The International Mission Board (IMB)– formally the Foreign Mission Board, determined to mandate the coronavirus vaccine for missionaries they send into the field. Also affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the organization will be the first missionary agency requiring people to be vaccinated.
“Volunteers serving with IMB field teams must follow the recommendations and requirements of the government of the hosting country for the volunteer trip,” stated the IMB.
“IMB does, however, recommend those who are not required to be vaccinated by the host country to consider being vaccinated, given the risks associated with travel. The recommendation for volunteers is designed to protect not only the volunteer but also the field personnel, national partners and ongoing field ministries.”
COVID-19 refusal rates are among the highest among white evangelical Christians. According to a study from the Public Religion Research Institute, 24 percent of white evangelicals said: “they wouldn’t be vaccinated, down from 26 percent in March.”
Among religious groups, Hispanic Catholics have increased most in vaccine acceptance, 56 percent in March to 80 percent in June.
“Nearly eight in 10 white Catholics (79%) are also vaccine accepters, up from 68 percent in March. Other non-Christians (78 percent), other Christians (77 percent), the religiously unaffiliated (75 percent), and white mainline Protestants (74 percent) are also above the 70 percent mark, with increases of 11-15 percentage points in each group.”
Southern Baptist Pastor and well-known author Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas said in an interview with The Associated Press that there were no compelling religious objections to the vaccine.
“There is no credible religious argument against the vaccines,” Jeffress said, and argued, “Christians who are troubled by the use of a fetal cell line for the testing of the vaccines would also have to abstain from the use of Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, Ibuprofen, and other products that used the same cell line if they are sincere in their objection.”
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-CNJ Staff Reports