Former NIH director Francis Collins was wrong on many of his Covid talking points. In some cases, he was intentionally dishonest. Months after Collins was exposed, evangelical leaders still haven’t apologised for lending him their platform.
Three months on from Megan Basham’s scathing report on the evangelical leaders who platformed former NIH director Francis Collins, not one of them has addressed Collins’ Covid email scandal, or even responded to the Daily Wire for comment.
This was among the concerning revelations in Basham’s latest offering: an 18-minute YouTube documentary on how now-discredited Covid narratives infiltrated American churches.
“The federal government used evangelical leaders to spread Covid propaganda,” Basham’s presentation begins. “These weren’t just messages about getting vaccinated,” she clarifies, “but also arguing for government vaccine mandates.” The Daily Wire culture reporter adds:
Collins also used the platforms of his church leader friends to urge pastors to teach their congregations that if they wanted to obey Jesus’ command to love their neighbours, then they must comply with government mandates on keeping churches closed, and businesses closed, and keeping children masked.
When Leaders Lack Discernment
The failure of these respected evangelical leaders and ministries to set the record straight on Francis Collins — who has since become the nation’s top science advisor — is deeply troubling.
Christianity Today magazine, the Billy Graham Center, missions expert Ed Stetzer, the Gospel Coalition, pastor Timothy Keller, theologian N.T. Wright, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Center, and Russell Moore all used their positions of influence to elevate Collins and his Covid talking points, which came directly from the Biden White House.
Much of what Collins told them has since been discredited.
These luminaries urged the pastors tuning in to spread government-approved views to their congregations. They insisted that Collins was not just a medical expert, but a fellow Christian brother.
“Francis Collins is a follower of Jesus Christ, so tonight you get to hear from someone speaking not only as an expert, but also as a Christian who loves the Lord,” one Christianity Today broadcast began. What Collins says is trustworthy, in other words.
The Francis Collins Scandal
In fact, on February 14th, a U.S. congressional committee announced that it is now investigating Collins and Anthony Fauci “for deliberately suppressing information surrounding the lab leak hypothesis for politically-driven purposes,” Basham reports:
Leaked emails now show that Collins and his subordinate, Anthony Fauci, knew in February of 2020 that many experts believed Covid may have escaped from a Chinese facility. Yet only two months later, a Christianity Today livestream event framed the question as a conspiracy — a conspiracy Collins roundly dismissed.
After Collins made statements like this, leaders like Ed Stetzer wrote essays in Christian publications, telling readers that to spread the lab leak hypothesis was to commit the sin of spreading conspiracy theories and gossip.
At the same time these interviews were taking place, Collins knew that top U.S. and British scientists suspected the Wuhan Institute of Virology — not nature — as the source of the virus. And he was eager to bury the theory, fearful of “great potential harm to science and international harm”.
Ed Stetzer ended one of his interviews with Francis Collins by announcing a formal partnership with the NIH and the CDC, and a new website hosted by the Billy Graham Centre called Coronavirus and the Church.
Basham reveals that “some major pastors like Rick Warren even joined Collins in pleading with faith leaders to take up the cause of suppressing Covid views federal authorities didn’t approve of”. Where do the Christians — whose correct views on Covid were suppressed by these leaders — now go for their apology?
Moreover, Basham asks, “Why did major ministries feel compelled to listen to Collins, and almost no other medical experts but Collins?”
At the very least, these Christian leaders should have questioned whether it is a pastor’s role to collaborate with the government in spreading politicised Covid messaging.
Francis Collins: A Strange Ambassador
Francis Collins always was “a strange ambassador for the Biden administration to send to Christian communities,” Basham remarks. Despite Christianity Today describing Collins as someone who “believes in the sanctity of human life”, Basham notes that “his expressed views as head of the NIH fall far short afield of most pro-lifers”. She continues:
He’s not only defended experimentation on fetuses obtained by abortion, he’s also directed record-level spending toward it.
Among the priorities the NIH has funded under Collins: University of Pittsburg projects that relied on the harvested organs of late-term aborted babies — potentially even including babies past term, up to 42 weeks of development…
Based on documents released by Judicial Watch, multiple physicians even charged Collins with giving grants to research that required extracting kidneys, ureters and bladders from still-living infants.
Francis Collins has declared himself an “ally and advocate” of the gay and trans movements. According to Basham, he also personally promoted an NIH initiative that effectively awarded “millions in grants to experimental transgender research on minors, like giving opposite-sex hormones to children as young as 8, and mastectomies to girls as young as 13”.
Just as concerning, another NIH project awarded US$8 million under Collins included “recruiting teen boys to track their homosexual activities like “condomless anal sex” on an app without their parents’ consent,” she reports.
FrancisCollins: a Political Figure
Collins maintains that he is a scientist and not a political person. And yet Basham provides significant evidence to the contrary. At a University of Chicago event, he decried “white evangelicals” for supporting Trump, calling it a “devil’s bargain” that has done “great damage to the credibility of the church”.
Collins has also blamed President Trump for causing Covid deaths, stating on a leaked audio recording, “great harm was done the people in this nation by a very, very self-involved and misguided president in the previous administration, and hundreds of thousands of people have died who should not have had to do so.”
This despite the fact that far more Americans have died with Covid-19 under the Biden administration, during which time vaccines and other treatments have been readily available.
“When Collins officially retired from the NIH three months ago amid scandal over those leaked emails, evangelical pundit David French called him a ‘national treasure’, Basham writes. “Russel Moore praised him as a model of ‘Christian humility and grace’.”
In Megan Basham’s most devastating blow to the credibility of these evangelical leaders, she reveals:
None of the Christian ministries, media outlets or pastors featured in this report disclosed Collins’ NIH record in their interviews with him. None of them addressed his email scandals since then, nor have they responded to inquiries from the Daily Wire.
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