|2018 Volume 14, Article 8|
Same-Sex Sexuality, Marriage, and the Seminary Professor: Catholic, Evangelical, and Mainline Protestant
Author: Robert J. Priest (Taylor University Upland, Indiana)
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Prior research demonstrates that religion variables are among the strongest predictors of attitudes toward same-sex sexuality and marriage, with America’s three largest religious traditions (Roman Catholic, evangelical, and mainline Protestant) differentially influencing adherents’ views on same- sex sexuality and marriage, and with religious elites playing key roles in this influence. While a good amount of research has examined the influential role of pastors as religious elites, minimal research has focused on the seminaries and seminary professors that train America’s future religious leaders. This article reviews basic findings of a 2015 Survey of U.S. Seminary Faculty on Sexuality and Marriage that surveyed seminary faculty from 100 U.S. seminaries. It compares and contrasts Catholic, evangelical, and mainline Protestant seminaries and their theological faculty and examines 1) faculty stances on same-sex marriage, 2) tradition-related factors associated with such stances, 3) faculty understandings of what such stances should imply for religious communities and civil society, and 4) the extent to which engagement with these issues represents a prioritized focus. It concludes with a discussion of key findings, considers possible futures, and suggests directions for further research.
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