Pete Buttigieg To Reluctant Evangelicals: 'Maybe A Vaccine Is Part Of God's Plan'
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Sunday encouraged evangelical Christians who are reluctant to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to believe the gunfire may be a "part of God's plan".
State of the Union host Jake Tapper asked Bishop Buttigieg about the bulk of white evangelicals who said they were not getting a COVID-19 vaccine. About 40% of white evangelical Protestants said they were unlikely to be vaccinated, according to a survey conducted last month, compared to about 25% of all Americans, 28% of white Protestants, and 27% of non-white Protestants.
"I've heard people who care about me say, 'If I'm faithful, God will take care of me," said Buttigieg. "And I think what I would hope they might consider is that maybe a vaccine is part of God's plan for how you will take care of yourself. "
Buttigieg admitted during the CNN exchange that his opinion on the matter may not affect many white evangelicals and urged faith leaders to campaign for vaccines.
"In the end, I have to admit that an official like me is unlikely to convince someone who may not feel that Washington has spoken to him for a long time," said Buttigieg.
"The idea of pastoral care is about helping those who ask for advice," he added. "So I hope that anyone who cares for a community of people, including a religious community, will consider ways to guide them into steps that can protect them and those around them."
In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg pleaded white evangelicals to be reluctant to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to reconsider their stance. (Photo: CNN)
There are approximately 41 million white evangelical adults nationwide. Public health experts have warned that the group's widespread reluctance to get vaccinated could prolong the pandemic.
"Unless we can get a significant number of white evangelicals, the pandemic will last much longer than necessary," Jamie Aten, founder and executive director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College evangelical institution in Illinois, told the New York Times.
Some white evangelicals have cited their religious beliefs in their refusal to receive a vaccine and noted a distant link between abortion and vaccine development. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain fetal tissue, but some were developed using cells derived from fetal tissue from elective abortions that took place decades ago, according to the Times.
Other white evangelicals have pointed out their lack of trust in the government.
"I just don't want the government or anyone else forcing people to do something that these people believe is not in their best interests," a 49-year-old white evangelical man in Tennessee told PBS.
For the most part, public health experts view COVID-19 vaccines as the best hope to end the pandemic and return to a sense of normalcy.
Some high-profile Conservative pastors, including Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress, have publicly spoken out in favor of vaccination. But others have warned their followers against it. Gene Bailey, a talk show host on Christian television station Victory Channel, warned in March that "globalist units" will "use bayonets and prisons to put a needle into your arm," the Times reported.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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