Young Secular Americans are least vaccinated, not evangelicals
Religion Unplugged’s Week in Headlines
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Our top story today is from religion data journalist Ryan Burge. After seeing media coverage reporting that evangelicals are resisting the COVID-19 vaccine more than any other religious group, the ReligionUnplugged team wondered whether there is more to the story. Are evangelicals the most likely group in America to resist vaccines?
It turns out, probably no. Burge crunched survey data from Data for Progress in May 2021 that shows more young secular Americans (those with no religious affiliation) resisted the vaccine than evangelical Protestants or Catholics. Read the full story here and follow Burge’s Twitter threads for Q&A about the data.
In opinion, Ethiopian Canadian scholar Girma Bekele argues that Western media coverage of Ethiopia during the Tigray conflict and Western allies like the U.S. State Department grossly misunderstood Ethiopia’s political dynamics and history. In the midst of a ceasefire, she suggests ways that the country and its allies can move forward toward long-lasting peace.
Thanks for reading! We’ll see you back here next week.
According to surveys by Data for Progress, more young Americans with no religious affiliation (called “nones”) resisted vaccines this summer than evangelicals, but the media has focused on vaccine hesitancy within evangelicals. Here’s what the data shows.
Marketing Dilemma: Why Some Churches Aren’t Cool With The Brand 'Big Ass Fans' by Graham McNally and Paul Glader
A spokesman for the company, Alex Risen, noted that other churches, high school gyms, grade school gyms and companies owned by people who don’t like profanity also find the brand and logo off-putting at times. A Polynesian cultural center in Hawaii, for example, covered the word “ass” on the fans.
New BBC Documentary On Hillsong Church Paints A Grim Picture by Josh Shepherd
(REVIEW) A new documentary by the BBC on Hillsong Church reveals new insight into the global evangelical church network’s celebrity culture, sex scandals, and questionable financial dealings.
Q&A: In New Book Millennial Nuns Share Social Media Tips by Jewels Tauzin
A new book of autobiographical stories from young, Catholic nuns aims to inspire readers how to live a faith-filled life in the era of social media. In an interview with ReligionUnplugged, Sister Tracey describes how she came to be a nun at age 19 and her passion for spreading the gospel online.
Zacharias Institute Leaders Announce Plans To Resign by Anne Stych
The leaders of the Zacharias Institute said they plan to resign, a decision they reached after a season of “lamenting, listening and learning” after sexual misconduct accusations against late evangelist and institute founder Ravi Zacharias came to light.
Why The Burrill Resignation Is The Biggest Story In U.S. Catholicism by Clemente Lisi
(ANALYSIS) It’s been a busy July on the Catholic news beat. There’s rarely a dull moment, especially in the Pope Francis era, as debate over the past few weeks focused on the Latin Mass and alleged Grindr-clicking gay clergy in high places.
Maverick City Music Is Part Of A Gospel Music Comeback by Liza Vandenboom Ashley
(REVIEW) Christian artists seldom top secular charts or appear on Times Square billboards. The contemporary Gospel band Maverick City Music has done both, resonating with a cultural moment outside the pews. Their newest album, “Tribl I,” captures the experience of singing in a crowded auditorium and brings it to anyone with headphones.
Olympians Talk Faith, Mental Challenges Of The Games by Hamil R. Harris
Olympians like Dominique Dawes and Rochelle Stevens talked to ReligionUnplugged about their faith, wrestling with mental challenges in the Games and supporting U.S. gymnast Simone Biles who withdrew from competition this week over mental health concerns and vertigo-like symptoms. Biles and Dawes have both shared leaning on their Catholic faith in their gymnastics careers.
‘My Unorthodox Life’ Is A Microcosm Of America’s Divide by Meagan Clark
(REVIEW) Netflix’s latest reality series about a highly successful businesswoman who left a strict Orthodox Jewish community is hilarious at times and binge-worthy but adds to the narrative that religion is oppressive. Meanwhile, Orthodox Judaism is attracting more young people in the U.S. than previous generations despite religion’s overall decline.
Q&A With Mellissa Florer-Bixler On 'How To Have An Enemy' by Kenneth E. Frantz
After the Trump presidency, many leaders have called Americans to put aside their differences and unite around their shared humanity. However, some people have pushed back against these admonitions saying that unifying with their perceived enemy would require them to ignore patterns of oppression. Mellissa Florer-Bixler, the lead pastor of Raleigh Mennonite Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, addresses these concerns in her new book.
Weekend Plug-In: Just When Worship Gatherings Seemed Safe Again, Delta Variant Raises Renewed Concerns by Bobby Ross Jr.
Biden's American Families Plan Prioritizes Elites, May Not Support Faith-Based Child Care by Chelsea Langston Bombino
Should The Southern Baptist Convention Change Its Name? by Richard Ostling
Don’t miss our latest podcast
How Faith Leaders Can Curb Gen Z’s Loneliness
Data by Springtide Research shows that Gen Z felt exceptionally lonely and purposeless in 2020, and yet participation alone in religious groups did not help them. Managing Editor Meagan Clark spoke with Springtide’s Executive Director Josh Packard about their report’s findings that are particularly applicable to parents, religious leaders, college professors and anyone else with members of Gen Z in their lives.
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Editorial picks from our archives
Guide To Olympians Of Faith Competing At The 2020 Tokyo Games by Liza Vandenboom Ashley
The controversy and context surrounding the 2020 Tokyo Olympics pose an opportunity to think about the Games through a lens of faith. From a Muslim track and field athlete to Israel’s first surfer, here is a guide to the Games for the religiously-minded.
While his life story is fascinating, heart-warming and remarkable, the religious life of NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo is less well known. The now 26-year-old Giannis became a Christian and devout member of the Greek Orthodox Church as a young person and continues to acknowledge his Christian faith.
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Any news tips for us? Is there a story you think we should be covering? We want to know! Email our managing editor Meagan at email@example.com.