Christian hypocrisy on parade as evangelicals battle mask mandates and vaccinations: columnist
People worshiping (Photo: PxHere)

In a column published by NBC News, Maggie Siddiqi of the Center for American Progress called out the evangelical leaders for ignoring Covid-19 recommendations regarding masks and vaccines in their pursuit of fighting a cultural war with the left.

As Siddiqi wrote, far-right extremists within the evangelical movement are attempting to use religious exemptions to avoid following sensible health protocols and, in the process, are putting their followers at risk.

According to the columnist, resistance to doing the right thing is nothing new for evangelical extremists.

"For many on the religious right, religious freedom only matters if it supports a right-wing political agenda. Indeed for years, extreme-right Christian groups have been misusing religious freedom to do everything from discriminating against LGBTQ people to denying access to reproductive health care. Far from a legitimate effort to protect the right to worship freely, religious freedom has been manipulated into another tool in the Christian nationalist playbook to circumvent any law or regulation they see fit," she wrote. "At the start of the pandemic, when states were compelled to issue emergency public health orders to shut down in-person gatherings, including at houses of worship, the same groups who cried 'religious freedom' at any law they disliked did so once again. It quickly became clear that if they could win exemptions from emergency public health orders on religious freedom grounds — even in the face of a deadly, highly contagious disease — they could win any claim by exploiting religious freedom."

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According to Siddiqi, with new strains of Covid on the rise, things could take a turn for the worse as Christian nationalists link arms with the anti-vaxxer community.

"It was never about religious freedom. It was always a right-wing political agenda, cloaked in faith," she wrote before adding, "The truth is not a single religious denomination opposes the Covid vaccines. And according to the Public Religion Research Institute, 'Six in ten Americans (59%) agree that too many people are using religion as an excuse to avoid COVID-19 vaccination requirements.' The free exercise clause of the First Amendment was never intended to be without limits, particularly, as the Supreme Court affirmed in 1941, when those limits could save lives."

Her advice?

"The easiest way to do that in the face of a pandemic? Forget politics, and focus on saving lives," she wrote.

You can read more here.