Missouri's Christian ministers are pleading with state residents to get vaccinated, especially as the disease continues to find a foothold in Missouri.
Missouri has had an extremely high infection rate in recent months, with only 40 percent of state residents fully vaccinated. According to local medical experts, Southwest Missouri has become an 'epicenter' of sorts for the disease, with multiple cases of infection breaking out due to the Delta variant.
In response to this growing plight, The Baptist news outlet Word & Way, based in Missouri, organized and published a statement this week imploring Christian believers to get the vaccine as "an easy way of living out Jesus's command to 'love your neighbor as yourself.'" In the statement, ministers collective said that they were aiming to "address the vaccine hesitancy prevalent in some Christian groups" in hopes of stopping any ongoing spread.
The statement claims that "Local experts and officials are pleading for Missourians to get vaccinated against this devastating virus to alleviate these burdens and avoid unnecessary deaths." Unfortunately, "Vaccine hesitancy in our pews puts our congregations and communities at greater risk. Given their safety and availability, receiving a vaccine is an easy way of living out Jesus's command to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31). His warning against causing "little ones to stumble" (Luke 17:2) also inspires our appeal, as every vaccinated adult helps protect our children under 12 who are still ineligible to receive the vaccines." The ministers acknowledge the catastrophic death count in Missouri and lament the 'growing trauma' in MO communities. This is why they are encouraging believers to "realize their responsibility to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly (Micah 6:8)", which means increasing vaccination rates.
The ministers who signed said document have come from a dozen different Christian denominations and are quite diverse in regard to their race, gender, and theology.