A new study by research group Barna has found that most churches in the United States support peaceful public protests against racism. In a bid to gauge the opinions of congregations across the country in light of ongoing anti-racism protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, Barna surveyed 400 pastors between June 4-15.
Of those polled, some 76 per cent said they thought churches should openly support the protests, while 15 per cent disagreed and 8 per cent held no specific opinion on the matter. In addition, 62 per cent specified that their churches had addressed the protests directly and 94 per cent said they believe the church "has a responsibility to denounce racism."
President of the Barna Group, David Kinnaman, said the research indicated that pastors "are as open as they’ve ever been” to addressing issues of racial discrimination. However, it should be noted that 61 per cent of pastors agreed that the current conversations around race are “too political.”
Kinnaman added: "In this moment, church leaders are going to have to lead with humility and with being connected to the thoughts and perceptions” of others.
Speaking to US outlet Christian Post, Kinnaman explained:
"It may surprise some, but it did not surprise me that 76% of church leaders believe the church should support peaceful protests or demonstrations happening across the nation.
“We saw in The Mercy Journey two years ago that 70% of pastors believed that the church should respond in some way — lament, repent, repair the damage — to the historic mistreatment of African Americans, and this moment has given them more clarity about how to engage.”
Kinnaman added that it was “good that the American church seems to be more engaged,” but that there was “definitely room for growth.”