HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Vaccine hesitancy and misinformation are things medical professionals have been wrestling with and attempting to debunk for months, especially now as the nation finds itself in the midst of another COVID-19 spike.
Now religious leaders are also dealing with the same problems, and one Huntsville pastor is speaking out.
First Baptist Church of Huntsville lead pastor Travis Collins says he’s heard enough when it comes to faith-based objections to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“This morning on the radio I heard a man say ‘I’m not going to mask and I’m not going to get vaccinated because Jesus is my only savior.’ That was so disappointing to me to hear. He’s my only savior too but I don’t juggle knives and I don’t play with fire and I did get vaccinated as soon as I could.”
He says he hears interviews like that far too often, even coming from well-known faith leaders. He says he fears Christians may be getting a bad rep because of it.
“If I were on the outside of the world of faith looking in, Id think that a lot of us are just kooks,” Collins said. “Theres lots of people of sincere faith trust their lives to God but know they have to be responsible so they’re wearing masks and they’re vaccinated.”
He says he’s not only concerned with the health of the congregation, but their interpersonal relationships with the spread of conflicting information surrounding vaccinations.
“Really the emotions go both ways, so there are people who are vaccinated who seem to be growing increasingly angry at those who are not, and those who are not seem to be increasingly angry that their freedoms are being infringed upon and this is not getting any better,” he said.
He fears as First Baptist re-instates social distancing policies with the latest COVID-19 spike, there could be even more conflict between those with opposing opinions, but he says right now his priority is to protect the most vulnerable above all else.
“We don’t know where this is going, we’re trying to be responsible now and keep up with the science because we do believe that science is our best guide,” he said.