Vaccine skepticism runs deep among white evangelicals in US

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IslamNews – Millions of white evangelical adults in the U.S. do not intend to get vaccinated against Covid-19, presenting a significant obstacle as the country races to reach herd immunity.

Their opposition is rooted in a mix of religious faith and a wariness of mainstream science, fueled by broader cultural distrust of institutions and gravitation to online conspiracy theories. Some have been energized by what they see as a battle between faith and fear, and freedom versus persecution.

While many high-profile conservative pastors have endorsed the vaccines, other influential evangelical voices have sown fears. In churches, on talk shows and on TikTok, they warn the devout that “globalist entities” will “use bayonets and prisons to force a needle into your arm,” or that the vaccines are “an experimental biological agent.”

Some pastors have largely remained quiet, in part because politics has increasingly shaped faith among white evangelicals. Hesitation is further complicated by longstanding distrust between evangelicals and the scientific community.

Elaine Ecklund, director of the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University, said that there has been a “sea change” over the past century in how evangelical Christians see science, rooted largely in the debates over evolution and the secularization of the academy.

For slightly different reasons, the distrust of vaccines is sometimes shared by Asian, Hispanic and Black Christians, who are skeptical that hospitals and medical professionals will be sensitive to their concerns, Dr. Ecklund said.

“We are seeing some of the implications of the inequalities in science,” she said. “This is an enormous warning of the fact that we do not have a more diverse scientific work force, religiously and racially.”

Source: The New York Times

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