Monday, July 03, 2006

Regular Church-Attenders Oppose Gay Clergy

With all the turmoil in the Episcopal Church, the PCUSA, the RCA and many other denominations over the matter of gay clergy a recent Rassmussen Reports poll offers a glimpse into the minds of those most affected, the people in the pews:

"Is it appropriate for gay and lesbian church members to serve as pastors and bishops in a Christian Church? Two thirds (67%) of those who attend Church weekly say no. Just 27% of those faithful worshippers say yes.

Self-identified Evangelical Christians oppose gay and lesbian pastors by an 80% to 15% margin. Other Protestants oppose such pastors by a 2-to-1 margin while Catholics are nearly evenly divided.

The only demographic group to favor gay and lesbian pastors are those who rarely or never attend church. Among this segment of the population, 49% believe such pastors are appropriate. Thirty-nine percent (39%) disagree.

One point of common ground is that the government has no business getting involved in this discussion. Eighty-six percent (86%) of all voters agree that church policy about gay pastors should be decided by churches. Just 7% believe the government should require churches to allow gay and lesbian members in leadership positions.

Three years after the U.S. Episcopal Church roiled congregations by consecrating a gay man as bishop, national conventions of the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church have revisited the issue of gay church leadership. At the Episcopal Church's convention this June, delegates vetoed a proposed moratorium on appointing more gay bishops, but in a technically non-binding resolution urged church leaders to exercise restraint in their appointments—an elliptically worded compromise few are comfortable with.

Among those who attend churches that are growing,just 26% believe it is appropriate to appoint gay and lesbian church leaders.Sixty-six percent (66%) are opposed.

Opinion is more evenly divided in churches with declining attendance. Forty-four percent (44%) of those in declining churches say it is appropriate for gay and lesbian leadership appointments. Forty percent (40%) disagree.

Those who believe the Bible is literally true strongly oppose gay and lesbian pastors. Those who do not view the Bible as literally true strongly favor the appointment of gay and lesbian pastors."
The last few lines are the most telling for me. When the Bible loses ultimate authority then anything goes. As one Episcopal bishop put it: "The church wrote the Bible, the church can rewrite the Bible." Until the Bible is once again the foundation of truth for God's people we will continue this downward spiral into further and further aberration and false teaching. Any real hope for change comes when the people in the pews demand that the leadership of the church returns to the clear teaching of God's Word and not the social experimentation of the culture at large.

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