Out Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg is reaching out to evangelical Christians to encourage them to get vaccinated.
“I’ve heard people I care about saying, you know, ‘If I’m faithful, God’s going to take care of me,’” Buttigieg said on CNN’s State of the Union. “And I guess what I would hope that they might consider is that maybe a vaccine is part of God’s plan for how you’re going to take care of yourself.”
An AP poll last month found that 25% of Americans said that they were not likely to get vaccinated against the COVID-19, down compared to earlier polls on the subject. But one group’s vaccine hesitancy was higher than others. Forty percent of white evangelical Protestants said that they would not get the vaccine.
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 13% of all Americans said they refuse to get vaccinated, including 30% of white evangelical Christians.
“Why do you think it is that so many of your fellow white evangelical Christians are reluctant to be vaccinated?” CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Buttigieg.
“I have to admit that it’s unlikely that an official like me is going to be persuasive to somebody who maybe doesn’t feel like Washington has been speaking to them for a long time,” Buttigieg said, before calling for religious leaders to support vaccination.
“But this is where faith leaders can make such a difference,” he continued. “The idea of pastoral care is about supporting those who look to you for guidance. And usually we think about that in the spiritual sense, but also that could be true for health.”
“So I hope anybody who is looking after a community of people, including a faith community, will consider ways to help guide them toward steps that can protect them and protect those around them.”
Pete Buttigieg's message to vaccine hesitant evangelicals: "Sometimes I've heard people, people I care about, say, 'if I'm faithful, God's gonna take care of me.' What I would hope they might consider is that maybe a vaccine is a part of God's plan." pic.twitter.com/Z89wIrmhAD
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 11, 2021
With over 40 million white evangelical Christians in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy in that population could thwart efforts to stop the pandemic if many of them refuse to get vaccinated.
“If we can’t get a significant number of white evangelicals to come around on this, the pandemic is going to last much longer than it needs to,” Jamie Aten of Wheaton College told the New York Times.
Buttigieg is Episcopalian, which is a sect that is not usually considered evangelical.