Reports: NRB Spokesperson Fired for Pro-Vaccine Comments

(Image credit: MSNBC)

According to various reports, Dan Darling, senior VP for communications for the National Religious Broadcasters, has been fired after comments he made supporting vaccines against COVID-19.

Darling made the comments on MSNBC's Morning Joe and in a USA Today op ed titled: "Why as a Christian and an American I got the COVID Vaccine." reported that following the remarks, which apparently violated NRB policy about remaining neutral on vaccines, Darling was given the choice of publicly stating he had been insubordinate or leaving, and chose the latter.

The Evangelical community is divided over the vaccine, with White evangelicals having a high refusal rate, according to U.S. News and World Report, while some NRB members actively support the vaccine, NRB itself points out.

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For example, Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and son of iconic religious broadcaster Billy Graham, has, according to NRB, "said that he thanked God for the doctors and researchers who were involved in developing these vaccines and for the resources that made it possible," and has said that "he hoped the American people would use these vaccines."

Darling had said in the USA Today piece that he believed in getting the vaccine because "I don't want to see anyone else die of COVID," citing "an uncle, a beloved church member, and our piano teacher," all of whom had succumbed to the virus.

On Aug. 18 in a Morning Joe segment on the Darling op ed, tied to Pope Francis encouraging the faithful to get vaccinated as an "act of love," Darling said the idea of loving your neighbor translates to not spreading the virus. 

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He said he was not shaming those who don't get the vaccine and understood it was a big decision, but encouraged folks to talk to their doctor.

An NRB spokesperson had not returned an e-mail request for comment Saturday morning (Aug. 28) and Darling was unreachable at press time.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.