Jesus, Measles, and the Fight against Science

Does Jesus want your children to get measles?

A recent outbreak at a Texas mega-church highlights the tangled connections between faith, schooling, and science.

The fight against evolution gets all the headlines, but as this story shows, the connections between religion, education, and science can get a lot more convoluted.

As journalist Liz Szabo reported in Religion News Service, Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas, seems to be ground zero for a recent measles outbreak.  Twenty-five people in all have been sickened, fifteen of whom have direct connections to the church.

A visitor to the church from an unnamed country in which measles are common seems to have sparked the mini-demic.  Pastor Terri Parsons has warned of the connections between vaccinations and autism, a connection mainstream scientists have decisively pooh-poohed.  However, Pastor Parsons has also now encouraged members of the EMIC community to get vaccinated against measles.

According to the RNS story, the infected young people are all home-schooled and apparently unvaccinated.

So does Jesus want children to get measles?  Of course not.

But skepticism runs deep among conservative Christians.  In this case, conservatives did not trust mainstream science’s claims that immunizations were a good idea.  Nor did they trust the state board of education enough to agree that all children of a certain age must get the measles vaccine.


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