Texas mega-church preacher and devotee of Trump says there is no ‘credible religious argument’ against COVID-19 vaccines



Pastor Robert Jeffress participates in the Celebrate Freedom Rally with then-President Donald Trump on July 1, 2017. Olivier Douliery-Pool via Getty Images

  • Texas mega-church preacher refuses to offer his congregation religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

  • He told The Associated Press that there was no “credible religious argument” for refusing a shot.

  • Religious exemption letters are increasingly used as a “loophole” to avoid vaccination warrants, the AP said.

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As Republican lawmakers rampage over President Joe Biden’s broad vaccination mandates, the Associated Press has reported that religious exemptions are increasingly being used as a “loophole” to avoid receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

But a Trump-loving preacher at a Texas mega-church decreed there was “no credible religious argument” for refusing a shot, the Associated Press said.

Reverend Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, which has 12,000 members, told the news agency that he and his staff did not “offer” letters of exemption or encourage members. of their congregation to seek religious exemptions from the coronavirus. vaccination warrants.

“Christians who are troubled by the use of a fetal cell line to test vaccines should also refrain from using Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, Ibuprofen and other products using the same cell line. ‘they’re sincere in their objection,’ Jeffress said in an email.

Jeffress, who once suggested he would vote for former President Donald Trump rather than someone who embodies the teachings of Jesus, is one of many religious leaders who have recently opposed the use of letters d religious exemption.

The AP reported that leaders of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America said on Thursday that, aside from medical reasons, “there is no exemption in the Orthodox Church for its followers of any kind. vaccination for religious reasons “.

Likewise, the news agency reported that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York have also stated that they do not did not support the exemption letters, according to the AP. .

But not all churches share the same point of view. The AP said some Catholic bishops, including those in the Colorado Catholic Conference, have facilitated opposition to the vaccine on religious grounds by posting templates online for a letter priests can sign.

A pastor in Tulsa even said he would sign a religious exemption letter if people donated to his church, The Washington Post reported.

According to a senior religious freedom researcher at the Freedom Forum in Washington, religious exemptions are likely to be at the center of fierce legal battles in the months to come.

“As immunization mandates continue to expand in schools and workplaces, there is bound to be more litigation over the issue of religious exemptions – especially in cases where no exemptions (except medical) are authorized, “Charles Haynes said in an email to the Washington Post. .

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