Pastor Says He Was Fired From Religious Broadcasting Group for Promoting COVID Vaccines

Evangelical pastor Daniel Darling said he was let go from his position as National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) spokesperson this past Friday for advocating that people get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Darling, whose official title at the NRB was senior vice president of communications, said he was fired for a pro-vaccination op-ed he wrote for USA Today and media appearances he made to discuss his stance on vaccinations in relation to his faith.

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A pastor (not pictured) who worked as a spokesperson for National Religious Broadcasters said he was fired for supporting COVID-19 vaccines, but the international association of evangelical communicators disputes his account. Getty Images

The USA Today piece was published on August 1, and a little more than two weeks later, Darling appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe to discuss the issues it addressed. Talking with host Joe Scarborough, Darling said his Christian faith was one of the major reasons he got vaccinated.

He cited "we ought to love our neighbor" as a reason, saying that vaccinated people not only protect themselves but also are less likely to infect others.

"I believe in this vaccine because I don't want to see anyone else die of COVID. Our family has lost too many close friends and relatives to COVID, including an uncle, a beloved church member and our piano teacher," Darling said on Morning Joe.

On Monday, Darling wrote a follow-up piece for USA Today about his firing. In it, he said, "I was dismissed from my job last week after I publicly shared my experience getting the COVID-19 vaccination."

He continued, "While I don't believe that I violated their policy, I harbor no animosity toward my former employer, who are my brothers and sisters in Christ. It was an honor to serve Christian communicators who work every day to share the gospel around the world."

The NRB, an international association of evangelical communicators, confirmed to the Religion News Service (RNS) that Darling was no longer with the organization.

"Dan is an excellent communicator and a great friend. I wish him God's best in all his future endeavors," NRB CEO Troy Miller told RNS in an email. RNS reported that Miller did not respond to a question about whether Darling's vaccine statements resulted in his termination.

But in a follow-up statement posted on Twitter, Miller denied that Darling was fired. He said that the former spokesperson was instead offered another position within the NRB. Miller added that Darling "turned that offer down and chose to depart NRB."

Miller also wrote that no employee at the organization has ever been let go because of a stance on COVID-19 vaccines.

My response to the RNS article.

— Troy A. Miller (@troymiller95) August 29, 2021

In a statement shared by Ruth Graham of The New York Times on Twitter, Darling said that he was "sad and disappointed that my time at NRB has come to a close."

"I am grieved that the issues that divide our country are dividing Christians," he added.

Statement from @dandarling on his firing today.

— Ruth Graham (@publicroad) August 27, 2021