Southern Baptists Convention’s Embarrassing Poll

Oops. There’s a saying among lawyers (and some parents) that you shouldn’t ask a question you don’t want to hear the answer to. Well, the Southern Baptist Convention just asked a lot of questions about anti-gay discrimination and marriage equality and found out that most Americans don’t think like the Southern Baptist Convention.

The survey found that 58 percent of Americans believe homosexuality is a civil rights issue “like age, race, and gender,” and 64 percent think same-sex marriage is inevitable in the United States.

Perhaps the worst news for the Southern Baptists is that even among Americans who call themselves born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist Christians, only 19 percent believe employers should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of “sexual preference” and only 39 percent believe the same about landlords. The numbers are only slightly more SBC-friendly among people who report going to religious services at least once a week: 22 and 41 percent respectively. Among the public at large, those pro-discrimination numbers are just 14 and 27 percent.

The best news in the poll for the SBC is the majority of Americans who agree that pastors should be allowed to refuse to officiate at same-sex weddings and that photographers should be free to refuse to photograph them. 

Peter Montgomery, an associate editor for Religion Dispatches, is a Senior Fellow at People For the American Way Foundation where he was on staff for 15 years. Before that he was associate director of grassroots lobbying for Common Cause and wrote for Common Cause Magazine, an award-winning journal featuring investigative reporting about the federal government.