Daniel Darling said he was given a chance to renounce his support for COVID-19 vaccines, which he had expressed on MSNBC's Morning Joe. In an interview this month, Darling, senior vice president of communications for the National Religious Broadcasters, told host Joe Scarborough that he was proud to be vaccinated. "I believe in this vaccine because I don't want to see anyone else die of COVID," Darling said. His employer told him last week that his comments broke the organization's policy of neutrality on the vaccines, the Religious News Service reports. Darling was told he could sign a statement saying he was insubordinate, or he could be fired. He didn't sign.
Darling also had encouraged Christians to be vaccinated in an op-ed in USA Today. "There are not many things in the world today that are worthy of our trust, but I sincerely believe the COVID-19 vaccine is one of them," Darling wrote. "As a Christian and an American, I was proud to get it." Troy Miller, chief executive of the broadcasters group, declined to address the issue but wrote in an email: "Dan is an excellent communicator and a great friend. I wish him God's best in all his future endeavors." Darling relayed word that he received no severance. The Christian nonprofit says more than 1,000 organizations belong to it.
Miller later posted a rebuttal in Twitter, arguing points raised on social media and contending, among other things, that Darling had been offered another job. The provost at North Greenville University, who said he's a friend of Darling's, called the NRB's decision unconscionable. "People are going to come out of the woodwork in his defense—and rightly so," Nathan Finn tweeted. Some evangelicals wondered whether the organization violated its policies advocating free speech and opposing censorship. An ethicist and theologian who once was Darling's boss elsewhere said he'll have "a bright future elsewhere," per Christianity Today. But, Russell Moore tweeted, "this is inexcusable." (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)