ELCA NEWS SERVICE
August 13, 2009
ELCA Clergy Support Gay, Lesbian Rights, Ordination, Survey Says
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Results of a national survey show that a majority of clergy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) -- 54 percent -- support ordination "with no special requirements" for people who are gay or lesbian, according to an Aug. 5 news release.
The Clergy Voices Survey was reported in May 2009 by Public Religion Research, an independent public opinion research organization that provides "research-based" information and advice on religion, values and public policy. Public Religion Research is based in Washington D.C.
"ELCA clergy are generally supportive of a range of rights for gay and lesbian people both inside and outside the church," said Dr. Robert P. Jones, president of Public Religion Research, which conducted the study. "ELCA clergy also strongly believe that the gospel message requires full inclusion of gay and lesbian members in the life of the church," he said.
Nearly one-third (32 percent) of ELCA clergy said that people who are gay or lesbian should be eligible for ordination only if they are celibate, according to the news release from Public Religion Research. Fourteen percent of ELCA clergy said that people who are gay or lesbian should not be eligible for ordination at all, the release said.
The survey results showed that 46 percent of ELCA clergy support performing same-sex marriages in states where they are legal, according to the release.
The survey was conducted by mail among a national random sample of senior clergy serving congregations in the seven largest mainline Protestant denominations, the release said. The Clergy Voices Survey contained more than 250 questions and generated 2,658 respondents with a response rate of 44 percent, the release said.
Full results of the study are at http://www.publicreligion.org/research/?id=208 on the Web. The news release regarding ELCA clergy findings is at http://www.publicreligion.org/blog/index.php?s=ELCA on the Web.
The 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly -- the highest legislative authority of the 4.6-million member church -- will consider a proposed social statement for the church, "Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust," and a report and recommendation for a process to changes ministry policies, Aug 17-23 in Minneapolis. If adopted, the ministry policies recommendation would make it possible for Lutherans who are in "publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gendered relationships" to serve as ELCA associates in ministry, deaconesses, diaconal ministers and ordained ministers.
Information on Public Religion Research can be found at http://www.publicreligion.org on the Web.
Information on the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly can be found at http://www.ELCA.org/assembly on the Web.
* Carrie L. Draeger is a senior communication major with a concentration in journalism at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Wash. This summer she is an intern with the ELCA News Service.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or email@example.com
ELCA News Blog: http://www.elca.org/news/blog