On Tuesday, LifeWay Research released the results of a poll they conducted about gay marriage, specifically, and gay rights in general. Those results are interesting.
According to the findings:
• 63 percent agree and 27 percent disagree that pastors should be allowed to refuse to officiate same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state;
• 58 percent agree and 33 percent disagree that photographers should be allowed to refuse to work same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state;
• 40 percent agree and 52 percent disagree that rental halls should be allowed to refuse to rent out their facilities for same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state;
• 27 percent agree and 67 percent disagree landlords should be allowed to refuse to rent housing to same-sex couples if same-sex marriage is made legal in their state;
• 14 percent agree and 82 percent disagree employers should be allowed to refuse employment to someone based on their sexual preference.
Even among evangelicals, half believe that gay marriage is inevitable. Ed Stetzer, the president of LifeWay Research, says, "While a majority of Americans categorize homosexuality as a civil rights issue like age, race and gender, and almost two-thirds think legalization of same-sex marriage in the U.S. is evitable, the research does show lines and divisions on these issues clearly exist in our country."
Yes, but those divisions matter less than they did even a decade ago. Look at that — 82% of people believe that an employer should not be able to discriminate against gay people. Almost 70% don't think they should face housing discrimination. That's pretty much a complete 180 since I was a kid.
The Southern Baptists are — in the slow, halting way of any institution — attempting to come to terms with their past, to make amends for how they treated African-Americans. Heck, it's progress that this poll was even conducted. Let's hope the results encourage the Baptists not to wait so long for their next round of reconciliation with those they've hurt.