Vax Shame: Why are so many Christians refusing to get vaccinated?

Many are getting vaccinated in secret because of the shame associated with it in their circles.

The Covid-19 vaccine has become so polarizing that some people in Missouri are getting inoculated in secret for fear of backlash from their friends and family who oppose vaccination, a doctor told CNN on Wednesday.

I've personally heard of this happening, so I don't believe it's obscure and I don't believe it's limited to Missouri. 

Vax shame is alive and well throughout our nation and it is attached both to vaxers and anti-vaxers. This is an equal opportunity offense that is creating some of the most ridiculous and foolish division our nation has ever seen.

Controversial NBA legend Charles Barkley chimed in on the vaccine debate by saying, ““Yes, I’m vaccinated. Everybody should be vaccinated. Period,” Barkley said. “The only people who are not vaccinated are just [expletive].”

The shame is as intense for those who get the shot as for those who do not. No wonder people are going incognito through secret entrances during off-hours at their local doctor's office to get the vaccine.

CHRISTIANS MAY BE AMONG THE WORST OFFENDERS

It seems love, honor and civility have long been abandoned in this era of plagues and politics. The ability to share strong opinions while valuing other's positions seems to be rare today.

While I have an opinion on the matter (though I admit there are unknowns, I believe COVID could be neutralized in a matter of weeks if one hundred percent of Americans were vaccinated), my primary focus right now is the shame that is rampant among Believers.

Earlier today I posted the following to Facebook:

I just heard about two hospitals reporting 34 deaths from covid since Friday. 14% of people hospitalized are dying and 40% in the ICU are dying. Almost all are unvaccinated. Whether you are pro or anti-vax, this has to make you think.
 
 
This resulted in the firestorm that you might expect.

More than one has argued that getting vaccinated is sorcery. When asked if they personally refuse all medicine or if they would counsel cancer patients to refuse medical treatment, they didn't have an answer. 

Others have questioned people's faith in God if they use medicine. Many are fully rejecting the statistics of those who have died or been hospitalized because of the virus. They are firmly suggesting it's all a hoax.

I've been called a liar for sharing the reasons for my position. I've been chastised for spreading fear. My faith has been called into question. 

When I wasn't being personally shamed, I was entertaining common but bizarre conspiracy theories about the virus being a tool of manipulation, the injection equating to the Mark of the Beast and the vaccine killing more people than the disease.

Christians especially are turning to rogue news sources, doctors and others in their echo chamber that will report exactly what they want to hear. The tin hat crowd has gone mainstream.

Firsthand medical worker accounts like the following from Branson Tri Lakes News are rejected as fake:

“We’re the ones who see that look of fear in their eyes as they’re trying to breathe and know they’re going to have to go on a ventilator. They’re struggling with the bi-pap and they look at us so helpless and scared and desperate. It is like a prison for all of us, I think.”

The latest data about hospitalizations is being denounced by the religious right as propaganda.  

Dr. Frank Courmier, a pulmonary critical care physician at Our Lady of Lourdes, tells KATC 99 percent of the new cases at the hospital come from people who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Malcolm and Kris Ehresmann, the director of infectious disease prevention for the Minnesota Department of Health, say more than 99 percent of new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are people who are not vaccinated.

In Texas99.5% of people who died from COVID from February through July 14 weren't vaccinated, per the Texas Tribune's reporting on preliminary data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

In southern Missouri, an area that leads the nation as a delta variant hot spot, “almost every COVID-19 patient in Springfield's hospitals is unvaccinated,” the Atlantic reported.

“Over 99% of the COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths we are seeing (in LA County) are among unvaccinated individuals,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Monday.

Apparently this is all propaganda and we should shame all who believe it.

WEAR A MASK, GET EXCOMMUNICATED

The shame doesn't end with the vaccine. Masks are back in the news and one pastor seems to be capitalizing on that fact. 

MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) — The pastor of a Mt. Juliet church has threatened to kick out members of his congregation if they show up in masks amid a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the delta variant.

During service on Sunday at Global Vision Bible Church, Pastor Greg Locke told the crowd, “Don’t believe this delta variant nonsense. Stop it! Stop it!”

Locke said, “If they go through round two and you start showing up all these masks and all this nonsense, I’ll ask you to leave. I will ask you to leave. I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church. If you want to social distance, go to First Baptist Church, but don’t come to this one.”

This is not Christianity. This is not pastoral leadership. This is madness. 

I fully support people's right to make their health decisions without coercion. While I believe we must be free to evangelize our values in an honoring, healthy manner, I reject the idea that any of us should be forced to get (or not get) the vaccine. To shame people who want to wear a mask to church is insane. 

It's not that I don't understand the passion to rise up against any sort of propaganda, inappropriate government control or false narratives. It's that too many have done so in rebellious, arrogant fashion that brings shame to the name of Christ.

THE OTHER SIDE IS NO BETTER

While my primary viewpoint is Christian society, it's important to note that the aggression from the other side is just as strong. The shame vomited all over those who choose not to get vaccinated is despicable. 

We need to be able to share strong opinions without shaming.  Oh, and we should also be allowed to wear a mask at church and, if we so choose, go to our doctors without donning a fake mustache and glasses.

Photo credit: ““Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” Margaret Atwood” by katerha is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Originally published by Charisma Media.

Blaming, Shaming and Avoiding: How Christians are Mishandling the Current Political Crisis

Trump Biden

Love and honor have been abandoned by too many in this volatile political season.

It’s been said the two topics we should avoid around the family reunion dinner table are politics and religion. Of course, I disagree, but the point is well taken.

It’s nothing new that people tend to be more passionate about their political and spiritual positions than they are about guarding the hearts of the people they are debating with. Sadly this reality has reared it’s extremely ugly head again and again over the last year.

HAVE WE FORGOTTEN THE THREE PRIMARY REASONS WE ARE ALIVE?

I’ll give you a hint. It’s not to debate politics and it’s not to save America.

“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37–39, ESV)

One: Love God.

Two: Love people.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”” (John 13:35, ESV)

Yes, there are many expressions of love including both tough and tender, but we need to understand that blaming and shaming our enemies are excluded. Anger expressed toward the liberal left will never win them to Jesus, which, by the way, is the third primary reason we are alive.

“As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5, ESV)

WE ALSO CAN’T AVOID POLITICS

Preachers avoiding politics from behind the pulpit and keyboard is like a police officer refusing to confront crime. It makes no sense. The police are authorized to make arrests and Christians are authorized to tear down strongholds.

We as Christians have been granted a level of spiritual authority that few will ever grasp. When culture is steeped in wickedness, we have no option but to expose the darkness.

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11, ESV)

Unrighteous laws, widespread corruption, the darkness of immorality and national evils must be dealt with, and Christians are those who are most authorized to do so.

Silence by passive preachers is a violation just as a fleshly, carnal response is. There’s a way to move in love and honor while bringing dangerous political and cultural agendas to light. To stay silent, for example, on the issue of abortion would be inexcusable. To spew venom toward those who affirm or even administer abortion would be equally inappropriate for followers of Jesus.

THE GREATER SIN

While avoiding the spiritual clash in today’s deeply wicked society is unfathomable, my opinion is that the greater sin is a wicked reaction guised in high-minded righteousness by Believers in Jesus.

We must be aggressive with issues and tender towards people.

My heart is broken over the lack of revival in Hollywood, Nashville and Washington D.C. I think about people like Nancy Pelosi, Jim Carrey, Ellen Degeneres,Taylor Swift, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Alyssa Milano and hundreds of other influencers who are attacked non-stop by Christians because of their political positions.

Will they feel love by our mean-spirited assaults of righteous indignation? No.

I may write a separate article on this issue as it’s just wrecking my heart, but suffice it to say that I’m deeply grieved that so few celebrities and national leaders are falling in love with Jesus. Church, we are not handling their hearts well. Demonizing them will not win them.

OUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER

Rude, snarky and unloving behavior among Christians thrives on social media.

The moment a Christian is condescending and divisive on a Facebook thread is the moment their credibility is shot. While I understand we are living in a different era, there’s a part of me that yearns for yesteryear when yes sir’s and yes ma’am’s were indicative of respect in our culture.

Today it’s normal for followers of Jesus to attack, shame and ridicule anybody who disagrees with their viewpoints, especially when it comes to politics and religion. Many are unteachable, stone-hearted, immovable and more in love with their ideals then the people they are dialoguing with.

At the end of the day, I don’t care who the President is if we can’t discuss and debate with love and honor.

THE BLAME GAME IS STRONG THIS YEAR

Possibly the best litmus test for spiritual health and maturity when it comes to politics and culture is blame. If we lash out and blame and accuse and attack others who believe differently than we do, we are not in a good place.

The moment we blame is the moment we create unnecessary division. We need to stop blaming President Biden, President Trump, teachers, parents and others who, in our opinion, are opposing our personal agendas or beliefs, no matter how righteous those beliefs are.

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44, ESV)

Don’t blame. Love. Pray. Don’t be an angry, complaining victim. Go low. Humble yourself. Serve. Contend for the souls of those who are making your life difficult. Again, be ruthless on issues, loving toward people.

There’s a better way, friends. Being mean-spirited isn’t it. Blaming doesn’t help. Shaming is simply cruel. People are more valuable then positions and agendas. Our enemies should be blessed and prayed for more than our friends.

The lyrics of a quirky and boldly honest bluegrass gospel song by Rhonda Vincent seem to fit here:

Oh you don't love God
If you don't love your neighbor
If you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
If he gets into trouble, and you don't try to help him
Then you don't love your neighbor
And you don't love God

One more time, deal strongly with issues and go out of your way to make sure people feel the love of Jesus. As we do this, we can most certainly hate evil, love good and establish justice in our nation.

“Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate…” (Amos 5:15, ESV)

You can submit a text or 60-second audio prayer for celebrities and influencers at www.prayerteam.tv.

Photo credit: “Trump and Biden” by uwwvmzjh8 is marked with CC PDM 1.0

Originally published by The Stream.