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The ugly truth about evangelicals


The Kaiser Family Foundation took a poll of Americans about getting the COVID shot. The lowest percentage of those who said they would never, ever get vaccinated was Democrats (less than 2%) and Americans over 65 (8%). The highest percentage? Rural residents (24%), Republicans (23%) and white evangelical Christians (22%). Never in a thousand years, they insisted, would they get inoculated…and these three categories are, of course, actually a single category: white evangelicals who live in rural areas and consistently vote Republican.

They tend to believe what their preachers say more than what science and the news say (unless the “news” is from Fox), which is why President Biden has been leaning so heavily on “local ministers and preachers” to convince “MAGA folks…to get that vaccine.” Sadly, that well-meaning tactic isn’t working. “If I put forth effort to push [the vaccine], I’d be wasting my breath,” Nathan White, a pastor at the late Jerry Falwell’s church, Liberty Baptist, told Politico.

So indoctrinated have White’s rural parishioners become by decades of evangelical propaganda that they no longer have the capacity to think straight. These are the people who believe the Rapture is at hand. In many cases, Rev. White’s churchgoers are the same ones who sat in the same pews when Falwell told them, “Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions.”

This is the same Falwell who told them Sept. 11 was caused by “the abortionists, feminists and gays.” The credulous evangelicals who listened to him believed every word of it, not because they didn’t possess God-given brains, but because they chose not to use those brains. They chose to be good Christians and “ask no questions.”

A few evangelical leaders have had the courage to stand up to their colleagues and urge churchgoers to get inoculated. Two of them, Curtis Chang and Kris Carter, recently published an op-ed in the New York Times in which they blamed “conspiracy movements such as QAnon and antivaccine campaigns” for stirring up “outright fear and hostility” toward science. Chang and Carter referred to the widespread evangelical belief that “the vaccines contain a microchip or that they are ‘the mark of the beast.” They begged “local churches and individual Christians [to] take the lead in convincing fellow evangelicals to get vaccinated.”

But their words are falling on deaf ears.

There’s one word that hasn’t yet arisen in this conversation: Trump. The same white, rural evangelical Republicans who won’t get a COVID shot because it’s the mark of the beast are the ones who voted for Trump. They continue to love and support him, even though his entire life stands in violent contradiction to the Christian values and morals they profess to cherish. Frankly, it’s no use preaching facts or science to them. It’s pointless to argue with them. They’re a lost cause. Certainly, many of them are about to succumb to COVID and its variants, but even when they’re sick and in hospital, on ventilators, they will clutch their Bibles and look forward to seeing Jesus in Heaven, and bless Him for killing them; and they will never accept that their deaths are, in reality, suicides.

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