A newly released poll found that the vast majority of Americans — 79 percent — are comfortable with female priests or pastors.
But among evangelicals, who tend to have what the Barna Group called “a more traditional interpretation of the scriptures,” just 39 percent expressed comfortability with female preachers.
Another somewhat shocking result is that 80 percent of Catholics are comfortable with female priests and pastors, a proportion that is higher than the 74 percent of Protestants who said the same; the Catholic Church does not allow female priests.
Additionally, 62 percent of “practicing Christians” support female pastors and priests, with majorities of women (84 percent) and men (75 percent) agreeing. Despite this widespread support, though, Barna found that there’s actually quite a small percentage — 9 percent — of senior pastors currently in the pulpit who are female.
And the numbers surrounding where these females serve tend to line up with the denominational perceptions among the aforementioned cohorts as well, with the majority serving in mainline denominations.
“Most of those women lead mainline congregations rather than the evangelical churches that demonstrate lower levels of comfort with female ministers,” a report from Barna reads. “Though non-mainline churches welcome women’s gifts in various other church leadership positions, just 44 percent of non-mainline pastors say their denomination, church network or congregation ordains women for senior pastoral leadership, compared to virtually all mainline pastors (99 percent).”
You can read the report in its entirety here.
Other Must-Read Stories: