Desperate religious leaders to host nationwide ‘Protect America’ event after churches decimated by COVID
Evangelical Church in Argentina (AFP)

As a highly contagious respiratory disease, COVID-19 spreads quickly where groups congregate unmasked, speak loudly and remain unprotected, which makes church worship among the best places for the virus to spread.

During the 2020 COVID lockdowns, slightly fewer than six in 10 people who regularly attended church told a Pew Survey that they were still attending in person. Now that lockdowns have ceased and church services are meeting in person again, COVID is spreading through congregations, particularly those that refuse to take precautions.

The Religious News Service reported Thursday that pastors are fighting back against the quickly spreading virus that can decimate their church members.

The Pray.com app is bringing together faith-based people for an event called "Protect America," where pastors will broadcast Thursday afternoon about how Americans can and should protect their health, according to a faith-based perspective.

While science experts and physicians have spread messages across radio and television about the ways to protect yourself and the safety of the vaccine, many are still refusing to adopt mask safety or get vaccinated.

"The goal of the event is to increase awareness of the recent FDA approval and increase understanding of the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, especially in communities that have shown a higher rate of vaccine hesitancy," said the report.

"We praise God for this opportunity to be able to share vital information that people need in this very precarious time," Pastor Donnie McClurkin said. "I want to help our churches see that science is a wonderful gift given to us by God, and it's not that we are trusting government, but that we are trusting something that God has given us."

Science has grown increasingly politicized among conservatives due to Republican opposition to believing in climate change and evolution. Republican confidence in science dropped nearly 30 points since 1975, according to a Gallup poll. Surveys consistently find that "Democrats are much more likely to report having been vaccinated than Republicans, and Republicans are much more likely to say that they definitely do not want to get vaccinated," said the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The Pray.com event pastors are desperately trying to fix that.

"This isn't a left or right thing. This isn't a Democrat or Republican thing," Pastor Carlos Whittaker said. "Loving your neighbor as yourself has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with God's power. I still believe wholeheartedly that healing is available for us through the blood of the cross and the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but I also know that God has created minds and science and humans to come together to achieve miracles as well."

The report explained that the event begins at 3 p.m. EST and will be broadcast across the Pray.com app, which reaches more than 10 million people worldwide.