The National Religious Broadcasters, a District-based group of evangelical Christian communicators, fired its top spokesman Friday, allegedly for his public endorsement of vaccines to prevent COVID-19 infections, according to media reports.
Religion News Service reported Daniel Darling, a noted evangelical Christian author who since May 2020 served as the NRB‘s senior vice president for communications, was let go without severance when he refused to recant statements he made on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program and in an op-ed published August 2 in USA Today.
Mr. Darling’s other option was to sign a statement admitting “insubordination,” the RNS report noted.
In his newspaper opinion piece, Mr. Darling wrote, “I believe in this vaccine because I don’t want to see anyone else die of COVID. Our family has lost too many close friends and relatives to COVID, including an uncle, a beloved church member, and our piano teacher. There are not many things in the world today that are worthy of our trust, that I sincerely believe the COVID-19 vaccine is one of them as a Christian, and as an American, I was proud to get it.”
The broadcasters’ group, a major force in the evangelical camp, disapproved of Mr. Darling’s statements because the 77-year-old organization has said it would be neutral about the vaccination issue, RNS said in its reporting.
For months, white evangelical Christians have been among those reportedly hesitant to take the vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, although recent reports indicate white and Hispanic evangelicals are more likely to take the shots if a pastor urges vaccination from the pulpit. In May, evangelical leader Franklin Graham said Americans should “pray about” receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Troy Miller, chief executive of the broadcaster’s group, did not immediately respond to email questions from The Washington Times. Mr. Darling also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This is the second time in 18 months that a resignation has rocked the NRB. On April 29, 2020, board chair Janet Parshall unexpectedly resigned, ending a 20-year stint as an NRB board member. Her husband, attorney Craig Parshall, resigned his position as the group’s general counsel at the same time.
The COVID-19 virus, whose origins have been traced to the city of Wuhan, China, has reportedly infected 193 million people worldwide since the outbreak began in early 2020. The death toll as of August 27 has been recorded at 4,498,864 according to worldometer.info, a free reference website.