The National Association of Evangelicals has released a new poll showcasing Evangelicals’ overall commitment to traditional Christian morality and opposition to abortion.
The Gallup poll, commissioned by the NAE, found that 76 percent of Evangelicals believe sex between an unmarried man and woman is morally wrong, 77 percent believe abortion is morally wrong, and 79 percent say that having a baby outside of wedlock is also morally wrong. A high 87 percent of Evangelicals also said that teen pregnancy is morally wrong.
But the NAE also noted that pastors may have a challenge on their hands when it comes to the pastoral care of unmarried women who become pregnant and then fear that having the baby will lead to rejection from the church community.
“We need to encourage couples to courageously and responsibly honor the gifts of sex and life,” said Aaron Mercer, NAE Generation Forum Project Director. “The Bible’s standard for sex is very clear: abstinence outside of marriage and fidelity within it.”
“But when unmarried individuals do have sex and end up conceiving, might they fear rejection from their church family whether or not they carry the baby to term? Whether or not this fear is warranted, we need to consider its possible consequences,” continued Mercer.
The NAE poll also indicated that church communities have confidence in their pastors, and look up to them to engage the challenges of unmarried and teen pregnancy and abortion within their communities.
Approximately 89 percent said they would go to their pastors or other leaders in their church for advice or counseling if they were having problems in a relationship or marriage.
But at the same time respondents said that national leaders were not doing nearly as good a job at addressing the issues of abortion and unplanned pregnancy as local pastors.
On the issue of unplanned pregnancies, only eight percent said national leaders were doing a “very good job” and 18 percent said they were doing a “good job.” National leaders fared little better when it came to abortion: just nine percent said they did a “very good job” addressing the topic, while 21 percent said they did a “good job.”
Local pastors got higher marks: 38 percent said their local pastors were doing a “very good job” talking about abortion, while 29 percent said they were doing a “good job.”
“This data should be a call to action for national religious leaders to more productively engage on this country’s terrible abortion problem,” observed Mercer. “It is also a reminder to local pastors that they are on the front lines. They have the confidence of their congregations and the relationships with their neighbors needed for real success in lowering the abortion rate in their local communities.”