Evangelical Optimism Global North and South
Global Survey of Evangelical Protestant Leaders Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
Yesterday we expressed grave concerns about the impact of a particularly virulent form of evangelicalism in America, a vision supported by Texas Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry.
Not only has Perry proposed that Texas succeed from America (a vision we endorse) but that America become a theocracy, much like Iran. Read Hear This Rick Perry, If Oprah Is a Harlot, I Am a Harlot, Too.
This new in-depth report on global evangelicalism is also very concerning, given our focus on improving the lives of the world’s women. Like Catholicism as expressed by Pope Benedict, global evangelicals do not believe in the advancement of women, except within proscribed roles of submission to male governing authorities.
All women are subordinate to men, according to 79% of global evangelical leaders who agree with the Vatican on the role of women. We are subordinate helpmates, charged with childrearing and maintaining the home, under his guidance.
We are not viewed as both mothers and political leaders committed to the advancement of women worldwide. The latter is men’s work, and evangelical leaders are not committed to the advancement of women, which goes against the core of their patriarchal principles.
It’s not our claim that these religions do nothing for women. The Vatican does invest in treating women with AIDS, but they do not allow her a condom to protect herself from getting AIDS in the first place. Our point is that women’s rights will always be subordinated to the religious belief that men are in charge.
Our goal is to confront — without the comforting terms of tender, religious mercies — the reality of a potentially gridlock conflict between the advancement of women globally and religion. It sees that most NGOs and political and religious leaders are reluctant to face this conflict head-on, so we will do so.
The survey finds nearly unanimous agreement among the global evangelical leaders on some key beliefs, such as that Christianity is the one, true faith leading to eternal life. They also hold traditional views on family and social issues. For example, more than nine-in-ten say abortion is usually wrong (45%) or always wrong (51%). About eight-in-ten say that society should discourage homosexuality (84%) and that men should serve as the religious leaders in the marriage and family (79%).
Virtually all the leaders surveyed (98%) also agree that the Bible is the word of God. But they are almost evenly divided between those who say the Bible should be read literally, word for word (50%), and those who do not think that everything in the Bible should be taken literally (48%). They are similarly split on whether it is necessary to believe in God in order to be a moral person (49% yes, 49% no), and whether drinking alcohol is compatible with being a good evangelical (42% yes, 52% no).