“Science vs. Religion”
By Clive Williams
For millions of Americans coronavirus vaccines are the new enemies; Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson represent to them the greatest threat since Satan, and anyone in favor of the consumption of these vaccines are seen as acolytes of Satan. The threat of severe illness accompanied by unknown side effects and oftentimes death, is considered minimal compared to their love of “freedom and liberty” to do what they want with their bodies. The vast majority of those proclaiming their freedom and liberty in opposition to disease prevention and spread, are professed believers representing right-wing Christian groups and other fundamental religions, as well as Blacks who fear further experimentation on their lives. Now add to this incendiary mix the megaphone of the right-wing politicians, Fox views (not news) and conspiracy theorists, Q Anon and the like – some Americans are now orchestrating for themselves a rapid descent in the abyss of ignorance and chaos, retreating into the caves of their past in order to delay and deny the inevitability of social change.
The big white Elephants in the room are politics and religion! In what is obviously an open marriage between the last political administration and any number of fundamental Christian right-wing groups, the ideas of a Theocratic America was re-awakened. The statement that “Jews will not replace us,” amplifies the thoughts of many Americans who fear the progress, growth and success of non-white citizens. Harsh experience has taught us, that when one group is threatened anywhere, all others are threatened everywhere. So despite your personal feelings about other social, political or religious groups; the wise, moral and ethical course is to support and defend their right to exist. Right after the end of the 2nd World War (during which Hitler exterminated millions of Jewish people), some Christian religious leaders emerged, shamefully admitting their silence during the holocaust; one such Christian leader was Martin Niemoller, a Lutheran Minister who had admired Hitler’s Third Reich, but having seen the worst, had now changed his mind. His subsequent words are a blueprint and guide for all people as to how to identify totalitarian threats, he said in his poem, “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Which principled religious leaders are going to emerge to expose the Conspiracy Gospels infiltrating Church communities throughout this country of ours, conspiracies that state: Jesus’ power will destroy Coronavirus – that a body filled with the Spirit will destroy the virus – that this is the fulfillment of prophecy, and nothing can be done by man to stop it – that vaccines will prevent the resurrection of our bodies? The Conspiracy Gospels are increasing by the day, yet no leader will speak about the irreparable harm being done, especially in communities of color where Church life takes precedence over family life. Lives are being needlessly lost because many fundamental religious groups continue to embrace the notion that their religion stands above the science. In my informal discussions with such leaders the frozen opinion is that science is largely man-made sorcery, which relegates vaccines to an invasion of their spiritual temple. Yes, some religious leaders don’t believe this, but they teach it to their congregants ‘with a wink and a nod,’ then go take the vaccines to protect themselves. The Science vs. Religion debate is not a new phenomenon but it has resurfaced to serve the needs of a growing number of insurrectionist groups who are hell bent on taking us back to the days of the supremacy of religion, Theocratic power – and the supremacy of White Americans. Recently, The Wall Street Journal published an article on the resistance to the Covid-19 vaccine among white evangelicals and some startling facts came to light; a study from the Public Religion Research Institute, a non-partisan group that studies the intersection of religion and public life – found that some 24% of White evangelicals said they wouldn’t get the vaccine. Now as you ponder that, consider this, almost 90% of the current Congress report as Christian and as you can well imagine, many are evangelicals who are mocking those of us who are taking precautions for ourselves and our families. But there is more, the same White evangelicals by a margin of 22% also opposed mandatory measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations for their children to attend school.
Despite the above evidence, Black people who have every reason to be skeptical, remain the ‘whipping boy’ for every conservative wacko who wants to make the case about the spread of the virus; they have made the case for us as to who they really are – selfish, insular and unpatriotic people with lots of guns, whose stock in trade is conspiracy gospels. Modern Science has given us a better quality of life, an extended lifespan, relief from medical conditions that were once crippling, better quality water, and improved air quality, ground breaking technology, medical, technical and social. Science is not God, but God is Science!
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