Viewpoint — Conservative evangelicals and disinformation: Conspiracy theories spreading almost as fast as COVID in rightwing strongholds

Credit: CNN
Credit: CNN

White evangelical Christians make up about 41 million people, according to the Pew Research Center — and they are one of the most vaccine-hesitant populations in the United States. 45% say they definitely or probably will not get a COVID vaccine.

Some evangelical pastors, such as Rev. J.D. Greear president of the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest evangelical denomination, have publicly gotten the vaccine, many pastors are hesitant or hostile. After months of maligning the use of makes, vaccine denialism on the pulpit likely plays a major role in shaping Christian opinions.

Some pastors outright denied the existence of the pandemic, like Los Angeles megachurch pastor John MacArthur. Others, like televangelist Kenneth Copeland, acknowledge the danger COVID poses, but reject vaccines, claiming that the “holy spirit immunity” protects Christians from the virus. Others say they won’t get a shot but put their faith in ‘God’s hands’. Miami pastor Guillermo Maldonado has told his congregation “If we die, we die for Christ.”

In the video below, CNN reporter Brianna Keilar takes a look at how some pastors continue to spread misinformation about the pandemic and encourage their congregants to reject COVID vaccines.

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