Originally Posted by MJ1970
Oh for ****'s sake. Give it a rest.
The reason these stories are in the news is because...they're news. They're unusual. Use some common sense here.
There are around 300,000 - 400,000 christian churches in the US at which around 60,000,000 people regularly attend. What we have here is examples from 3-4 small churches (whose pastors appear to have gone rogue from their standard denominational doctrine), and assuming that everyone in those churches agreed 100% with what was done/said still is pretty miniscule. Here are the three churches we've heard of:
- Providence Road Baptist (Attendance: 300) in Maiden, NC (Pop: 3,500)
- Apostolic Truth Tabernacle (Attendance: guessing a few hundred) in Greensburg, IN (Pop: 11,000)
- New Hope Baptist Church (Attendance: guessing a couple hundred at most) in Seneca, KS (Pop: 2,000)
(A couple of which who have received death threats in a new ironic development.)
You also have large, major denominations to which a couple of these churches could be connected or associated denouncing this kind of thing.
If you think that these examples are representative of the a vast majority (or even a significant percentage above more than 5-10%) of Christians then let's have your "link to a peer-reviewed theological/psychological study."
Let's get serious.
Hatred towards gays is not representative of the broad swath of PUBLICLY EXPRESSED opinion in the mainstream US Christian establishment - which is what you are talking about - However, the "vast, vast majority of Christian behavior and thought" is privately held opinion, without a public platform or voice. The "vast, vast" majority of pastors may not express hatred from the pulpit, but what their flock tends to think on this issue is, afaik, unknown, unless you can point me to a properly sampled, scientific study, with favorable peer review, which elicits the actual opinions of the majority of mainstream church-going people.
However, considering that (a) the largest religious group in the US (by far) comes under the Christian umbrella, which represents approximately 80% of all Americans, or 94% of Americans that adhere to a religious faith, (b) there is a significant majority of Americans who either "disapprove or strongly disapprove" of the idea that two gay people can marry ie have the same civil rights as heterosexuals, and (c) according to the FBI, hate crimes against gays (amongst other non-approved groups) have been rising rapidly in recent years..... there *might* be some correlation between what the handful of extremist pastors are saying, and what many of their flock might think. However, as I iterated earlier, the "flock" does not have the public platform or motivation to express their viewpoints on this or other matters of faith and church policy, that church officials have.
How about the huge majority of pastors who do NOT express hatred towards gays? Almost uniformly, they don't express support for that community either, preferring to remain silent on the issue. The reasons the silence could well be that "disapproval or strong disapproval" from their flock... and perhaps even a heightened "sense of self-preservation" that a pastor from some rural parts of the Bible Belt probably has, as regards expressing such an issue.
The bottom line, from the CEO: Would Jesus disapprove of gay people to the point of exclusion from vital aspects of mainstream society, such as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
Edited by sammi jo - 6/1/12 at 3:02pm