Christian nationalism's COVID vaccine doubt threatens herd immunity

While concerning, this information shouldn’t be too surprising. First, Americans who embrace Christian nationalism are more skeptical of science. They are more likely to believe scientists are hostile to faith, that creationism should be taught in public schools and that our country relies too much on science over religion. Christian nationalists believe that authority in the public sphere should come from sources they trust are friendly to religion, not secular scientists.

In two other recent studies, we find that Christian nationalism is a leading predictor of ignoring precautionary behaviors regarding Covid-19. We show that these Americans prize individual liberty or economic prosperity rather than protection of the vulnerable. And while not measuring Christian nationalism directly, other researchers find that religious states disobeyed stay-at-home orders at a higher rate and that conservative Protestants are much more skeptical that scientists understand Covid-19.

Finally, Christian nationalism is strongly associated with support for politicians who promise to advance its values and oppose targets of suspicion. Trump and other conservative politicians have embraced anti-vaccination arguments in the past. Medical professionals have even raised the alarm about the effect of Trump’s public skepticism, although as president he has acknowledged the importance of vaccinations.

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