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Evangelical pastor loses job with religious broadcasting group after taking stance on COVID vaccine

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 1:05 PM EDT
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(Gray News) – Until a few days ago, Dan Darling was the senior vice president of communications at the National Religious Broadcasters.

The evangelical pastor was fired after he promoted the COVID-19 vaccine in an op-ed he penned for USA Today and in media interviews.

According to the organization, that violated its policy of remaining neutral on the vaccine.

“I didn’t feel like I was violating a policy of neutrality because I just spoke about my own experience getting the vaccine,” Darling said. “I really tried to speak to some of the hesitancy and fears that many who have not gotten it still have and encourage people to talk to their doctors.”

Calling the situation a “disagreement among good friends,” Darling said the policy was designed to prevent division among evangelicals.

The NRB adopted it after its CEO publicly promoted the vaccine months ago.

While he supports the vaccine, Darling said he understands why others don’t.

“I don’t believe the way to persuade people is to shame and … to cancel, but I think the way to do that is to really have understanding,” he said. “I am overwhelmed by the support that I received from evangelicals around the country leaders and ordinary Christians who have really sympathized with this.”

Darling said many evangelicals have gotten the vaccine, noting the group doesn’t have more division than others on the topic.

“So, I think really this is an opportunity for us to step back and look at and ask ourselves why this has divided Americans and, really, why Christians are not unified.”

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. CNN Newsource contributed to this report.