Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said this week that Christians are “a little less scared” of COVID-19 because they “believe in eternal life.”
“I’m often asked by some of my friends on the other side of the aisle about COVID,” he said last week, “and why does it seem like folks in Mississippi and maybe the mid-South are a little less scared, shall we say. When we believe in eternal life — when you believe that living on this earth is but a blip on the screen — then you don’t have to be so scared of things.”
He doubled down on those comments Monday, when a reporter for The Associated Press asked Reeves to clarify his comments. In response, the governor said he “meant … exactly” what he said.
“Now, I feel certain you read the article in which the very sentence after I said what you just asked,” he explained. “I also said that the Bible also teaches us to take necessary precautions. And, in our state and in our nation right now, there are certainly necessary precautions that we can take with respect to COVID. But I believe very strongly in my faith.”
Reeves then cited John 3:16 — “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” — to make his case.
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“I believe very strongly what the Bible says,” the governor continued. “[A]nd that is my worldview. It’s how I believe; it’s what drives me every single day, and I think it’s what drives a large number of Mississippians. We should take necessary precautions with respect to COVID, but we also understand that we do have everlasting life if we believe in Jesus — if we believe in God the Father — and I certainly do.”
Reeves made his initial comments about Christians and COVID-19 infections on Aug. 26, during a fundraiser held at the home of Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Brent Taylor, according to the Daily Memphian.
For several years, Mississippi has retained its standing as the most religious state in the union, with 59% of residents describe themselves as “very religious.” And currently, only 38% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while 47% of the state has received at least one dose of an inoculation.