This blog has chronicled vaccine resistance among white evangelical Christians, noting that it’s a serious impediment to overcoming the COVID pandemic. The statistics tell a sad story: As the Associated Press reported recently, 40% of white evangelical Protestants are flatly refusing to get vaccinated, compared with 25% of all Americans.
Part of the problem is that white evangelicals are cursed with poor leadership. While there are responsible pro-vaccine figures out there, such as Russell Moore, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, their voices tend to get drowned out by a noisy kook brigade fond of peddling conspiracy theories.
Consider Mat Staver, for example. Staver runs Liberty Counsel, a Christian nationalist legal group that used to focus on the typical mean-spirited and harmful political ideology that’s the cash cow of the Religious Right, such as attacking LGBTQ people, moaning about humanism in the public schools and eroding reproductive freedom.
Since the pandemic erupted, Staver has decided to go full-on anti-vax. He recently granted an interview to an evangelical ministry during which he said things that can charitably be described as nuts.
According to Staver, the vaccine is part of a fiendish plot to depopulate the world by causing infertility.
“What is involved in this is depopulation, population control to reduce the population of the planet, and to control everyone, and to do it by force and to have a tracking mechanism to determine whether or not you’ve had one of these particular injections,” Staver said. “COVID is being used as a mechanism for a bigger global agenda.” (Is Bill Gates is involved? You bet! Staver even managed to drag Adolf Hitler into it. Thanks to our friends at Right Wing Watch for the video.)
The claim COVID vaccines cause infertility has been debunked several times, as have the tinfoil-hat assertions that the shots contain tracking chips. Staver’s claim that it’s all a twisted scheme engineered by a shadowy cabal of elites to depopulate the world – with a current population of 7.6 billion people, that will be quite a task – is too ridiculous to merit a reply. That’s one step removed from QAnon.
The vaccines are designed to keep people from catching a potentially deadly sickness. Full stop. Responsible religious leaders know this and are urging their congregants to take the jab.
I wish evangelicals would listen to them instead of the outlandish conspiracy theories coming from Mat Staver.
Photo: Screenshot of Mat Staver