Evangelical Age Gap

I referred to a much-publicized national religion study a couple weeks ago. One caveat not discussed much was a unique split among evangelicals on social issues.

For clarification, evangelicals are those who consider themselves to be ‘born again’ and social issues in a political sense are typically meant to be those things that have strong moral underpinnings…the two big ones for awhile now being abortion and anything to do with homosexuality.

Anyway, here’s another thing pulled from that study…

Young evangelicals are even more pro-life than their parents.

However, on the homosexuality, the pattern is reversed.

  • 65.4% of white evangelicals say homosexuality should be discouraged
  • 54.9% of white evangelicals under 30 believe homosexuality should be discouraged

The gist: Evangelicals under 30 are becoming MORE conservative on abortion, but LESS conservative on gay issues. My gut would have assumed this, but it is still interestingly confirmed in the numbers.

Any idea of why this is? Perhaps something to do with the ‘contact theory’ from sociology/psychology? I’m no expert, but the idea is that when it comes to human relations, the more experience/interaction one has with any type of person, the more tolerance and acceptance will emerge. The theory gained prominence with race relations a few odd decades ago….I think. That makes sense: more gay people out in the open = more young people knowing other gay people = more tolerance/less dogma against that group.

But what’s the reason for increasing pro-life position of young evangelicals? I’m not sure…

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