The Freedom From Religion Foundation is disgusted to see anti-science Christian nationalist governors once again endanger the nation’s health.
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders summoned lawmakers to Little Rock for a special session last week in part to ban the state from mandating Covid-19 vaccinations. Lawmakers complied by reinstating a measure similar to an expired law passed in 2021 that prohibited state and local governments from requiring anyone to be vaccinated against the virus.
Ditto Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who continues his longtime war on efforts to mitigate Covid-19 — such as targeting Anthony Fauci — by sowing distrust of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and irresponsibly urging those under the age of 65 not to get vaccinated. DeSantis claims he’s not going to let public health entities “use healthy Floridians as guinea pigs for new booster shots that have not been proven to be safe or effective.” While older individuals are most at risk, younger unvaccinated individuals can spread it to the elderly and themselves are risking long Covid by not getting vaccinated. So, DeSantis is happily using healthy Floridians as guinea pigs.
Pandemic memories are short, or understandably blurry, but take a brief trip down memory lane with FFRF.
Christian conservative governors almost uniformly around the country defied science recommendations throughout the first years of the pandemic. FFRF documented the continual defiant or reckless orders by many such governors, pointing out that deference to religious objections to social distancing and masking was a reason why the United States was Number One in Covid spread back in the summer of 2020. FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor and other FFRF staff diligently “unmasked” the role that religion has played in the pandemic.
Remember the many lawsuits filed by anti-science zealots to stop the Biden administration’s requirement that U.S. employers either get vaccinated or tested for Covid? The Supreme Court blocked the White House from enforcing its vaccine-or-test requirement for large private companies although at least the court did allow the mandate for medical facilities accepting Medicare or Medicaid payments. What a sad commentary on the state of acceptance of medical science that less than half the country had, previous to this ruling, mandated Covid-19 inoculations for health care workers. Even worse, more than half the states were involved in one or more lawsuits against the federal vaccine requirements. Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and, of course, Gov. Ron DeSantis — all still in office — were among the worst offenders.
The anti-vaxxer, anti-science crowd seemingly will never rest in its denialism and resistance to rational public health policy. Witness what has happened in Holland County, Mich., where the new board was elected in the wake of backlash to pandemic restrictions, with new commissioners threatening to cut millions of dollars from the county’s health department, to give just one example.
“The rest of us, whose favorite motto is not ‘In God We Trust’ but ‘In Science We Trust,’ are grateful for medical science,” says Gaylor. She adds, “I’m still awed by the mind-boggling speed with which the first vaccinations were produced and the successful use for the first time of messenger RNA in vaccines, itself the culmination of years of research we should be thankful for.”
So give thanks where it is due — to medical science and an administration that values public health and science — by scheduling your vaccine booster today.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 40,000 members across the country. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.