Dan Darling is a gentle man of God who advocates for godly conversation and a biblical regard for one another as fellow image-bearers. He has written excellent books on online conversation and how we can better reflect Christ in them. In his conversations with others, he lives that out. Dan recently left the ERLC to become Senior Vice President of Communications for the National Religious Broadcasters Association.
Dan published an article at USA Today by the title, “Why, as a Christian and an American, I got the COVID Vaccine.” On August 2, Dan appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program to discuss the article and his views on the vaccine. He stated his views but was kind at all times, recognizing that people could disagree, that there was a (well-earned?) culture of distrust against authority and institutions that opened the door to vaccine rejection and to conspiratorial views. He was respectful of those who held opposing views of the vaccine. Joe was sanctimonious, and we would expect, but Dan Darling comported himself precisely as a man of God should.
You would think the NRB would honor him, since this kind of dialogue seems to be in line with their stated views.
Look at this tweet from NRB.
We are committed to fighting for the right of Christian communicators to speak freely and truthfully without fear of censorship. https://t.co/7DchOjxjSm
— NRB (@NRBassociation) August 13, 2021
On their Twitter site, these words appear:
NRB is the world’s largest association of Christian communicators. Since 1944, we have worked to protect free speech and foster excellence in communication.
Dan Darling lives out what he says, but evidently the board of the NRB does not. Nearly a month after Dan spoke, they have decided that Dan, for being respectful in stating an opinion that differs from the radical conspiracy theorists who seem to control religious broadcasting and evidently, the Board of Directors of the NRB, is unfit for employment there.
They have fired Dan WITHOUT SEVERANCE (he has a family) for expressing his views respectfully and not kowtowing broadcasters who loudly spout anti-vaxx theories and sow division in the church.
HAVE WE LOST OUR MINDS?
I have family members who refuse the vaccine and I have lost family members and friends to COVID. It is a tough subject and people’s feelings run strong. Have we lost our minds so fully that a man who calmly and kindly expresses an opinion that runs counter to the wild-eyed views of some religious broadcasters must be silenced? Have anti-vaxx viewpoints become part of some kind of new evangelical orthodoxy? Are we governed by the Bible or do extreme right-wing politics control the church and conservative religious institutions now? Evidently, at the NRB, only extremist anti-vaxxers are welcome to state their views.
By the way, the NRB used the excuse that “Dan was insubordinate.” He was their spokesman and it took them a month to get to this point. It is clear that he spoke as he was supposed to, but then the powerful anti-vaxx extremists raised issues about what he said. The NRB bowed to them and asked Dan to renounce his conscience, which he would not do. Dan is a man of honor.
An article in “Religion News” reviews the facts fairly well. Bart Barber has recorded an excellent video on VIMEO that expresses his opinion (and with which I agree entirely). He shows how by kowtowing to certain extremist views among religious broadcasters, we are sowing discord among our churches.
This is shameful. The National Religious Broadcasters should at the very least apologize to Dan and should give him a generous severance. Stop blaming liberalism and wokeism for the troubles in the church. When we have abandoned the Bible to kowtow to radical right-wing politics, we shouldn’t wonder why we are losing ground.
This is wrong, and evidence of the departure of evangelicalism from biblical moorings. The NRB got this one WAY wrong. We need more men like Dan Darling representing Christ well in the church and in the public arena.
If we have reached the point where the kindness and grace shown by Dan Darling in expressing his views is no longer acceptable in our “religious” world, we may have bigger problems than Delta variant COVID.