A coalition of more than 2,700 high-profile evangelicals spanning the fields of science and religion have signed onto a statement billed "A Christian Statement on Science for Pandemic Times," which warns against the politicization of the new coronavirus and urges Christians to take appropriate action against it, including taking a vaccine when it's ready.
"We are deeply concerned about the polarization and politicization of science in the public square when so many lives are at stake. The word 'science' has become a weapon in the culture wars. Scientists are vilified and their findings ignored, while conspiracy theories go viral. Sadly, Christians seem just as susceptible to these trends. Thoughtful Christians may disagree on public policy in response to the coronavirus, but none of us should ignore clear scientific evidence," the statement published online by the nonprofit organization BioLogos says.
"We call on all Christians to follow the advice of public health experts and support scientists doing crucial biomedical research on COVID-19."
BioLogos was founded by U.S. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, a devout Christian geneticist, and his wife, to foster discussions about the harmony between science and biblical faith. Collins was honored earlier this year with the Templeton Prize, a financial award of $1.3 million for his storied career using science to advocate for the "integration of faith and reason."
Some of the influential evangelicals who have already signed the statement include: Bishop Claude Alexander, senior pastor, The Park Church, Charlotte, North Carolina; National Association of Evangelicals President Walter Kim; William Phillips, a distinguished professor of physics at the University of Maryland who was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize of Physics "for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light" in 1997; and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
The signers affirm that they "uphold the authority of God's Word and see science as a tool to understand God's world."
The statement comes in the wake of the fragmented response in the Christian community to the coronavirus which has fed skepticism about how it has been handled and challenged advice from public health officials on issues such as the wearing of masks to stem the spread of the disease.
A vocal minority of churches also spoke out against calls from federal and local government authorities to close their churches amid the new coronavirus pandemic, risking fines and arrests. As recently as Sunday, North Carolina Bishop Patrick Wooden Sr. of the conservative Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh, slammed Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, as a "backslidden Catholic and self-professed humanist" who is being used as a political tool by the left.