The National Religious Broadcasters Association fired their senior vice president of communication for making arguments in support of vaccinations.
Daniel Darling has served as the spokesperson and voice of the NRB for a number of years. He has served as the Vice President of Communications for the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Darling has written several Christian books, including the Characters of Christmas. Over the last week, Darling made several appearances on television and in USA Today, where he advocated for Evangelicals to get vaccinated. During an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Darling stated that his faith played a crucial role in receiving the vaccine. Specifically, he believed that vaccinations fulfilled the Bible's command to love our neighbors. Darling also expresses sympathy for the vaccine-hesitant, noting the growing trend of institutional distrust among Americans. Darling was particular in not attempting to shame the vaccine-hesitant but instead encouraged believers to speak with local experts and consider the decision.
He was later pulled into a meeting with NRB leadership, who told Darling that his statements violated the organization's stance of vaccine neutrality. In response, NRB leadership told Darling that he could either sign a statement admitting he was wrong in affirming the vaccines or be fired. Darling chose the latter and was fired with no severance.
In a statement sent to a New York Times reporter, Darling stated, "I am sad and disappointed that my time at NRB has come to a close. As someone who has been profoundly shaped by Christian media, it was an honor to work on behalf of our members who strive every day to deliver the Gospel around the world." The former communications expert admitted that he was "grieved that the issues that divide our country are also dividing Christians," but that his desire to "build bridges and bring Christians together around our common mission of loving Jesus and loving our neighbor."