Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Fundamentalist and Other Baptists: Who’s Really Out of Touch with the Pew?

Baptist blogger and communications specialist Brian Kaylor has posted a fascinating article on Mainstream Baptists that shows that while the majority of Southern Baptist clergy consider themselves politically conservative, far more Southern Baptist laity consider themselves politically centrist or even liberal. SBC clergy have continued to claim that their politically rightwing views are representative of the average person in the pew. Although recent data show they do represent a significant plurality, politically centrist and progressive pastors may actually be more in touch with their congregations. Further, since centrist and progressive pastors are more respective of liberty of conscience and less likely to present their own political views as “the only true way” or somehow identical with the mind of God, congregations are also more likely to be comfortable in disagreeing with the pastor without rancor–gee, almost as if church folk are actually supposed to have loyalties beyond politics to unite them. Go figure.


September 8, 2006 - Posted by | Baptists, blogs


  1. Of course, this presumes that the clergy and laity are using the same definitions for left/center/right. The other assumption is that identical political orientation of clergy and laity leads to being “in touch”. Both of these assumptions are easily challenged.

    Comment by Looney | September 8, 2006

  2. You could be right, Looney. The research was conducted by the U. of Phoenix for the SBC. But the Baptist Press article doesn’t say what questions were used, etc. It just gave the conclusions.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | September 8, 2006

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