Four national religious leaders joined IFYC’s Founder and President, Dr. Eboo Patel on March 10th, to discuss the crucial role that faith communities are playing in fostering far-reaching and equitable vaccinations against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rev. Otis Moss III, the Senior Pastor at Trinity United Church of Chicago, offered insightful commentary: “If you take COVID-19 and compare it to COVID 1619—the original American pandemic—you put those two together and, you have a disaster and a tragedy.” He went on to share about the authentic relationships Black churches have built within their communities and how this has forged an opportunity to be a trusted information-sharing regarding COVID-19 vaccination.
Kameelah Rashad, founder and president of Muslim Wellness Foundation, and founding co-director of the National Black Muslim COVID Coalition discussed the relationship between science and religion: “There does not have to be a dichotomy between religion and science. I think the wonder that we find within the scientific world, for me, is a manifestation of the majesty of God.” Framing scientific discovery as a manifestation of the divine is an important language in building trust in the COVID-19 vaccine among religious communities.
Rev. Jim Wallis, the founder of the Evangelical and social justice-focused magazine, Sojourners, places an emphasis on the intersection of faith and politics: “We have been in conversation, even yesterday with the White House and what they are saying is it’s not whether faith leaders should be involved. It’s how. How do we do this?” His answer? Making offerings that can help transform the way we do healthcare such that it also rectifies and heals systemic racism, making vaccination more accessible for marginalized communities.
Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President of Clal–The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, on the pitfalls of theological framing: “…there is no master narrative theologically that will convince other people. Because I don’t think the question is fundamentally theological. It is a matter of trust. And trust-building is very different than policy advocacy. Even though they are both in the sacred categories.”
We invite you to read the transcript below or view the full conversation in all its richness as we work together to address some of the most pressing issues of our time.