The Gospel Coalition often posts theoretical or theological articles. However, yesterday Joe Carter posted a helpful and practical piece on vaccines. In case readers need a Christian resource for their Christian anti-vax friends, I post a link to it and a few related comments.
The current resurgence of cases has been driven by a rise in religious exemptions. Anti-vax activists are increasingly vocal and have taken on pro-life arguments to bolster their cause. Prominent conservative evangelicals such as David Barton and “activist mommy” Elizabeth Johnson have spoken against vaccines.
Carter has spoken out before on medical issues. He wrote a scathing response to David Barton and Kenneth Copeland when they advocated treating PTSD with Bible verses. Given the fact that many Christians are using religious arguments to support their anti-vax position, I am glad to see this piece published by The Gospel Coalition.
I want to emphasize this part of Carter’s final paragraph.
If we choose not to vaccinate our children then we must accept that there will be some public institutions in which they cannot participate.
Especially in a public health crisis, I don’t believe parental rights are absolute. The state has a responsibility to protect all of us and in this case that might mean keeping unvaccinated children out of the general population, including schools.
Responding to a backlash against the controversial article “When God Sends Your White Daughter a Black Husband”, the Gospel Coalition removed the article at the author’s request. TGC also posted an audio discussion about the article involving three African-American writers (TGC editor, Jason Cook, Isaac Adams, and Jamar Tisby). Listen to the discussion at TGC’s website. About the situation, TGC posted:
In this recorded conversation, Jason Cook (editor at The Gospel Coalition), Jemar Tisby (president of Reformed African American Network), and Isaac Adams (editor at The Front Porch) respond to the article “When God Sends Your White Daughter a Black Husband” and the ensuing backlash, as well as broader issues including handling discussions about race and the dignity of black life.
The article has been removed from TGC’s website at the request of the author, who regrets hurting many readers. An article intended to celebrate God’s work in this family’s life also became an occasion for hurt and pain. Understandable frustration and constructive concern was not the only response. Sadly, white supremacists have threatened the author and her family.
We invite you to listen to the conversation to understand TGC’s editorial process, what we could have done better, what we can learn going forward, and more.
The article (archived here) had generated hundreds of comments on the TGC website in addition to a tweetstorm of discussion both supporting and criticizing the article. In particular, the format of the article’s title indicated to some critics that a black husband was less than optimal. However, in this discussion, the participants talk about what can be learned from the situation.
The discussants took a firm stance on the language of the article and lamented the problems in evangelical circles. One said:
This is an issue where our discipleship has a gaping hole.
I recommend you listen to the conversation.
From my point of view, I appreciate TGC’s recognition that the article was hurtful to many. I think it illustrated just how far the church needs to go in order to address subtle as well as overt racism.