Daniel Darling fired from NRB after pro-vaccine remarks …… | News and reports
Daniel Darling, an evangelical author and spokesperson for National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), spoke this month about his decision to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in an editorial in United States today and a segment on MSNBC.
As of Friday, his words cost him his post at the ministry.
Darling was fired from NRB this week when he refused to sign a statement claiming his pro-vaccine messages amounted to insubordination, a source told CT on his behalf.
In a statement, Darling said he was “sad and disappointed that [his] time at NRB is over.
Darling joined NRB as Senior Vice President of Communications in April 2020, after a six-year stint as Vice President of Communications at the Ethics and Religious Freedom Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC).
NRB, which considers itself the largest association of Christian communicators, has over 1,100 members working in radio, television and other Christian media. Part of the group’s goal, he says, is to defend the “free speech rights of our members.”
In the aftermath of Darling’s sacking, some evangelicals have expressed concern that NRB is challenging its own positions on free speech and anti-censorship, or that it align with conservative radio experts at the expense of a leader like Darling.
NRB CEO Troy Miller confirmed Darling’s departure in an email to Religion News Service, which first reported the story, but did not elaborate on the reason. “Dan is a great communicator and a great friend,” Miller said. “I wish him the best of God in all his future endeavors.”
This summer, the spread of the delta variant has prompted officials and community leaders to call for vaccination again. White evangelicals have become less hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine than they were in the spring, but in recent surveys they still lag behind Americans overall.
Darling described how the vaccine has been shown to save lives and how he didn’t want anyone else to die needlessly from the coronavirus. He lamented how a growing lack of trust in institutions has played a role in the current divisions over the vaccine.
“There aren’t many things in the world today that are worth our trust, but I sincerely believe the COVID-19 vaccine is one of them,” Darling wrote in an August 1 editorial in United States today. “As a Christian and an American, I was proud to get it.”
He discussed the play on Morning Joe, similarly telling host Joe Scarborough, “When we get a vaccine, not only are we protecting ourselves, but we’re also doing our part to avoid spreading the virus and hurting our neighbors.”
The source speaking for Darling said he was fired without compensation. Friends, evangelicals and Southern Baptist brothers on Twitter have defended Darling and criticized the move.
Russell Moore, TC public theologian and former colleague of Darling at the ERLC, called the “madness” and “inexcusable” decision. Nathan Finn, Dean of North Greenville University, noted, “People are going to come out of the woods in his defense, and rightly so.”
In Darling’s statement, he referred to Jesus’ prayer in John 17 and his desire for believers to unite and “be one” around the truth of the gospel.
“I am saddened that the issues that divide our country also divide Christians,” he said. “My desire is to build bridges and to bring Christians together around our common mission to love Jesus and to love our neighbor, but unfortunately we are sometimes tempted by the same things that tempt the world.”