“I’ll just tell you today, if being an anti-mask and anti-vaccine is anti-government, then I’m proud to be anti-government,” Spell, who made a national name in protest of Covid’s rules, 19 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told the brothers of the Life Tabernacle Church.
He goes on to say falsely, “If you have a 99.6 percent survival rate, why do you want someone to contaminate your blood with something that may or may not hurt you?”
Some moods of vaccines against Covid among evangelicals are fueled by a mixture of distrust of government, ignorance of how vaccines work, misinformation and political identity, some experts say.
“They (the evangelicals) are the group most likely to say they won’t get the vaccine,” Samuel Perry, a sociology professor at the University of Oklahoma who specializes in religion, told CNN. “They show or express the greatest resistance to the vaccine from the outset.”
And they have maintained that position over and over again in surveys over the past six months, according to Perry.
Misinformation contributes to evangelical distrust of the vaccine
“In white Christian nationalism, they tend to want to believe this kind of conspiracy because I think it reinforces this idea for us against them,” Perry said. “The problem is that people who feed on this fear have an incentive to keep inflaming it because people keep clicking and people keep listening.”
News and information “silos” also play a role in vaccine fluctuations among evangelicals who listen to conservative media hosts who question the vaccines or directly condemn them, Perry said.
Some of the Life Tabernacle Church say they will not receive the vaccine
Although colored people are most at risk for Kovid, the pastor said he still discourages vaccines.
“I don’t know anyone in my church, black, brown, El Salvador and Honduran and Mexican, who had the virus,” he said. “I do not know anybody.”
Perry said that leaders like Spell “really took advantage of the idea that if I continued to sow this story where people feel victimized and afraid and angry, I could continue to build my audience, build my own trust in this group. people who say, “Yes, everyone else is unreliable except you.”
At the Tabernacle of Life Church, a handful of people CNN spoke to said they were not interested in the vaccine.
Jeff Jackson, a parishioner at Life Tabernacle Church, told CNN he thought the vaccines were “harmful to your health.”
Patricia Seal, also a parishioner at the Life Tabernacle Church, said that while she loved former President Donald Trump, “when he talked about a shot, I said you can get it, anything you want. I do not want it”.
Jacob McMorris, another parish priest at the Life Tabernacle Church, said he also did not want to be vaccinated.
“I feel and I know it works in medicine, but when you put something in yourself to help you stop getting it, it just doesn’t work for me,” he told CNN. “I never liked the idea of that.”
Only one person interviewed by CNN, Carrie Williams, said she had been vaccinated. “Yes, I got the vaccine,” he said, noting that he still had to go get his second one.
Health expert: 70% of the population needs to be vaccinated to help control the virus
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the number of Americans vaccinated and intending to be vaccinated continues to rise, while the number of people who say they want to “wait and see” is declining.
But for the White Evangelicals, the number that opposes receiving the Covid vaccine remains high, Perry said, and this could be a problem for some areas where they make up a much higher percentage of the population than nationwide.
“We will see consequences in these regions of the country,” Perry said. “And this will be felt by the vulnerable and the elderly.”
According to Pew, evangelicals make up about 25% of the US population. And some experts say 70 percent of the population needs to get the vaccine to help control Covid-19.