally aborted fetus.
It is the mark of the beast.
No it is not. Not even close.
Faith will save me. I don’t need a vaccine to save me. Jesus saved me.
Yes, I hope Jesus did. But to claim that Jesus saved you from the virus when a vaccine is available is called presumption, and it is the testing of God that is uniformly condemned in the Scriptures.
If God wants me to die, I will die. Everything is predetermined.
God gave you free will. It also interacts with your life depending on how you use it. It’s like someone saying, “Why bother praying? God is going to do what God is going to do. Yet what God decided to do is take prayer into account. It will also take into account vaccines and all the other common sense ways of living.
It is an experimental biological agent that modifies genes.
What? Are we talking about a Netflix movie or real facts? This is simply not true. Give me a traditional non-conspiracy medical source. Even one. (You won’t find it.)
I don’t trust traditional medicine.
Listen, it’s one thing to note how medicine has evolved in its understanding and self-correction over the years, the greed of some drug companies as evidenced by things like the opioid epidemic, and even the varying competence of the doctors and medical schools that produce them. But basically neglecting the established science of the medical world, major schools and research entities such as the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, the CDC and the WHO, is just a combination of madness and personal arrogance. They are not foolproof, but they are very competent. And they know more than you do.
God designed the body to heal itself, so I trust that. I just need to get the right nutrients.
God also gave human beings the spirit and the ability to develop culture and civilization, science and knowledge. Could it be that we need to thank God for this and, therefore, the vaccine? Oh, and by the way, how many of these nutrients you take in were made in the lab?
There is no virus. It’s all a hoax.
Tell any frontline worker. Tell any epidemiologist. Tell that to the leaders of the nations of the world grappling with its impact. Tell that to one in five people who have lost a friend or loved one in the United States alone. And before you say “Well, they had pre-existing conditions, it wasn’t really COVID…” ask yourself if you think that’s the case with every death in the world? And even if it did (and it wasn’t), would you want someone you love to die sooner than they would from a virus due to illness? pre-existing?
I’m young and healthy, so I’m not really at risk.
It.is.not.you. It’s about how we need to stop the spread and stop the mutations. You can get it and take it very well, but in the process you can pass it on to countless other people who won’t.
People have died after receiving the vaccine.
This is not true. There is no evidence that anyone has died as a direct result of taking the vaccine. What is true, according to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), is that out of millions and millions of vaccines, just over 900 people have died after receiving it. Within a certain period of time, this must be reported. But that doesn’t mean they died suddenly. To date, there is no evidence that anyone has. So what makes up the 900+ deaths? Examples include things like people having a car accident on the day of their vaccine. This has yet to be reported to VAERS. So the alarming stories of hundreds of deaths are terribly misleading. People die from car accidents and heart attacks every day, and many of them soon after receiving a vaccine. Or get the flu shot. Or eat at Cracker Barrel. But it’s very different from dying because you did one of those things. (Well, maybe Cracker Barrel. I had to come and lie down after having breakfast there a few times. Those cookies…)
I want to wait for more data.
Approved vaccines have been monitored and approved by each agency granting the approval. There is no final round approval to come. Each has been judged, by every test and every agency, to be both safe and effective. There is no more data to come that is relevant to whether or not to get vaccinated. Yes, the process of getting the vaccines was quick, but that wasn’t due to shortcuts in testing but the elimination of bureaucratic slowdowns.
Everything about this pandemic – the lockdowns, the restrictions, the masks and now the vaccine – is about the government wanting to control things. Not getting vaccinated is my stand against excess and oppression.
The politicization of everything has been the bane of our world for several years, and the pandemic has only exacerbated it. But we are talking about a virus and a vaccine that could save your life and the lives of millions of others. We are not throwing a political football here. It’s not oppressive to take the vaccine, it’s actually what will get us out of what has been oppressive to us over the past 14 months or so.
I am supposed to be confident in fear and to take the vaccine is to give in to fear.
Let’s run with this and apply it in other areas. As in, the next time you get in your car, don’t wear a seat belt. Oh, and don’t put your baby in a car seat. After all, you live by faith, not fear. So, don’t do anything to protect yourself or your loved ones. Think. You wouldn’t apply this reasoning to any other area of your life, would you? You put on those seat belts and put those kids in car seats. So why are you arbitrarily “faith rather than fear” with a vaccine?
It is my right not to be vaccinated.
Yes it is. But it is not about rights, but about responsibilities. And more specifically, the responsibility of Christians to lead the way in serving others and prioritizing the sanctity of human life.
Why should I trust science? They believe in evolution.
You will need to help me understand what accepting or rejecting the theory of evolution has to do with the science of epidemiology.
I am an anti-vaccine carrier of cards.
I don’t know what to say to that except that you have been seriously misled and misinformed. You do not get your information from any respected, accredited, accredited member of the medical community. Plus, you are contributing to the current and future spread of disease, not just COVID, but things like measles.
I don’t want anyone to tell me what to do. They tell me to do this, so I’m not going to do it!
I’m sorry, but it sounds irritable, proud and belligerent. If you are going to clench your fist against someone or whatever tells you what to do, then good luck in your relationship with God.
I’ll let everyone get their shots, get herd immunity, and you’ll be fine. They took it, I didn’t, but I get the reward.
If I can be so bold, it’s a selfish attitude born out of a stubborn mind. Neither, I should add, reflects the fruit of the Spirit. You are called to be at the forefront of Christ’s love and service for the world. It’s also akin to the idea of people saying, “They really should do something about this.” You forget that “we” is “they”.
Everything to say, to all my dear Christian brothers and sisters, wherever you are, please, for the love of Christ and for the reputation of his church, for love for others and the spirit of the Good Samaritan ,
… to get vaccinated.
James Emery White
Sarah McCammon, “’Love Your Neighbor’ and Get Vaccinated: White Evangelical Leaders Push COVID Vaccines,” NPR, April 5, 2021, read online.
Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham, “White Evangelical Resistance Obstacles to Vaccination Effort” The New York Times, April 6, 2021, to be read online.
Miles Parks, “Few Facts, Millions of Clicks: Fearmongering Vaccine Stories Go Viral Online,” NPR, March 25, 2021, read online.
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and principal pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the assistant professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book After “I believe” is now available on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller. To take advantage of a free Church & Culture blog subscription, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can browse past blogs in our archives and read the latest news on church and culture from around the world. Follow Dr White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @JamesEmeryWhite.