White evangelicals are the demographic group least likely to support vaccine requirements for children to attend public schools, according to new data from Pew Research Center.
The share of white evangelicals who are in favor of vaccines for public school attendance has dropped to 58%, down from 77% who said the same in 2019, Pew’s data shows.
The COVID-19 vaccine prompted an increase in parents claiming religious exemptions for vaccines, as both state vaccine data and opinions expressed in the Pew surveys show. The data didn’t surprise the Rev. Rob Schenck, a pastor who has written about the dangers of mixing politics and religion and has also written multiple articles about what Christian theology says about vaccines and vaccine mandates. He said he believes there is no theological basis for refusing vaccines.
“There’s an assumption among many evangelicals that science and medicine have discounted the reality of the supernatural, so why trust it? If we serve only one master, one Lord, then whenever the government starts getting into your personal business, they’re trying to be God.”
There are also legal implications on the topic. An article written by Mark E. Wojcik Professor of Law, University of Illinois Chicago School of Law published by the American Bar Association reflects many of Schenck’s views on the issue.