JEFFERSON CITY – Missourians are overwhelmingly in support of protecting religious freedom, according to a new statewide poll commissioned by Missouri Alliance for Freedom.
When asked should the government be able to force pastors to perform same-sex weddings if same-sex marriage violates the clergy’s religious beliefs and the teachings of the church, 78 percent answered “no.” Only 15 percent responded “yes.” When asked should churches or other religious property such as schools be forced to host same-sex weddings or events if it violates the religious convictions of the religious institutions, 79 percent answered “no.” Again, only 15 percent said “yes.”
When asked if they believe the government should be able to force a private business, like a baker or a florist, to provide services for a same-sex wedding if it violates his/her religious beliefs, 71 percent said “no.” Only 24 percent answered “yes.” When asked, should the federal and state governments be able to require by law that a private citizen provides services or provide their private property for an event that is contrary to their religious beliefs, 76 percent of Missourians said “no.” Only 15 percent answered “yes.”
Those surveyed were asked which is the most important to protect: religious liberties, same-sex rights or are they equal? Two-thirds (66 percent) of Missourians said protecting religious liberties was the most important, while eight percent said protecting same-sex rights was the most important and another eight percent said they were equal. Some 17 percent said they were unsure which was the most important to protect.
A narrower majority of Missourians (50-43 percent) felt that government employees like judges and recorders of deeds should be forced to issue same-sex marriage licenses for an event that is contrary to their religious beliefs. A majority (54-29 percent) said a private employee should not be required to submit dues to a labor organization if that labor organization donates money to an organization that practices conflict with the employee’s religious beliefs.
“Missourians clearly cherish their religious liberty,” said Pathway Editor Don Hinkle, director of public policy for the Missouri Baptist Convention. “I have maintained that Missourians have not changed their views on this matter since voting by a 71-29 percent margin in 2004 to prohibit same-sex “marriage” in our state. The results of this new poll should give lawmakers confidence when we ask them to pass legislation in 2016 protecting the religious freedom of every Missourian.”
The poll was conducted Aug. 25-26 with 831 likely voters.