“I am not going to allow the Covid maniacs to convince me to be vaccinated or vaccinate me against my will.”Pastor Rick Wiles of Flowing Streams Church (FL)
In June 2021, just one month after he made this statement and others just as negative about vaccinations being a “mass death campaign”, Wiles caught Covid. He was hospitalized and nearly died. One wonders if God was sending a message to the good Pastor Wiles.
When you study statistics, they teach you that correlation does not mean causation. In other words, it’s not always easy to interpret numbers. Take vaccination rates and religiosity, for example.
Every one of the most religious states are in the South and deep red. I’ve worked in all of them. Close relatives or I have lived in half of them.
Based on the percentage of residents rating themselves as highly religious (per Pew Research), these are the six most devout states: AL (77%); MS (77%); TN (73%); LA (71%); AK (70%) and SC (70%). Here are where they rate on vaccinations: Al (46th); MS (50th); TN (45th); LA (49th); AK (44th); and SC (41st). In other words, the most religious states have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the nation.
And all of them also have higher covid-19 deaths per capita than the average state. Three are among the 10 worst states (TN, AK, SC). Further, all of these states currently have high levels of virus transmission compared to the less religious, highly vaccinated states.
The South is the region that is most unvaccinated compared to the others. Further, per KFF: “In counties where Trump won the majority of votes, the average vaccination rate for adults 65 and older is more than 7 percentage points lower than in counties that voted for Biden (63.3% vs. 70.8%).”
There is a positive side to this situation. More Americans who were once uncertain about getting the vaccine are seeing the light. Between March 15 and July 19, the percentage “uncertain/unwilling” to get the vaccine among whites is down from 36% to 30%, while the number among blacks has dropped from 51% to 35% and for Latinos the drop was from 42% to 29%.
The downside is that this reduction has come from those “uncertain”; the percentages for “unwilling” remain level. And that’s the high priority, underlying problem that must be immediately addressed.
So, where am I going with this analysis? Our religious, media and political leaders, especially conservatives, must get more involved in pro-vaccination advocacy…even if it means saying the opposite of what they have been saying. At long last, Fox’s Sean Hannity and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise have become pro-vaccine. If Trump (who got his shots in secret) would finally step up to the plate, that would help immensely. But so far he has not done so.
As Dr. Fauci said, if we had this sort of resistance 60 years ago, we never would have overcome the polio virus. The old saying, “God helps those who help themselves” was never any truer than it is today. God gave us a brain. He expects us to use it, but a large portion of our nation hasn’t yet decided to do so.
Image Credit: "God Wearing a Covid Mask While Handing Adam A Vaccine Card" is a composite image created by LikeTheDew.com - "The Creation of Adam" by Michelangelo (Public Domain via Wikipedia.org) – the card and mask images are from commercial sites on the web (promotional/fair use).