The spokesman for the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), Pastor Daniel Darling, was fired for boasting about why it was important for him to get vaccinated. The company said that violated an internal policy that asks employees to stay neutral about COVID-19 vaccines. This followed an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” NBC explains:

In his conversation with MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, Darling said faith played an important role in his decision to get vaccinated, particularly the idea that “we ought to love our neighbor.” By getting the vaccine, people don’t only protect themselves, but become less likely to infect others, he said.

Darling also urged leaders to stop politicizing vaccines “because I don’t want to see anyone else die of Covid,” he said.

Darling was on the program to talk about a column he wrote for USA Today titled, “Why as a Christian, and an American, I got the COVID vaccine.” NBC says following the TV appearance, NRB officials asked Darling to sign a letter admitting insubordination. He refused and was subsequently fired. NRB is described as “an international association of Christian communicators with 1,100 member organizations.”

During an interview on CNN today, Darling was gracious about his unplanned exit from the association calling it “a disagreement among good friends.” He did, however, defend his actions:

I didn’t feel like I was violating a policy of neutrality because I spoke of my own experience of getting the vaccine and I really tried to speak to some of the hesitancy and fears that many who have not gotten it still have and encourage people to talk to their doctors. I don’t believe the way to persuade people is to shame and to, you know, to cancel. I think the way to do that is to have understanding. This is what I tried to do and it’s unfortunate that this happened… I wish my former employer well.”

Darling has received an outpouring of support from community members, including some of whom are unvaccinated:

“I’ve talked to quite a few folks, who after seeing my comments and reading the op-ed… who said, you were really fair to us, who were hesitant, and I’m really going to think through this, talk to my doctor and see about getting vaccinated.”

After Religion News Service broke the news that Darling “was fired for promoting vaccines,” the CEO of NRB issued the following statement on Twitter.

MSNBC’s Morning Joe addressed Darling’s termination today. Watch above.