Battle around COVID vaccines, mask-wearing persists among US Christians as Beth Moore makes a plea
The popular American evangelist and Bible teacher Beth Moore begged Christians to stop politicizing the cornavirus when she posted some tweets saying they need to consider the lives of others before their own.
"If we are in Christ, it is unconscionable for us to in any way politicize this virus. What on earth are we doing??? Our sides are not more important than lives. We are Jesus' people called to serve sacrificially. For the love of God, we gotta love our neighbors. Even our enemies!" she tweeted.
"Stare in the face what some of you are saying: MY RIGHTS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR LIFE. SORRY, NOT SORRY. If you're not going to get vaccinated, for the love of God, PUT ON A MASK IN PUBLIC PLACES WITH VULNERABLE PEOPLE. Go ahead & unfollow me. I don't care. FOLLOW JESUS," she said.
Her tweets came at a time of rocketing hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the United States, which has registered more than 36 million cases and where more than 612,000 people have died from the disease, the highest known in the world.
As of Aug. 10, the average number of new daily cases over the preceding week was 118,067, up 86 percent from two weeks earlier in the United States.
Louisiana and Florida both have the highest concentration of daily new cases—and their highest daily rates of the entire pandemic—with 120 cases and 93 daily cases per 100,000 residents, respectively.
4.33 MILLION DEATHS WORLDWIDE
In the rest of the world the 200 millionth case of COVID-19 has been reported to the World Health Organization, just six months after the world passed 100 million reported cases with 4.33 million deaths worldwide and the WHO saying that the real numbers are much higher.
And while people in some parts of the United States are resisting taking vaccines to fight off COVID-19, in the poorer parts of the world people are crying out for them says the WHO.
Over 4 billion vaccines have been administered globally, but more than 80 percent have gone to high- and upper-middle income countries.
The twitter debate also came at a time when some private and government employers are talking about manding workers coming into the workplace to be vaccinated and other are calling for mask mandate.
Later Relevant Magazine quoted Moore saying: 'If You're Not Going to Get Vaccinated, for the Love of God, Put on a Mask'"
David Dickman commented on the magazine's Facebook page, "The one thing this Pandemic has done is shown that too many Evangelicals have proven to be more political than loving their neighbors!"
White evangelicals have been recorded as one group who offer strong resistance to being vaccinated with some of them arguing health regulations infringe on their personal liberties and they are seen as turning the fight against the disease as a political a battle.
"In white evangelical church congregations, the problem of vaccine hesitancy is real," US News and World Report said in a story on Aug. 10.
Moore's tweet received 2,000 re-tweets and more than 12,000 likes according to Christian headlines which said "Moore, though, wasn't finished."
Moore said, "For all our Jesus-talk, where on the ever-loving earth is our Jesus-walk? If you are not a Christian, I'm not talking to you. But if you are, Jesus wasn't playing when he called us to a whole different ethic from the world. We're not loud mouth boasters. We're servants. We SERVE."
Pastor Greg Locke, who is accused of fomenting conspiracy theories, has conflated authorities calling for people to wear masks to help in stopping the spread of the disease with communism, the ideology of North Korea, blasted back at Moore via twitter.
"@BethMooreLPM – 'You are pathetic. A mouth piece for virtue signaling to an ungodly culture is what you've become. You lecture Believers and stand with Communists. Sit down!!!'"
'FOOLISHNESS DISGUISED AS FAITH'
Another person tweeted in the same thread, "Please don't say 'I have Jesus,' so I don't need to be vaccinated. That is foolishness disguised as faith. You can 'have Jesus' and still lock your car, wear a seatbelt, or get vaccinated."
Another tweeted, "I'll leave the vaccination decision to you, but please stop misusing Jesus's Name."
About 14 percent of American adults say they won't get vaccinated under any circumstances as of June, while the number is a much higher 22 percent among white evangelical Christians, according to a rigorous ongoing survey by KFF, the policy arm of the Kaiser Family Foundation, US News and World Report said on Aug. 10.
The newspaper reported cited Monique Deal Barlow, a research and doctoral candidate at Georgia State University saying anti-vaccination attitudes have long been prevalent in America's white evangelical community.
That anti-vax position, Deal Barlow says, has been incorporated into a conspiratorial, anti-science political view she describes as Christian nationalism.
Deal Barlow ways some evangelicals have found biblical justifications for their opposition to vaccination,
But much of it, she says, stems from a "suspicion of science and the global elite" fed by misinformation and conspiracy theories stoked by right-wing, white supremacist political figures.
"The ways we approach science and the ways we communicate it in our churches has become such a political issue," she says. "I haven't seen anything so divisive."
The article also quotes Adam Klekowski, executive pastor at Flood Church in San Diego, who sees vaccines as good for combatting the novel coronavirus and says , "something that shouldn't be political has turned into something that's political."
Misinformation about vaccination is a challenge, Klekowski said. But he sees the politicization of the vaccine as a bigger problem. A medical decision that might otherwise be driven by science has transformed into a question of personal freedom.
"You can have the scientific conversation, but that's not really what they're talking about," he says. "They're taking it to a different place."
"COVID doesn't care if you are a Republican or a Democrat," Kriten Soltis Kristen Anderson, a U.S. Republican pollster said on Meet the Press on Aug. 15 to illustrate that the pandemic does not choose its victirms by any political belief.
At hospitals, mandatory deadlines for staffers to get coronavirus shots have started, The Washingon Post reported Aug. 14.
The Post's story was headlined, "'I feel defeated': Mask and vaccine mandate caues new divides as officials try to head off virus surge.
Big corporations such as United Airlines and Google, are telling workers to roll up their sleeves. The Post reported even unions that once balked at vaccine mandates are signaling support.
And it's not just shots: In dozens of cities and counties, indoor mask mandates are back, with city leaders and public health officials arguing the requirements are necessary to save lives and preserve the economic recovery. In some corners of the nation, the government mandates extend to vaccination.
Miltants against regulations to fight the virus such as Georgia Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has accused those of mandating vaccines of being "brown shirts."
The Hill reported on Aug. 15, "Greene probably knows that no brown shirt or anyone else has ordered a single American to take a COVID-19 vaccine shot, but she and others who insist that mandates violate individual rights guaranteed to all Americans apparently do not know that the U.S. Constitution gives government officials and private employers considerable authority to protect the public against the spread of communicable diseases."
The online newspaper said that Under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 (the Commerce Clause), Congress has the power to prevent foreigners from bringing diseases to the United States.
"And the Public Health Service Act allows the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to "prevent the introduction, spread, transmission or spread of communicable diseases" from one state into another state."
The Hill reported that for 200 years, U.S. courts have agrred that Article 10 of the Constitution gives state governments primary authority to secure th health and safey of their inhabitants, by, for example, requiring quarantines, issuing shelter-in-place orders, and curfews during emergencies.
"For this reason, the federal government has tended to limit its role in the pandemic to facilitating, monitoring, and promoting the manufacture and distribution of vaccines and ensuring they are effective and safe."