A Pew Research Center poll came out in late March that surveyed white American evangelicals. According to the survey most white Evangelical Christians think COVID-19 is not a serious health situation and that it is overblown. This information helps remind me why I have pushed back from evangelicalism
International Health Regulations Review Committee (2011)
I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:8-9 NIV
New York Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
This blog has written about and seen many of the problems within evangelicalism. Its a smorgasbord of issues. From hyper-authoritarianism, control, and tyranny by some Neo-Calvinsts to hyper-partisanship, culture wars, and Christian nationalism in mainstream and regular evangelical Arminian theology. I see a lot of stuff that leaves me disgusted and wanting to shake my head. The other day I saw something that took my breath away and I once again came to the conclusion and asked…why does Evangelical Christianity exist in the United States?
Pew Survey States that a Majority of Evangelicals Think that COVID-19 is Not a Serious Health Threat
The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan American think tank based here in the Washington, D.C. area. It does polling, research into American social issues, politics, public opinion and demographic trends, If you read any newspaper or watch regular news you see their material, as it is used regularly. In early March of 2020 Pew did a survey of white evangelicals from March 10 through 16. In the United States COVID-19 was declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020. Here is what Pew says.
Around three-quarters of white evangelicals (77%) say they are at least somewhat confident that Trump is doing a good job responding to the outbreak, including roughly half who say they are very confident. Majorities of white evangelicals say Trump has assessed the risks of the situation correctly (64%) and that the crisis has been blown out of proportion by the media (76%), while just a quarter (24%) say Trump hasn’t taken risks tied to the coronavirus seriously enough. By comparison, about half of Americans overall (52%) say Trump has underplayed the risks, including majorities who say this among the religiously unaffiliated (64%), black Protestants (67%) and Jews (73%).
If you want to read more you can do so in the following articles. “Most white evangelicals satisfied with Trump’s initial response to the COVID-19 outbreak” and “Pew: Most white evangelicals don’t think COVID-19 poses a major threat to Americans’ health.”
How Did We Get Here? Hostility to Science? Christian Nationalism? Just Classic Ignorance?
Yesterday I had a text exchange with someone who lived in the New York City area. Despite what was happening he was convinced that COVID-19 was just the flu. And that it was not that bad. I dropped the conversation instead of pursuing it because I saw it not going anywhere. But how did we get like this? Were evangelicals this ignorant during the measles or polio epidemics earlier in the 20th century? I read that Pew survey and remain baffled and troubled. How did we get here? Is it due to the fact that evangelicals are hostile to science and have long rejected it? Is it due to the hostility to intellectualism and learning? I thought education was important after all how many Baptists or evangelical schools do we have? Honestly its quite a few. Did we get to this point because many evangelicals have merged their faith and politics? The two are inseparable and come together? Is that how this comes about? Or does the embrace of white evangelicals of Christian nationalism help bring this about. Your political and theological savior has called COVID-19 a Democrat hoax and he is being encouraged on by Fox. Thus, if you’re a white evangelical you go with the flow. We know that whatever is stated on Fox News takes precedent and is more important than the Bible. To hell with the least of these, your neighbor, and showing the love of Christ and more. Is that how we got here?
Evangelical Christianity Needs to Disappear. It Serves No Viable Purpose
As I was working on this post tonight word started to break out on Twitter that COVID-19 is popping up at Liberty University. Close to 1,000 students some from high infection areas were encouraged to come back to campus in central Virginia. That is the topic for tomorrow’s blog. But I wrote about my fears with this topic in, “Jerry Falwell Jr is Keeping Liberty University Open as Local Officials and Marybeth Davis Baggett Plead Otherwise. Remember if its Christian It Must Be Better. That Applies to the Bodybags Liberty Will Use During a Pandemic.”
I have communicated that I don’t believe evangelicalism can be reformed and that as a movement it is fatally flawed. Its part of the reason why I have pushed back from it and mostly become a theological nothing. There are many problems and the problems keep growing as time passes by. Here we are in the start of a pandemic and white evangelicals are dismissing this pandemic. Likewise I have seen some of this behavior from some in the EFCA community and also the ex-Harvest Bible Chapel and Acts 29 community. A blatant disregard to face the facts. Pandemics happen and history is full of them. Here in the United States we have pandemics every so often. Influenza, small-pox, measles, scarlet fever, etc… have all happened in the history of the United States from colonial times to current. Why can’t evangelicals understand that?
As I look at the landscape of white evangelicalism I see nothing but carnage, pain, abuse, scandal and now an inability by many to take a pandemic seriously. Why is that? What happened to loving your neighbor and caring for them? Or for caring about your community and more? I can’t understand this at all. The only logical conclusion that I can come to is that evangelicalism serves no functioning or healthy purpose. Its time for it to die and to disappear into the history books. It can join movements like the Shakers. Those who think the movement will rebound or recover are really fooling themselves. The evidence is screaming us in the face. In a pandemic that can claim as many as 200,000 Americans the fact that white evangelicals are saying that its not that bad is horrific. My reaction is enough! Enough! It’s time for evangelicalism to disappear. When it leaves make sure it crawls away in shame with its head held low and goes back to the pit of hell that the movement crawled out of. That is all I have to say for this Pew survey.