White evangelical resistance hinders vaccination effort

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But a public education campaign alone may not be enough.

There has been a “profound shift” over the past century in the way evangelical Christians view science, a shift largely rooted in debates over the evolution and secularization of the academy, said Elaine Ecklund , professor of sociology and director of the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University.

There are two parts to the problem, she said: the scientific community has not been so friendly to evangelicals, and the religious community has not encouraged followers to pursue scientific careers.

Distrust of scientists is now part of cultural identity, of what it means to be white and evangelical in America, she said.

For slightly different reasons, mistrust is sometimes shared by Asian, Hispanic and Black Christians, who doubt that hospitals and medical professionals are responsive to their concerns, Dr Ecklund said.

“We see some of the implications of inequalities in science,” she said. “It’s a huge warning that we don’t have a more diverse, religiously and racially diverse scientific workforce. “

Among evangelicals, Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians may be particularly wary of the vaccine, in part because their tradition historically emphasizes divine health and miraculous healing in a way that can rival traditional medicine, Erica said. Ramirez, Pentecostalist and Applied Research Director at Auburn. Seminar. Charismatic churches also attract significant shares of black and Hispanic Christians.

Dr Ramirez compares modern Pentecostalism to Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, with the brand’s emphasis on “wellness” and “energy” that infuriates some scientists: “It’s extra-medical,” a- she declared. “It’s not anti-medical, but it decentralizes medicine.”

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