When I was being interviewed last week on Dennis Prager’s radio show, Dennis commented that he thought atheists would be more open-minded than United Methodist officials about allowing Discovery Institute to sponsor an information table at the UMC’s General Conference. It turns out Prager was right.
We’ve broken down by religious orientation the results of the national survey we conducted about the UMC’s action, and lo and behold, nearly half of self-identified atheists (49 percent) agree that “the United Methodist Church should not have banned an intelligent design group from renting an information table at its conference.” Self-identified agnostics are even more opposed to the UMC decision, with 68 percent expressing opposition. Theists, by far the largest part of the population, oppose the UMC action by an overwhelming 3 to 1 margin (75 percent to 25 percent).
Nearly 6 in 10 atheists (59 percent) also think the UMC’s decision to ban an intelligent design group from sponsoring an information table contradicts the denomination’s professed commitment to “open hearts, open minds, open doors.” An overwhelming number of theists (83 percent) and agnostics (76 percent) share this view. You can download more detailed information.
If I were a leader in the United Methodist Church, I would think twice about the damage I am inflicting on my brand by this kind of intolerance. If UMC officials want people to believe they are serious about their slogan of “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors,” they might want to start following it.
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