According to the most recent polls by the NORG Center for Public Affairs Research, “40% of white evangelical Protestants said they likely won’t get vaccinated, compared with 25% of all Americans, 28% of white mainline Protestants and 27% of nonwhite Protestants.”
“The findings have aroused concern even within evangelical circles. The National Association of Evangelicals, which represents more than 45,000 local churches, is part of a new coalition that will host events, work with media outlets and distribute various public messages to build trust among wary evangelicals,” according to The Associated Press in an early report in April.
CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday spoke with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg arguing that the COVID-19 vaccine may be “part of God’s plan.”
“A recent poll showed that almost three in 10 white evangelical Christians said that they will definitely not get vaccinated,” Jake Tapper responded. “That’s the second-highest group in the country refusing to get vaccinated behind Republicans.”
“You’ve been outspoken on issues of your personal faith, otherwise I wouldn’t normally bring this up,” Tapper went on. “Why do you think it is that so many of your fellow white evangelical Christians are reluctant to be vaccinated and what’s your message to them?”
“You know, sometimes I’ve heard people I care about saying, you know, ‘If I’m faithful, God’s going to take care of me,’” Buttigieg responded. “And I guess what I would hope that they might consider is that maybe a vaccine is part of God’s plan for how you’re going to take care of yourself.”
Buttigieg went on to state that his opinion on the vaccines would be unlikely to persuade the “White Evangelical Christians” to receive a vaccination while arguing that pastors should be encouraging their churches instead.
Pete Buttigieg tells evangelical Christians that “a vaccine is part of God’s plan.” pic.twitter.com/3Sx3KsLr4R
— Ian Haworth (@ighaworth) April 12, 2021
“In the end, I have to admit that it’s unlikely that an official like me is going to be persuasive to somebody who maybe doesn’t feel like Washington has been speaking to them for a long time,” Buttigieg admitted. “But this is where faith leaders can make such a difference. Pastors, I mean the very word ‘pastor,’ the idea of pastoral care is about supporting those who look to you for guidance.”
“So I hope anybody who is looking after a community of people, including a faith community, will consider ways to help guide them toward steps that can protect them and protect those around them,” Buttigieg concluded.
Buttigieg has made remarks about using religion as a political platform often accusing the Republican Party of cloaking itself “in the language of religion.”
“The Republican Party likes to cloak itself in the language of religion. We should call hypocrisy, and for a party that associates with Christianity to say it is OK to suggest that God would smile on the division of families at the hands of federal agents, that God would condone putting children in cages has lost all claim to ever use religion language again,” Buttigieg stated back in June 2019.