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Some three-quarters of churches support peaceful protests against racism, police actions: Barna

A little over three-quarters of American pastors say they support peaceful demonstrations being held in response to the killing of George Floyd, according to new research from the Barna Group.

Large scale protests and demonstrations have ignited across the United States and abroad against racism and instances of police brutality following the police-involved death of Floyd.

Barna shared with The Christian Post key findings from latest ChurchPulse survey, which surveyed 400 pastors on June 4-15 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.

Of those surveyed, 76% said they believed churches should support the protests, while 15% disagreed and 8% did not have an opinion.

Additionally, 62% reported that their churches had addressed the protests and 94% said they believe the Church has a responsibility to publicly denounce racism.

Barna President David Kinnaman told CP that he felt the survey’s findings showed that “church leaders are actively leaning in on conversations about racism in America in a way that they haven’t in the past.”

“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,” Kinnaman said.

“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 also told CP that while he found it “good that the American church seems to be more engaged,” there was “definitely room for growth.”

“What the church seems to have been convinced of in recent weeks is that this is more of a widespread problem, and they are being called to take a more proactive, bold stance toward racial justice,” he continued.

The killing of Floyd has led to various actions by churches in the United States, from holding rallies in support of racial equality to hosting dialogues on race and racism in America.

On Monday, around two dozen evangelical scholars released a joint statement titled “An Evangelical Statement on the Gospel and Racism,” which labeled racism “contrary to Scripture and to the evangelical gospel.”

“In reconciling Jew and Gentile in Christ (Eph 2:16), surmounting a barrier that God himself once established, God in Christ summons us to surmount every barrier erected merely by human sinfulness,” the statement read in part.

“Scripture does not discriminate by color, and, on the most common understanding of Acts 8, the first Gentile convert may have been Black and from Africa.”

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