Barna Group Survey Finds 79% of American Adults are Comfortable With Having a Priest or Pastor Who Is a Woman

Attitudes about the role of women in the workplace, in politics and church seem to have made some advances in recent years, new research suggests.

In a study released Tuesday, the Barna Group said it found that 94 percent of all adults are comfortable with females serving as CEOs, and 85 percent felt the same about a woman president.

And most — 79 percent — said they are comfortable with a priest or pastor who is a woman.

But that struck at least one female minister as questionable.

“I’m quite surprised with 79 percent being OK with a female pastor,” Libby Grammer told Baptist News Global. “That is not something that jibes with my experience.”

But she added that her experience is filtered through the Southern Baptist culture in which she grew up in north Georgia.

“I would put it at 50 percent being OK with that, but I think that is because I come from this very conservative upbringing,” said Grammer, interim minister of Christian education and spiritual formation at River Road Church, Baptist, in Richmond, Va.

But she was right that the numbers are lower — at least among some of the demographics who participated in the study Barna conducted for Pepperdine University.

Most men, at 75 percent, felt comfortable with female priests or pastors. For women, 84 percent said they were comfortable with female religious leaders.

Catholics, at 80 percent, outpaced Protestants at 71 percent.

Among practicing Christians, the acceptance rate was 62 percent and among evangelicals — the population Grammer knew so well in north Georgia — the percentage dropped to 39 percent. That is the lowest in the survey.

“The 79 percent feels right here in Richmond, but in Chattanooga or north Georgia, not so much,” said Grammer, a recently published author whose goal is to serve a church as lead pastor.

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SOURCE: Baptist News Global
Jeff Brumley