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March 31, 2009        OutcomeBuffalo > News

Poll:Catholics Likely To Be More Gay Friendly Than Non-Catholics

PRINCETON, NJ— Gallup has released an analysis of poll data that shows Catholics are more accepting of homosexuals than non-Catholics, despite the church's clear and oft-stated teaching on the issues. Here's the data:

Moral Acceptance of Issues by Church Affiliation and Attendance
% Morally acceptable

Homosexual relations

Gallup poll results are based on telephone interviews with an aggregated sample of 3,022 national adults, aged 18 and older, interviewed in polls conducted in May 2006, May 2007, and May 2008. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is 2 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

And here are some comments from Gallup: "Catholics are at least slightly more liberal than non-Catholics on the issues of gambling (an issue to which the Catholic church is not totally opposed), sex between an unmarried man and woman, homosexual relations, and having a baby out of wedlock. Catholics are essentially tied with non-Catholics on the moral acceptability of abortion, divorce, and stem-cell research using human embryos. Only on the death penalty are Catholics slightly less likely than non-Catholics to find the issue morally acceptable." Not surprisingly, Gallup finds that "committed Catholics,'' those who go to church regularly, are more in line with church teachings on these issues. The poll did break down the differences between Catholics that regularly attend church and nonregular church attendees
Moral Acceptance of Issues by Church Affiliation and Attendance
% Morally acceptable

Catholics Regular church attendance
Catholics Nonregular church attendance
Homosexual relations

"Regular churchgoing Catholics (defined as those who attend church weekly or almost every week) are significantly less likely to find most issues measured in this research morally acceptable than are Catholics who do not attend church regularly. These committed Catholics' views on all these issues are much more in line with the church's teachings than are the views of non-practicing Catholics. However, even among committed Catholics, a slim majority seem to be at odds with the church's positions on premarital sex, embryonic stem-cell research, divorce, and the death penalty."

But there is one surprising twist: Catholics who go to church regularly are still less conservative than non-Catholics who go to church regularly, leading Gallup to conclude that "the underlying dimension of religiosity -- as measured in this analysis by church attendance -- is most predictive of conservative positions on moral issues, not whether an individual is Catholic."

"Regular churchgoers who are Catholic are significantly more liberal than churchgoing non-Catholics on gambling, sex before marriage, homosexual relations, having a baby out of wedlock, and divorce. Committed Catholics are at least slightly more likely than devout non-Catholics to say that abortion and embryonic stem-cell research -- the two key issues highlighted by those protesting Obama's appearance at Notre Dame -- are morally acceptable. Only on the death penalty are committed Catholics more conservative than regular churchgoers who are not Catholic."

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