Last week I began to expose the coordinated efforts of well-funded gay-rights groups to subvert the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and marriage by funding groups, including “Catholic” groups, whose sole purpose is to change our minds about these issues.
In that post I focused on a single organization – Arcus (Latin for “rainbow”) – which alone has contributed almost $700,000 to these subversive efforts in the past few years.
This week Arcus was at it again, this time funding the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) to release a poll covering Catholic attitudes on Gay and Lesbian issues. I’m guessing most of us have seen the resulting headlines this week proclaiming that “Catholics support same-sex marriage.”
I’m going to do two things in this post: 1) expose briefly the agenda of those behind this poll and 2) show how the poll results ought to be read and understood in context.
First, this much-circulated poll was paid for by Arcus – who we know about – and the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. fund, which separately paid PRRI to “help develop religious education strategies supporting gay equality” in 2009. In the same year, the same Haas Jr. fund paid PRRI to survey Presbyterians on LGBT issues. In other words, PRRI provides polling to help gay-rights groups figure out how to better push their agenda among various faith communities.
And yet, despite these multiple cash infusions from LGBT-groups like Arcus and its ilk, and despite the clear bent of this polling towards growing support for the LGBT agenda among faith groups, PRRI is still described as a “non-profit, nonpartisan, independent organization.”
Here’s a question to ponder: if this new poll had instead shown strong support for traditional marriage among those who claim to be Catholic, would PRRI still have published those results?
I don’t think so, and that should tell us how “independent” PRRI’s research actually is.
Now let’s look at the results of the actual poll.
The first important thing to realize about the results is that the less Catholics care about their faith, the more likely they are to support same-sex marriage:
As you can see, only 26% of Catholics who attend Mass weekly support same-sex marriage. That number jumps to 59% among Catholics who attend Mass less frequently than once a month. I think this point is better made visually:
Who is driving the numbers behind the headline: “Catholic support same-sex marriage”? Catholics who are almost never in the pews. And yet, when it comes to the headlines, Catholics who can’t even trouble themselves to get to Mass with any sort of regularity are lumped in with faithful Catholics who actually try to follow the teachings of the Church.
This disparity is revealing, however: it reveals the contradiction between being a faithful Catholic and signing on to the LGBT agenda to redefine marriage. After all, the Catholics who are most serious about the LGBT agenda are typically the Catholics who are the least serious about their faith.
A strong, biblical faith, after all, holds true to the traditional teachings against homosexuality and for the family, while a weak “secularized” faith is quick to overturn these views under cultural pressure.
The next thing to realize is that the majority of Catholics don’t actually support same-sex marriage. Only 43% of Catholics – including the inactive Catholics I discuss above – support same-sex marriage. What a majority of Catholics may support is civil unions for gays and lesbians. It’s only when you take the civil unions option off the table that a (slim, within the margin of error) “majority” of Catholics say they support same-sex marriage, mostly because the middle-of-the-road Catholics worry that without marriage rights there will be no civil protections for gays and lesbians (which is not true, but people think it).
In other words, the only way LGBT-funded pollsters can get Catholics (again, lumped in with inactive and less active Catholics) to “support” same-sex marriage is to create a false choice between full same-sex marriage on the one hand, and “no legal protection/recognition” on the other.
As soon as you introduce the reality that there are other ways of accommodating homosexual relationships into civil law without redefining marriage, support for same-sex marriage among Catholics drops off again. And yet we still see the headlines, “Catholics support same-sex marriage.”
All of this – and I could add much more – does not gloss over the fact that we all need to be doing more to educate our fellow Catholics about the Church’s teaching on sex and marriage. 26% of Mass-attending Catholics supporting same-sex marriage is too high. The fact that almost 2/3rds of people who self-identify as Catholic do not even attend Mass on Sunday regularly is also too high.
But when it comes to confusion among Catholics about homosexuality and marriage, as is the case with so many issues facing the Church today, the best way to “fix” the poll numbers is simply to be more faithful to our baptismal calling to preach the Good News.
One of the upsides of this strategy is that we won’t have to rely on any outside-funded polling groups to predict how successful our “messaging” will be. Faithfulness doesn’t need a focus group.