Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mainline Protestant Clergy Support Broad Rights for Gay & Lesbian Americans

May 20, 2009

PRR released major findings on Mainline clergy views on theology and gay and lesbian issues. The Clergy Voices Survey (CVS), conducted by Public Religion Research, is the most comprehensive survey of Mainline Protestant clergy ever conducted, and the new report provides the most in-depth examination of clergy views on LGBT issues to date.

"We found that 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. "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."

Martin Marty, a leading scholar on Mainline Protestantism, said the "Uncertain Middle"--a group 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."

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