(Disclosure: I’m atheist and can be very anti-clergy. But I sometimes find ministers I like and even admire despite any disagreements about what is and what isn’t.)
National Religious Broadcasters (NRB.org), a major evangelical nonprofit media organization, canned their senior vice president of communications. Daniel Darling got the sack partly over commentary he made on the Morning Joe TV show saying he thought folks should get a Covid-19 vaccine, as he did.
Darling could have stayed on with NRB provided he signed a confession of insubordination for saying what he did. He chose to be fired rather then confess to a sin he did not, in his view, commit, or to incriminate himself to save his job.
Evangelical Christian hypocrisy, duplicity, and disingenuousness must be good with God. It seems to be with NRB. The company has a policy stating the employees must profess neutrality regarding the vaccine. Why? I see that as advocating opposition to the shot. Maybe Dan did, too.
What is the motivation for forbidding employees from trying to save lives and doing what Dan Darling saw as following his god’s law? Maybe this media company missed it, but there is a hell of a debate over shots and taking horse worming meds. I wonder if they have policies to be neutral about the crazy crap some folks are putting in their bodies.
The company has a right to have the policy and to fire whomever they wish. I have a right to say they were morally wrong on three counts. First, the policy of neutrality on the vaccine is obscene. People are dying for Christ’s sake, and that was Darling’s point. Enough!
Second, this is from their web site. “NRB advocates for issues that matter to Christian communications, including freedom of speech, online censorship, and technology access.” (Italics are mine.) I assume they are anticensorship, but that quote sounds like they are advocating for online censorship, except for corporate policy. Employees, even if it is God’s law, are forbidden from speaking in favor of saving lives with vaccines.
The US Constitution is not much help here. The Frist Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
It says “Congress,” but SCOTUS held that speakers are protected against all government agencies and officials: federal, state, and local, and legislative, executive, or judicial. That includes Congressman Kevin McCarthy.
NRB needn’t worry. The First Amendment does not protect speakers from private individuals or organizations. It restrains only the government. I wonder if NRB is okay with that considering their opposition to online censorship (it’s still confusing).
The third immoral act by NRB was trying to get Mr. Darling to sign the confession of insubordination. Insubordinate means disobedient to authority. Synonyms are contrary, contumacious, defiant, disobedient, incompliant, intractable, obstreperous, rebellious, recalcitrant, recusant, refractory, restive, ungovernable, unruly, untoward, or wayward. Dan Darling was none of those things, but NRB wanted his confession. An Evangelical Inquisition?
NRB insisted Darling incriminate himself. The constitution is still no help, but now we’re at the Fifth Amendment. In addition to the protections of the Fifth, other laws also provide protections related to self-incrimination. NRB had the legal right to insist. Dan had the right to say no. So, they fired his ass.
It is a rare day that I go to bat for an Evangelical Protestant. But Dan Darling did no harm. He did a good thing. In my opinion, NRB is on the threshold of being a political advocacy organization. Also, as Darling said on Morning Joe, “when trust goes down, belief in conspiracies goes up.” Hmmm. I’d like that in context, but there it is. Trust? Tell me about it, Dan.