Most Americans believe that people who cite “religious objections” to getting a COVID vaccine are full of shit.
That’s one of the major takeaways from a new Pew Research Center survey out today. Sixty-seven percent of US adults believe people who cite their faith as a reason to avoid a COVID-19 vaccine “are just using religion as an excuse.” What’s troubling, however, is that 65% of American adults believe those who cite a religious exemption to getting vaccinated should be allowed to keep their jobs even if their employers have a vaccine mandate.
In short, most Americans know faith-based anti-vaxxers are lying about their reasons… but shouldn’t suffer the consequences… even though their religious negligence would put their colleagues’ health at risk.
Even when you just look at the 67% of Americans who know “religious objections” are typically nothing more than an excuse to avoid responsibility, most of them (37% overall) don’t think those liars should lose their jobs over it.
It’s no wonder our nation continues to struggle in dealing with a pandemic that’s taken more than 976,000 American lives so far. There are too many people refusing to get vaccinated for bullshit reasons and not nearly enough people willing to hold them accountable for their selfishness.
The Pew researchers also broke down the results by subgroups, and I will admit I was shocked to find that even 52% of white evangelicals and 55% of Republicans—two groups, with large overlap, that have fought vaccine mandates—agreed that “religious objections” were usually not sincere. Even they know members of their tribes are just using faith as an excuse. And yet most white evangelical and Republican leaders have done the bare minimum to encourage their followers to get vaccinated, debunk the lies their followers often believe, and denounce the liars in their midst.
Vaccine mandates are toothless without enforcement, and unless more people are vaccinated, all of us remain vulnerable to the next harmful strain of the virus, whatever form it may be. If the anti-vaxxers were only harming themselves, this might be easier to digest. But these numbers are alarming in part because conservative ignorance has imperiled all of us. Most Americans recognize that people claiming religious exemptions are merely using a loophole to avoid the vaccine, but we’re powerless to do much about it. When so many members of society won’t take a simple action to help themselves, their loved ones, and strangers everywhere, it’s a bad omen for the future.