Home Pastors Pastors have an obligation of facts | Journalist

Pastors have an obligation of facts | Journalist


Here is an example of how easily misinformation about Covid-19 can spread. Last week, at a press conference calling on the government to withdraw its policy requiring public sector workers to be vaccinated, Pastor Victor Gill, who leads a church in Laventille, said some things that were untrue, showed a misunderstanding of demographics and demonstrated an inability to gather statistical data.

Gill is part of a group of churchmen, TT Response, who are pushing back against vaccination and doing so inside and outside their churches. He was joined at presscon by pastors Lennox Grant and Michael McDowell, and Bishop Wayne Baptiste.

On a particular day, Gill said, Israel had a vaccination rate of 97.4% and 30,772 new infections; and Kenya has a vaccination rate of 13.8% and 392 new cases. Therefore, he concluded, “countries that are less vaccinated do much better than countries that are more vaccinated.”

Where to start? With the dubious numbers, his probationary and logical leap to arrive at a global conclusion based on just two seemingly hand-picked countries, or big variables he doesn’t take into account? The New York Times has a great daily tracker that puts all the daily updated immunization data for all countries into an interactive graph.

“Fully vaccinated” varies. In Israel, a country that has begun administering second boosters (four in total), 74% of the population received a dose, according to NYT data. The proportion of the population that his medical facility lists as fully vaccinated is 67%. So strictly a matter of fact, Gill is way off.

It is closer to the mark in Kenya, where only 12% of the country’s population has received a dose, and only 9.7% are considered fully immunized. The two countries have significant differences. Israel has notable pockets of poverty, there is sometimes a blurring of lines between the pre-1967 border state and the illegally expanded state today, and the supply to Palestinian communities in the territories it occupies is of lower quality; but it is overall much more advanced in providing medical care than Kenya.

Additionally, Kenya has an area of ​​half a million square kilometres, a population of 53 million, and a population density of 94 people per square kilometer. For Israel, these figures are 22,000 km2, 9.2 million and 400 per km2. Without even considering access to vaccines and the overall quality of medical care, large demographic differences have implications for the ability to perform tests.

Kenya is a predominantly rural country, Israel is highly urbanized and more developed. Access to the most remote corners of the East African country is more difficult than it is to the ends of Israel (no matter where you consider them). We are talking about mangoes and olives. With Kenya, we don’t know what we don’t know.

There was a lot more that was wrong. I don’t have the space to list everything. It seems to me that the basis for comparing these two countries stems from coming to a conclusion first, working backwards, and not looking too selectively or analytically for data to validate preconceived positions. And while facts are stubborn things, correct analysis is the primary victim of misinformation, and nuance is the innocent bystander killed by stray bullets.

I say “disinformation” and not “disinformation”. The first is an accidental lie; the latter is voluntary. Because they are men of God, I choose to believe in their inherent goodness and goodwill. So I’m going to take the hopeful and redeeming view that Pastor Gill didn’t know what he was talking about.

I am also confident that he and his fellow leaders will recant statements that prove to be false. We know what the good book says about lies, and as far as I know it doesn’t distinguish between intentional and unintentional. I am not an expert on these issues. Please feel free to correct me.

With regard to vaccination, a clear division has emerged between the churches of Trinidad and Tobago. At the end of December, seven churches suggested vaccination against Covid-19, echoing the same community point of view that had been shared in this space a few days before Christmas.

“Although you have free choice…we invite you to see what modern science has done to combat so many of the diseases that haunted the world 50 years ago – poliomyelitis, measles, tetanus, influenza, hepatitis B, mumps, chickenpox , malaria, etc. “, they said in their press release.

“At the service of all, many have been vaccinated”.

Previously, the Council of Evangelical Churches – more to the right – declared its opposition to compulsory vaccination. TT Response goes further with total opposition. He misused the data to draw direct and explicit links between Covid deaths and vaccination in the T&T. As we are increasingly vaccinated, Gill said at last week’s press conference and constantly from the pulpit, more and more people have died. “Higher vaccination percentages are directly proportional to higher death and infection rates,” McDowell falsely claimed.

‘Poison’, ‘evil’, ‘barbaric’ and ‘abominable’ were all words they deployed. Resistance pastors can’t seem to reconcile the contradiction of claiming to be for choice and claiming that the thing you’re willing to make your flock choose will cause their death. Either it doesn’t make sense or it’s cynical and dishonest. Once again, I will summon their good angels, and choose to believe that they have not seen the contradiction.

The author is a media consultant at oringordon.com