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In-Depth: Those who attend church weekly less likely to support gay marriage

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Posted at 10:23 PM, Oct 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-11 20:08:13-04

If you're a weekly church goer you stand a better chance of not supporting same-sex marriage.

Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll shows that 40 percent of those go walk through the church doors each week don't believe in marriage equality.

A small group stood out protesting at the first-ever Pride Parade in Abilene.

"We are here to lift up the name of Jesus," said one protestor.

The group would tell those in attendance they were going to hell.

Jimmy Allen who served in the Marines and is gay sits by the group with his daughter.

"We have a right to be who we are and they have a right to protest, that's what we fought for," said Jimmy Allen.

Another church group took a different approach on the opposing side. They made a choice to play worship music and engage with kindness with those who were at the downtown event.

"I'm going to leave the judge work to the man above," said a churchgoer in attendance.

They say those with signs don't represent their belief system.

"I'm here in support of our savior and sharing that love with everyone," said Jimmy.

Jimmy's late husband, George Allen, was born in Amarillo. He was a Baptist computer programmer and Baptist minister who said the group protesting didn't represent their church experience and for the most part, the church community has been good to them.

The group held signs and chanted slurs and curse words. Police asked the protestors to not use slurs or profanity.

A 17-year-old from Utah told people as they walk by "You guys are raping children."

There is no proof of any of those allegations and many say that that narrative is putting them in danger.

"Bottom line is I was born the way I was and God loved me and George the way we were," said Allen.

Allen believes the church getting too involved in today's politics is the reason for groups protesting. He believes in the last twenty years there's been a shift to accept while disagreeing and he's okay with that.

Church and Politics

Most pastors don't make political endorsements from the pulpit, but a growing number publicly back candidates when they step away from their church role.

In a Lifeway Poll, 32 percent of pastors say they have personally endorsed political candidates in 2020. Some politicians are in public office.

Bryan Slaton served as associate pastor of River Hills Baptist Church in Corpus Christi from 2000 to 2010. He's now a Texas House Representative for district two. He's authored and sponsored a number of bills against the LGBTQ community and has used his Twitter platform to speak against the group.

Slaton recently tweeted a photo with Kyle Rittenhouse who was accused of shooting three men and killing two during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020 when he was 17 years old. He was found not guilty and claimed self-defense.

In the picture the State Rep says "He's a fine young man and a hell of a shot," said Slaton.

It's not just conservative ministers and pastors that have dove into politics. A study from the University of Notre Dame shows that liberal ministers are more involved in politics than conservatives.

State Rep. Carl O. Sherman is a church of Christ minister and Texas State Representative for HD 109.

Sherman is a Democrat has said he's in support of LGBTQ rights. But recently he's been fighting with other Texas Democrats on Texas gun laws.

He's also been using his public position for the Texas Criminal Justice System along with foster care.