As White Evangelical Vaccine Refusal Reminds Us, Sometimes Religion is the Problem

When reality contradicts the truths that define group membership, the evangelical community circles the wagons and puts the power and influence of its tight institutional network behind the assertion that, in fact, the emperor is wearing clothes, and anyone who says otherwise is a dirty godless liberal intent on persecuting Christians.

How do I justify such a frank, unflattering assertion? Well, I’m not only well-versed in the relevant data and literature, but I grew up in evangelical authoritarianism myself, with a Christian school education and participation in short-term youth mission trips. I have evangelical vaccine refusers among my close relatives, and I’ve now been writing commentary, journalism, and policy research on the Christian Right beat for six years. And I’m done with sugarcoating my assessment of what’s wrong with right-wing Christians, as I’m convinced that such coddling of Christian nationalists is a luxury that Americans can no longer afford if we hope to avert an even greater public health disaster and to have a democratic future. –Chrissy Stroop, Religion Dispatches