Results from a nationwide survey reveal that nearly half (a whopping 47%) of mainline pastors approve of and “see nothing wrong” with same-sex marriage.
Lifeway Research conducted a phone survey on 1,000 Protestant pastors to get their take on same-sex marriage and civil unions between August 30 and September 24 last year and compared it with results from previous surveys taken in 2018 and 2010, and a nearly double-digit (9%) increase in approval of the former was registered over the decade.
Many mainline pastors embrace culture, not Bible
The increase in Protestant pastors’ support of same-sex marriage since 2010 is mostly credited to those from mainline denominations, while evangelical pastors’ approval remained at the same low level.
“In 2010, 8% of self-identified evangelical Protestant pastors said they saw nothing wrong with two people of the same gender getting married, while 32% of self-identified mainline Protestant pastors said the same,” Lifeway revealed. “Today, as a decade ago, 8% of evangelical pastors say they have no issues with same-sex marriage. Among mainline pastors, however, support has jumped from a third to almost half (47%).”
Nearly half of the more liberal denominations’ pastors are on board with the LGBT agenda.
“Presbyterian or Reformed (49%), Methodist (47%), Lutheran (35%) and Christian/Church of Christ pastors (20%) are more likely to see nothing wrong with same-sex marriage than Baptist (3%) or Pentecostal pastors (1%),” the statistics show.
Lifeway Research Executive Director Scott McConnell gave two possible reasons for evangelicals not buying in to the homosexual agenda.
“The stability in the views of evangelical pastors means either there has been no growth in acceptance of same-sex marriage among them, or the pastors that no longer have moral reservations about it no longer identify as evangelical,” McConnell reasoned.
Overall, about one in four Protestant pastors give a thumbs-up to same-sex marriage.
“In the most recent survey, 24% of pastors say they see nothing wrong with two people of the same gender getting married, [while] almost three-quarters say they disagree (72%), with 67% strongly disagreeing,” the researchers divulged. “The near quarter of pastors in support of same-sex marriage are up from previous LifeWay Research studies—20% in 2018 and 15% in 2010.”
Pastors embracing same-sex civil unions have also been on rise over the past decade.
“[Today], around a third (32%) say they see nothing wrong with civil unions between two people of the same gender, [while] almost two-thirds (63%) say they disagree, with a majority (54%) strongly disagreeing,” Lifeway informed. “In the 2010 LifeWay Research survey, 27% of Protestant pastors were supportive of same-sex civil unions, while 70% of pastors disagreed.”
Most pastors believe that just because radical judges legalize immoral behavior, it doesn’t make it right – or usurp God’s Word.
“More than four years after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, most Protestant pastors still see a moral problem with it,” McConnell observed. “More pastors are protective of marriage itself, but legal civil unions also are seen as wrong by most pastors.”
Different demographic groups were found to be more likely to embrace sexually immoral behavior.
“In addition to mainline pastors being more likely than evangelicals, white pastors (27%) are more likely to see nothing wrong with same-sex marriage than African American pastors (15%) or pastors of other ethnicities (6%),” Lifeway added. “Those with a doctorate (27%) or a master’s degree (32%) are more likely to support same-sex marriage than pastors with a bachelor’s degree (9%) or no college degree (6%).”
The smaller the church, the more welcoming it is of same-sex marriage.
“Pastors of churches with fewer than 50 in attendance are more likely to see nothing wrong with two people of the same gender getting married (33%) than those at churches with 100 or more in attendance (19%),” researchers noted.
When all is said and done, what it all comes down to is that evangelicals put God above man.
“The movement we see among pastors’ views of same-sex marriage has less to do with their denominational tradition than their view of the Bible,” McConnell stressed. “An evangelical distinctive is the ultimate authority the Bible has over one’s beliefs despite changing cultural perspectives, [so] it is not surprising … that evangelical pastors across different denominations continue to view same-sex marriage as wrong through this lens.”