A report released today by Public Religion Research finds that mainline Protestant clergy are broadly supportive of equality for gay and lesbian Americans. The report is based on the most in-depth study ever conducted of theological and political attitudes among Mainline clergy toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in the church and society.
“Mainline clergy are generally more supportive of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans than the general public,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, President of Public Religion Research, which conducted the study. “Clergy in these denominations have wrestled with theological questions around sexuality and report that they’ve been moving toward more supportive positions on equal rights in society and full inclusion in the church.”
The Clergy Voices Survey (CVS) is the only survey of Mainline clergy in seven years, and the most comprehensive ever in scope. Findings on broad social and political attitudes and behavior during the 2008 election cycle were released earlier this spring; the report released today analyzes the answers to more than 60 in-depth questions about attitudes toward sexuality and the role of LGBT people in the church and broader society.
Martin Marty, a leading scholar on Mainline Protestantism, said the “Uncertain Middle” identified in the survey illustrates a paradox of what he calls Ecumenical Protestantism. “Because it seeks to minister to an ever more pluralist America and internally diverse church, it concentrates on conversation more than confrontation, dialogue more than diatribe.” Marty says this characteristic “represents one strength of this group of clergy who are well-suited to our current task of living justly together amidst our differences.”