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EDITORIAL: Agree with pastors?

It should come as no surprise that a recent study conducted by LifeWay Research has found that a majority of Southern Baptist Convention pastors differ in their views when compared to those held by average Americans on several key issues.

While some may deem such findings as proof that our pastors are culturally irrelevant, Southern Baptist church members should take great pride in knowing that our pastors are holding the line on many critical issues.

When it comes to physician-assisted suicide and embryonic stem cell research, the study found a considerable contrast between the opinions of SBC pastors and average Americans.

While half of Americans agreed that it is morally acceptable for a person facing a painful terminal disease to ask for a physician’s aid in taking his life, 81 percent of SBC pastors strongly disagreed with that position.

Southern Baptist pastors again broke with average Americans on embryonic stem cell research. Though 66 percent of Americans said embryonic stem cell research is morally acceptable given the potential for medical breakthroughs, only 6 percent of pastors agreed. Seventy-six percent of pastors strongly disagreed with embryonic stem cell research, and an additional 14 percent of pastors said they somewhat disagree with embryonic stem cell research.

The Baptist Messenger also found another portion of the study to be of particular interest. According to the study, SBC pastors overwhelmingly favor Republican John McCain over his two Democratic rivals, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Eighty percent of SBC pastors plan to vote for McCain, while 1 percent of pastors plan to support Obama. Clinton gained 0 percent of pastors’ support.

Fifteen percent of Southern Baptist pastors indicated they were undecided about their presidential votes, while 4 percent of pastors said they plan to vote for a candidate other than the three major contenders.

Based on past experience, the Baptist Messenger is confident most Oklahoma Baptists will say a hardy, “Amen!” to the perspectives the pastors have expressed regarding physician-assisted suicide and embryonic stem cell research, but when it comes to voting for the next President of the United States, be advised, people in the pews don’t always appreciate the pastors’ perspective. Do you agree?

What are your thoughts on these issues? Were you surprised that only 81 percent of SBC pastors strongly disagreed that it is morally acceptable for a person facing a painful terminal disease to ask for a physician’s aid in taking his life? How would you have responded regarding this issue? Sixty-six percent of Americans said embryonic stem cell research is morally acceptable; 6 percent of pastors agreed. Do you agree or disagree? Eighty percent of SBC pastors plan to vote for McCain. Are the pastors going to vote for the right man?

Would you say your opinion lines up with the findings of the survey, or do the findings have you alarmed with concern? We would love to hear what you have to say about these issues.

Let us hear from you. Log onto www.baptistmessenger.com and click on the link located in the Reader Feedback section of our Web site. You may also send your comments by mail to: Baptist Messenger, 3800 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK, 73112.

Author: Staff

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