The latest online survey finds that the majority of clergy who say they preach about abortion from the pulpit are Catholic and Non-Mainline Protestant.
Results of the survey, commissioned by the Institute for Pro-Life Advancement (IPA) and conducted by the Barna Group in early 2016, found that 91 percent of Catholic priests and 73 percent of Non-Mainline Protestant pastors say they preached about abortion and the pro-life message from the pulpit last year. Only 41 percent of Mainline Protestant pastors, however, say they have done the same.
The survey also finds that half of Catholic priests report pro-life programs in their own parishes, while only 9 percent combined Mainline (2 percent) and Non-Mainline (7 percent) Protestant pastors report the same.
The online survey was conducted December 15, 2015 – January 8, 2016 and included 513 Protestant pastors (30 percent Mainline Protestant pastors and 70 percent Non-Mainline Protestant) and 88 Catholic priests. According to IPA, Protestant church leader data were weighted by denominational affiliation, church size, and region of the country, while Catholic data were not weighted.
Mainline Protestant churches were defined as Baptist (American); Church of Christ-United; Episcopal; Lutheran (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America); Methodist-United; and Presbyterian Church-USA.
Father Frank Pavone, a Catholic priest and national director of Priests for Life, tells Breitbart News his organization conducted a survey of 500 Catholic priests years ago and found that most priests only preached about abortion once a year.
“And this is where we need a fundamental shift of understanding about why we preach on abortion in the first place – not because it is related to some kind of annual observance, but because fighting it is a fundamental aspect of the church’s response to the world,” he explains.
“This new polling, our own polling, and our own experience day-to-day with the clergy of all denominations shows that there has certainly been an improvement over the years in the level of involvement of clergy in the pro-life battle,” Pavone, the author of Proclaiming the Message of Life, continues. “A lot of this has to do with the fact that younger clergy grew up with the movement. It is one thing to know what the church says about abortion, and even to talk about that, but it is quite another to know how to engage a movement.”
IPA is an initiative of pro-life millennial organization Students for Life of America (SFLA).
“The key to making abortion unthinkable is changing the culture through conversion of hearts and minds,” said SFLA president Kristan Hawkins. She adds:
If women seeking abortion aren’t educated on their resources available through their own faith communities and do not feel supported during an unintended pregnancy, there is an enormous amount of work that needs to be done in our churches across the country.
Often, being introduced to the pro-life position comes through one’s faith and if that introduction isn’t persuasive and nothing is ever said again in the place of worship about the tragedy of abortion, opportunities are missed to build a well-educated and passionate pro-life community.
The base of our movement is found in churches but if Christians aren’t hearing the pro-life message on a regular basis, they aren’t going to be able to get active saving lives, converting others to our movement, and, ultimately, changing the hearts and minds needed to transform our culture.