Barna on Evangelical Sexism

Barna, an evangelical survey research company, put out a recent study on “What Americans Think About Women in Power” (here). Using their idiosyncratic definition of evangelical, which I’ve discussed before (here), they found that evangelicals hold sexist views that were prevalent before the 1970’s.

This helps explain why they overwhelmingly supported Trump over Clinton, as I suggested earlier (here). When asked whether they are comfortable with a female CEO, nearly all Americans give the politically correct response, but only 77% of evangelicals do.

barna ceo

According to Barna, Republicans are even further out of it than evangelicals. When people were asked if they were comfortable with a woman president, 85% of Americans say they are. Far fewer are comfortable with a woman president than a CEO. Presumably they are concerned about the president’s duties as commander in chief, though you have to go back to George Bush Sr. to find a president who actually fought in a war.

barna president

73% of evangelicals say they are comfortable with a woman president. But only 65% of Republicans are. If Barna’s result is reliable, this is remarkable. It looks like Republicans are the last survivors of a dying species of sexists and homophobes. While they eked out a marginal victory over Hilary Clinton, they seem doomed unless they can attract some young breeding stock. (My guess is that these results will not hold up. The survey was taken shortly before the election, when Republicans were working themselves up, trying to support Trump after having pledged “Never Trump.” Many found it easier to oppose Hilary than support Trump.)

Finally, evangelicals’ retrograde views apply to church as well as state:

barna pastor

While 80% of Catholics are comfortable with the idea of a female priest – despite strenuous opposition from the Pope and the hierarchy – only 39% of evangelicals are comfortable with the idea of a female pastor. (I suspect the 62% for “practicing Christians” reflects self-designated evangelicals, and is really the more relevant figure.)

This relates to another subject I came across in some Pew studies. When you ask why people leave their religion, doctrines and theology seem to play a very limited role. People are far more concerned with “style” of worship. Religion seems to be viewed as an accessory that is chosen to complement one’s life style. Barna’s evangelicals probably believe that man is king of his castle, to be served by his little woman and children.


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