Is Fearing of Offending Congregants Silencing American Clergy?

Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes; especially if your voice shakes.

New polls announce 39% of American pastors feel limited in their ability to speak about moral and social issues, fearing they will offend their congregants. 64% of these pastors say they feel pressured by members of the congregation on speaking out about controversial topics.

The study conducted by The Barna Group consists of clergy from many religions including, Catholic, United Methodist, Southern Baptist, and Presbyterian. Although this study was mostly directed towards Christian leaders, Mormon, Jewish and Islamic leaders were included to represent the peer-pressure from the world in multiple religions.

The Barna study shows 90% of the American clergy surveyed claim it is a major part of their role as Pastor to help their congregants have biblical beliefs about social issues; 72% claim it’s part of their job to form biblical beliefs about the culture in general. The leading controversial topic the clergy surveyed claim to be most pressured about is homosexuality. 44% feel limited in discussing the topic and 37% feel pressured to speak on the LGBTQ+.

Roxanne Stone, Barna’s editor in chief says, “The pressure for leaders and especially faith leaders to satisfy everyone on all sides, and to avoid offense, is very real today, especially in the digital era.”

Of David, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1


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