Akron, OH, June 17, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- The nationwide survey conducted by the Center for the Study of American Culture and Faith showed that more than nine out of every ten conservative pastors (95%) remain opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage, and most of them are vehemently opposed. Overall, 88% of the pastors described themselves as “strongly opposed,” 7% were somewhat opposed, and the remaining 5% were divided between those who favor legalizing same-sex marriage (3%) and those who would not take a stand on the issue (2%).
A concurrent survey of American adults conducted by Pew Research found very different attitudes among the public at large. About half (49%) said they favor allowing gay people to legally marry, while slightly less than half (44%) are opposed. The remaining 8% had not clarified their position on the issue.
Conservative pastors show little willingness to reconsider their position on the matter. Only one out of every 33 pastors (3%) said they had changed their position at some point in time, and all reported that they changed from opposing to favoring legal same-sex marriage. Among the general public, however, one out of every six adults had changed their mind – 14% moving from opposition to support and just 2% changing from support to opposition. Both surveys found that the discovery that a family member, friend or acquaintance is homosexual was the most common reason for changing from opposition to support.
A concern that legalizing same-sex marriage will erode religious freedom is a driving reason behind the opposition of conservative pastors. The Center’s survey found that three-fourths (75%) believe that allowing same-sex marriage is a step toward eliminating religious freedom. Just one out of every eight conservative pastors (13%) believe that legalizing same-sex marriage is simply an expression of personal freedom that has nothing to do with religious freedom, and an equal proportion of pastors (13%) are not sure where they stand on this issue.
According to Bill Dallas, who is the director of the Center for the Study of American Culture and Faith, which conducted the pastor survey, “Conservative pastors look at same-sex marriage as one of the places where they must draw a line in the sand. They view caving in on this issue as tantamount to allowing public policy to both reject biblical moral principles and to begin a presumably unstoppable process of eroding religious freedom in general.”
The survey data comparison between the adult public and theologically-conservative Protestant pastors is based on national surveys conducted in a similar timeframe. Those studies included the following research projects:
The survey among pastors of Protestant churches was conducted by The Center for the Study of American Culture and Faith during March and April 2013 among a nationally representative sample of 413 theologically-conservative pastors. The estimated maximum amount of sampling error associated with that sample is +5.0 percentage points.
The Pew survey among the general public was conducted by the Pew Research Center in March 2013 among a nationally representative sample of 1,501 people 18 or older. The estimated maximum amount of sampling error associated with that sample is +2.6 percentage points.
The same questions were asked of respondents in both surveys to provide an accurate comparison of opinions.
About the Center for the Study of American Culture and Faith
The Center for the Study of American Culture and Faith regularly conducts surveys on issues of national importance for the purpose of helping to educate the public about the impact that culture and faith have on elections.
The Center for the Study of American Culture and Faith is a division of United in Purpose Education, a 501c3 whose mission is to promote traditional Judeo-Christian principles in American society through values education, research, voter outreach, marketing strategies, and technology tools.
More information about the Center for the Study of American Culture and Faith and its work can be found at www.culturefaith.com.