As the nation works on vaccination trying to reach herd immunity medical officials are hitting evangelical resistance in the red, rural areas of the United States. This blog has observed that the EFCA under the leadership of Kevin Kompelien and Greg Strand have been allegedly silent on vaccination. They have not encouraged it or even been role models in vaccination. It amounts to a disappointment and ultimately a moral failure of the EFCA to love their neighbor by not encouraging COVID-9 vaccination. If we don’t reach herd immunity can organizations or denominations like the EFCA be part of the reason why? Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself, the question must be asked does the EFCA love their neighbor? The EFCA could have sway in rural areas and instead it chooses to be indifferent. After all in addition to Dolly Parton releasing images of herself getting vaccinated what if Greg Strand did that in a blog post or Kevin Kompelien did that in a video?
“Everyone in society should be a role model, not only for their own self-respect, but for respect from others.“
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
Luke 10:27 NIV
Before doing this post I poked around on the EFCA and I invite correction if I am wrong. But this blog realized something that gave me pause. During the past holiday season this blog did a post on the positive influence and impact the EFCA can have in many communities and how they could assert themselves in a healthy way during vaccination. That post can be read in, “In a Key Moment in American History Here is How the EFCA Should Roll Out the COVID-19 Vaccine in a Safe, Effective Way for the Denomination.”
Evangelicals in Rural Areas are Rejecting the COVID Vaccine Raising the Possibility to the Perpetual Pandemic
There have been a growing amount of warnings in the last couple of months. Back in December of 2020 BioLogos released a statement calling on evangelicals to accept the science being used to combat the pandemic. The statement said that you can be an evangelical and believe in science simultaneously. The statement encouraged evangelicals to trust science, follow doctors, wear masks, get vaccinated and correct misinformation. You can read that statement here. As I looked it over I didn’t see any leaders of the EFCA on there whop signed. I did a search for both Kevin Kompelien and Greg Strand and came up empty.
In Pew’s latest survey conducted in mid-February, 45 percent of white evangelicals said they definitely or probably would not get vaccinated. That accounts for 17% of the United States population. Meanwhile there have been a number of newspaper articles in the past few months that have mentioned or discussed how evangelicals are rejecting the COVID-19 vaccine. These are some of the reasons:
- The COVID-19 pandemic is a myth and its not going on or occurring.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci created the pandemic.
- Bill Gates is behind the pandemic and planted microchips to track people.
- Since 81% of evangelicals support Donald Trump many evangelicals also accept his disinformation. Cornell University did a study that found that Trump was the single greatest influencer when it came to disinformation.
- Some evangelicals are rejecting the vaccine for theological reasons, for example some believe the vaccine is the mark of the beast in Revelation.
- Disinformation on aborted fetal tissue.
- Rejection of science going back to Scopes Monkey Trial in Dayton. Tennessee in 1925.
- A culture that attacks science and discourages people from going into careers in science.
- Continued belief that hydroxychloroquine and other drugs could cure the disease, which is false.
- Some people still believing that COVID-19 is just the flu.
- Inability of evangelicals to identify false information online, even in the middle of the pandemic Mark Noll’s theory on the scandal of the evangelical mind is yet again confirmed.
- A faith that is not shaped by God of the Bible, but of politics and the culture wars. Christians are not influencing the culture. They are being influenced by politics and becoming more toxic.
Early in April Elisabeth Dias and Ruth Graham of the New York Times published an article about white evangelicals rejecting the COVID-19 vaccine. The Times article raised the possibility that herd immunity might not be reached. The other day The Boston Globe yesterday published a troubling story of a Baptist pastor’s efforts to get people vaccinated and how he is running into walls in rural areas of North Carolina. Evangelicals are rejecting vaccination. In the article it mentioned that in rural areas the herd immunity of about 85% may not be reached. As a result the perpetual gift to the country by evangelicals and those who claim to love Jesus is an ongoing pandemic that doesn’t die and carries on. That is how evangelicals like to love their neighbor, just as Jesus commanded.
When Dolly Parton Takes the Vaccine to be a Role Model…
Recently on Twitter Dolly Parton has taken to social media to encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Parton has used her influence in a positive way to get people to take the vaccine and trust it. She has released pictures of herself taking the COVID-19 shot. Take a look at the pictures and watch the video below.
But Not Greg Strand and Kevin Kompelien and the EFCA Leadership. Does the EFCA Believe Jesus’s Teachings to Love Your Neighbor?
Early in the pandemic the EFCA responded well to the medical crisis. In the view of this blog Kevin Kompelien’s behavior calling on people to pray and respond was noticed. This blog even wrote about it and it can be read in, “During the COVID-19 Outbreak President Kevin Kompelien is Calling on the EFCA to Pray for Those Afflicted by the Disease.” Since that happened science in a miracle of modern medicine invented the COVID-19 vaccine. There have been some reporting in scientific channels saying that the medical breakthrough could possibly lead to a vaccine for HIV and cancer. And yet Greg Strand and Kevin Kompelien and the EFCA leadership have been silent on encouraging people to take the vaccine. Before doing this post I studied EFCA’s social media on Facebook and checked the national EFCA blog. Then in addition I reached out and asked a few people across the United States if the EFCA has encouraged pastors or districts to get vaccinated. The response I received from a number of people is no. There has been no encouragement or theological articles to encourage people to get vaccinated. No effort to ask people to talk to their physician and make that call to get vaccinated. No blog post by Greg Strand with a picture showing him getting vaccinated. No video of Kevin Kompelien taking the shot and encouraging others to love Jesus and their neighbor and get vaccinated. As of now in the view of this blog Dolly Parton’s faith is stronger, more robust and actually shows her love for God. Does Greg Strand, Kevin Kompelien love their neighbor and actually believe what Jesus has taught? I would love to be told that I am wrong. But right now this seems to be a case of evangelical hypocrisy and indifference. We’re in the worst medical crisis since the 1918 Spanish flu and the result by the leadership of the EFCA to that is to shrug their shoulder and say “Oh well….” What this amounts to is a moral failure by Greg Strand and Kevin Kempelien. Or let me ask this question…amidst so much need in the country in a medical crisis that can be solved, is Kevin Kompelien and Greg Strand acting like the Jewish priest in the story of the Good Samaritan, more focused on getting to the temple (or in this case have that theology conference or EFCA event) and leaving their neighbor alongside the road? We were able to reach herd immunity with polio in the 1950’s and that disease was controlled by James Salk’s research and vaccine invention. The EFCA has a lot of sway in red, rural areas and a campaign and encouragement to get the COVID-19 vaccine could be a testimony of their faith in God. But as it stands right now their indifference is an advocate for atheism and non belief. This blog is going to write 17 open letters to each district superintendent or leader (Your district leadership structures vary as you know) and push this issue.