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(RNS) Two out of three Protestant pastors believe Islam is a “dangerous” religion, according to a new survey from a Southern Baptist-affiliated research group.
The survey of more than 1,000 Protestant clergy by LifeWay Research, released Monday (Dec. 14) found that 45 percent strongly agree with the statement “I believe Islam is a dangerous religion” and another 21 percent agree somewhat with it.
Evangelical pastors were more likely to agree with the statement than mainline Protestant pastors — 77 to 47 percent. Likewise, pastors with a bachelor’s degree or less education are more likely to strongly agree than those with a master’s degree — 64 percent to 37 percent.
“It’s important to note our survey asked whether pastors viewed Islam as `dangerous,’ but that does not necessarily mean ‘violent,”‘
said Lifeway president Ed Stetzer in a statement about the survey results.
“`Dangerous’ can be defined in a variety of ways, including from the perspective of spiritual influence. Regardless of the definition, the numbers tell us that Protestant pastors are concerned.”
The results of the telephone survey were based on a random sample of
1,002 senior pastors taken in October 2008 and had an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
On Dec. 10, evangelist Franklin Graham told CNN that while he loves the Muslim people in countries he’s visited with his Samaritan’s Purse ministry, “I don’t agree with the teachings of Islam and I find it to be a very violent religion.”
Graham’s comments prompted the Council on American-Islamic Relations to request a meeting with the evangelist. As of Friday (Dec. 18), he had not responded, said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.
By Adelle M. Banks
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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