Most American Catholics Far More Liberal Than Church Leadership

A new poll reveals that American Catholics more or less agree with non-Catholics on controversial social issues.

The Catholic Church leadership continues to render itself more and more irrelevant with out-of-date and loudly proclaimed stances on abortion, reproductive rights, gay rights, AIDS policy, stem cell research — the list can go on and on, until the End Times. But a new Gallup poll  reveals that most American Catholics appear comfortable existing in the new millennium. 

The poll shows that the views of practicing Catholics on a range of social issues are more or less in line with American non-Catholics. In fact, Catholics “today are actually more liberal than the non-Catholic population on a number of moral issues” like abortion, homosexuality, and stem cell research, according to Gallup's data.

40% of Catholics find abortion morally acceptable, compared to 41% of the general population. Meanwhile, 67% of Catholics approve of pre-marital sex, while only 57% of non-Catholics find it morally acceptable. Catholics are also more liberal on “Homosexual relations” than non-Catholics — 54% to 45%.

Now, obviously, chances are that it’s evangelicals and other conservative Christian groups dragging the results for non-Catholics in the poll. So this certainly doesn’t mean that religious people in general hold opinions on these issues that match those of the rest of population —  fights over evolution and George Bush and the fact that some Americans continue to be scandalized by the sex lives of others prove that point (and, yes, this might be another one of those endless lists).

Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Election 2018