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Women more religious, conservative, poll finds

WASHINGTON (BP)–A survey of American women turned up surprising results for its sponsor and showed women turning more to religion and becoming more conservative, according to a Washington newspaper.
The survey commissioned by the Center for Gender Equality revealed American women’s more conservative religious views influence a more conservative view on social issues. The women also believe, according to the report, their religious views should be part of public policy debates.
According to the Jan. 28 issue of The Washington Times, more women support a family dynamic in which the husband takes leadership and holds the primary career. Also, according to the survey, nearly all women think men and women should be treated the same in employment, bank loans, promotions and education.
“We find some of the findings in the report very disturbing,” Faye Wattleton, director of the center, told the newspaper in a telephone conference Jan. 27. She cited, as an example, that two in three women say the Christian Coalition’s agenda will improve their lives as women.
“Women express more conservative attitudes than we had expected,” she told the newspaper.
Interestingly, she said 36 percent of American women agree with the recent action by the Southern Baptist Convention to amend its Baptist Faith and Message statement by adding a family article which included that wives should “submit (themselves) graciously” to their husbands’ leadership. The addition also calls for husbands to “love (their wives) as Christ loved the church.” Forty-eight percent of the respondents think society is better if men achieve in jobs and women work at home, the survey revealed.
The chairman of the committee which recommended the change to the SBC statement applauded the survey’s results.
“This simply affirms what we have known,” Anthony L. Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, told Baptist Press. “Women have been sold an empty pot at the end of the rainbow. Women are tired of being pressured into adapting to society’s ways that leave them unfulfilled.”
Jordan said family life, as presented in the SBC statement, elevates women to a higher position of love and respect.
“Now a major liberal women’s organization has discovered biblical living really does strengthen the family.
“I have never doubted that biblical family life is superior to any other. While Southern Baptists have been misquoted and painted into a corner as having degraded women, nothing could be further from the truth. The family article places the pressure directly on the man. He is to serve, cherish and love his wife,” Jordan said.
Results of the survey will appear in full-page newspaper ads the next two Sundays, The Washington Times reported, and is the first of a series by the center.
Other survey results showed 75 percent of U.S. women say religion is important to them but they pick and choose the parts they like — what the survey calls “shopping cart” faith. Thus, more women now oppose abortion and want divorce to be harder to obtain but, apparently, their personal decisions are little influenced by church rules.
The survey found half of the women who identified themselves as Christian said they were “born again” or evangelical.