Friday, March 05, 2004

Christian 'Silent Majority' is Indeed Speaking Out

Recently, editorialists have suggested that Christianity's 'Silent Majority' has yet to be heard on key issues, including gay marriage and abortion rights. These writers suggest that the majority of Christians actually support gay marriage and infanticide, but they are reluctant to speak out as they perceive themselves to be in the minority. As these issues come to the forefront of American policy discussions, momentum will build in support of gay marriage and infanticide as Christian leaders express their up-to-now 'silent' opinions. Or so this line of thinking goes.

Let's take a closer look at that theory. What's happening down at the state level with respect to gay marriage? Today, the state Assembly of Wisconsin approved a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriages or civil unions. This is important for two reasons: The state already defines marriage as a contract between husband and wife, and does not recognize gay marriage. However, the legislature feels so strongly about the matter that it voted 68 - 27 in support of the amendment, based on the concern that the state statute might be over-ruled by a judge. In other words, the state of Wisconsin is taking no chances in its efforts to ensure gay marriage is never recognized. Secondly, civil unions are viewed by some (including Bill O'Reilly) as a fair compromise on this issue. Based on the amendment proposed by the Wisconsin Assembly, even civil unions would not be recognized. Although the amendment now faces state Senate approval, the nature of the proposed amendment and the margin of victory on the vote suggests that the pendulum of American sentiment is swinging towards Christian moral values, not the other way around.

As another example, the American Family Association (AFA) recently conducted an online poll related to the teaching of homosexuality in public schools. As you might expect, the AFA targets Christians, specifically pro-life and pro-family Christians. Because the school board of Provincetown, Massachusetts has decreed that preschoolers will be presented a positive image of homosexuality, and that the district is called to enact hiring preferences for homosexuals, the AFA was compelled to conduct a poll to gauge the reaction of their members. Given the anonymity of online polls, one would expect to see a fair amount of respondents support the teaching of homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle choice, if indeed the 'Christian Silent Majority' premise is accurate. However, out of 59,641 respondents, only 383 were in support (.64%). 99.36% of respondents stated that homosexuality should not be promoted in public schools.

I'm not a professional statistician, but I can tell you that .64% is nowhere near a 'silent majority'.

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