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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 conducted 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.

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