This caught my eye:
Biden administration and state officials hoped that pastors would play an outsized role in promoting Covid-19 vaccines, but many are wary of alienating their congregants and are declining requests to be more outspoken.
The key word that is missing from the lede is in the headline: “Southern.”
POLITICO spoke with nearly a dozen pastors, many of whom observed that vaccination is too divisive to broach, especially following a year of contentious conversations over race, pandemic limits on in-person worship and mask requirements. Public health officials have hoped that more religious leaders can nudge their congregants to get Covid shots, particularly white evangelicals who are among the most resistant to vaccination.
Again, the missing key word is in the headline: “Southern.”
About 7 paragraphs later, they finally mention where this is and the demo that they are talking about: white people. In other words, Possum Hollar.
The pastors POLITICO spoke with are located across Virginia and Tennessee, mostly in predominantly white communities. Some in rural areas lead overwhelmingly conservative congregations while some in more suburban areas said their churches were more politically mixed. Each pastor had been vaccinated but not all were eager to discuss it with their congregations.
There is no shortage of cultural anthropology stories; our Failed Political Press ™ didn’t stop in November sending amateur Margaret Meads and Jane Goodalls to diners in square, fly-over states to find out what the Real Americans think. (“Look! There one eating something fried! Let’s investigate!”)
Polls have consistently shown that white evangelicals are among the groups most hardened against vaccination. The most recent, a June survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that 22 percent of white evangelicals said they would “definitely not” get the vaccine, a figure that’s barely budged since April. About 11 percent said they wanted to “wait and see” how the vaccines perform.
FIFY: These holdouts are white Republican evangelicals, bathed in the blood of Jeebus, which they believe will protect them from the Trump-Virus if they have enough faith.
“It’s heartbreaking that it’s come to this over something that is potentially lifesaving and yet has been so completely colored over by political views and conspiracies that it’s impossible to have a simple loving conversation with your flock,” [NIH Director Francis Collins, a devout Christian] said in an interview. “That is a sad diagnosis of the illness that afflicts our country, and I’m not talking about Covid-19. I’m talking about polarization, tribalism even within what should be the loving community of a Christian church.”
There is very little that is more tribal than white evangelicals; it is the core of their being, and if you doubt me just think about the role that The Rapture plays in their hearts and minds: they are saved, everyone else is damned, and I defy you to find one of ’em who loves outsiders.
For balance, Politico also talks to some Black Church Leaders who are having similar problems, but oddly Politico doesn’t give us any context as to why Black congregants might be wary of vaccinations. It is as if Politico never heard about the cruel and racist experiments that Black Americans suffered at the hands of white Americans.