Video: Prophet of vaccine disinformation? Here’s how one anti-vaccine evangelical pastor spreads his message of fear

Tony Spell. Credit: Paul Braun/WRKF
Tony Spell. Credit: Paul Braun/WRKF

As more and more Americans are getting vaccinated, resistance remains strong within one group in particular — white evangelicals. Many report this hesitancy is driven by distrust in government, misinformation, and political identity.

Pentecostal Pastor Tony Spell has made a national name for himself protesting COVID-19 [vaccines].

“The line is in this vaccine. Number one, the virus has been a scam from the beginning,” said Pastor Spell. “It’s always been politically-motivated for mail-in ballots and voter ID. That’s what has got a new administration in the White House today.”

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Public health experts have said around 70% of the population needs to get the vaccine to reach herd immunity, and 28% percent of white evangelical Christians say they definitely won’t get it, with another 6% saying they will only get it if they are forced.

“There is a tendency within white Christian nationalism, to want to believe these kinds of conspiracies, because I think it reinforces this idea of an us versus them,” said Sam Perry, a sociologist who specializes in religion.

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Pastor Spell says his position on vaccines isn’t motivated by fame or politics, but faith alone.

“It’s not political at all,” he said. “I’m not a politician; I’m a prophet.”

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