How did fighting a disease become so politicized? Tensions are running high in this country. We see it on the news and in our social media feeds, in the faces of our coworkers and our family members. Comments made in frustration and fear are turning into outright lies. Some say “The coronavirus is a big conspiracy.” Others say “Christians have their heads in the sand.”
I wish COVID-19 had brought us together, the way World War II did. By fighting a common enemy, some of the divisions in our nation might have healed. Instead, polarization is exploding. And the polarization has led to uneven implementation of public health rules, which has led to needless loss of life. Thousands are dying who didn’t have to.
How did fighting a disease become so politicized?
But I still have hope. I have hope that God is with us and will keep his promises (Psalm 46). I have hope that God will bless the work of scientists to provide us with a safe and effective vaccine. And I have hope that God is sovereign—truth and love will win in the end.
My hope is encouraged by knowing I am not alone. Despite the extreme voices on social media, there is a large block of Christians in this country who are not at the extremes. Many Christians accept what scientists have learned about COVID-19. We understand that wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart will slow the spread and save the lives of others. And we are willing to follow these rules—to give up some personal freedom—out of love for our neighbors (Luke 6:31).
BioLogos has invited dozens of Christian leaders to say this publicly. The statement shows the biblical basis and broad Christian support for taking the scientific findings about COVID-19 seriously in the present moment. Now, we as signers certainly don’t agree on everything. We come from different political parties, different theological traditions, different racial and ethnic groups, different generations, and different parts of the country. We aren’t trying to agree on public policy or what schools should do this fall. Such decisions require many considerations besides science; “science” is not a one-word rationale for public policy.
But we agree that the core scientific findings are valid and should not be rejected. We know all truth is God’s truth, including the truths that biomedical researchers are discovering about the virus, how it spreads, and how to fight it. An individual scientist may be biased, but many scientists check each others’ work and develop good protocols to give solid results. It’s not a perfect process and one can always find dissenters, but scientists working together are far more accurate than one person’s theory on YouTube. We are deeply concerned that many Christians are skeptical of well-established findings and not acting on them, at a time when thousands of lives are at stake.
Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we are committing ourselves to stand for the truth (1 Cor. 13:6) and to love our neighbors. Because of Jesus’ command to care for “the least of these” (Matthew 25:31-36), we are wearing masks and promoting vaccination. Because of God’s passion for justice, we are caring not just for ourselves, but for the communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
And we are committing to pray. To pray for the sick and the grieving. For elected leaders. For parents and teachers. For doctors and nurses. For researchers developing treatments and vaccines. And we pray for our cities and nation; may God bring healing, justice, and flourishing for all (Jeremiah 29:7).
Will you join us? Please read the statement and prayerfully consider signing it. If you sign it, be sure to send it on to others and encourage them to do the same. As Christians, let us come together in unity, truth, and love in these pandemic times, and thus be a stronger witness to the world. They will know we are Christians by our love (John 13:35).
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At BioLogos, “gracious dialogue” means demonstrating the grace of Christ as we dialogue together about the tough issues of science and faith.