Republican and Millennial Evangelical Support for Gay Marriage Grows

New data from the Pew Research Center suggests that American support for same-sex marriage is on the rise, even among white Millennial evangelicals.

In its brief summary of the report, Pew says:

By a margin of nearly two-to-one (62% to 32%), more Americans now say they favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry than say they are opposed.

Views on same-sex marriage have shifted dramatically in recent years. As recently as 2010, more Americans opposed (48%) than favored (42%) allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. In the past year alone, support has increased seven percentage points: In March 2016, 55% favored same-sex marriage, while 37% were opposed.

White, Millennial Evangelical Support for Gay Marriage Grows

The data doesn’t lie. It’s true: white Millennial evangelical support for gay marriage is increasing—not just by a little bit, either:

Only 35% of white evangelical Protestants favor gay marriage, compared with 59% of them who are opposed.

But, Gen X and Millennial evangelical support of gay marriage has grown.

Around the time of the Obergefell decision, which legalized gay marriage in the United Staes, Gen X and Millennial evangelical support for gay marriage hovered around 30%.

This means that support for gay marriage among white, Gen X and Millennial evangelicals jumped 17% in about two years. That is pretty staggering.

They still lag behind Unaffiliated Americans, of whom 85% support gay marriage and Catholics, 67% of whom support gay marriage.

Republican Support for Gay Marriage Grows

While young evangelicals’ growing support for gay marriage is pretty surprising, perhaps even more surprising is growing Republican support for gay marriage.

About 47% of Americans who identify as Republican or “Lean Republican” in Pew’s survey support gay marriage…and only 48% oppose it.

Like in the evangelical community, the Millennials are leading the way among Republicans toward widespread acceptance of gay marriage.

This graph is fascinating as it shows the change in support and opposition of both parties over time:

As you can tell, I don’t have a lot to say or add to what the data says. It does a pretty good job of speaking for itself.

Youth movements in evangelical and Republican circles are pushing their communities toward broader acceptance of gay marriage. But the question should be asked:

What Caused This?

It’s pretty clear: the Obergefell decision is what led to the increased support of gay marriage among groups that have historically opposed it.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey interviews Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family on this topic, and his thoughts are helpful:

When young people see an issue legalized, they begin to believe it must be right, said Glenn Stanton, director of Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family. “We see that with pot in Colorado,” he said. “There’s a legitimizing and institutionalizing when you make something legal.”

But Stanton believes the attitude shifts don’t really reflect a change in young evangelicals’ conviction on the issue, which he said was “paper thin.”

“A quality of youth is being idealistic and wanting to believe the world can be a certain way,” Stanton said. “Why can’t we all get married?”

Basically, when something is legalized, people are going to come to see it as morally acceptable, even if their faith’s stance on the subject remains unchanged.

This reality leads to another question:

What Do Church Leaders Do?

I debated including the bit about Republicans in this article because my blog is more about Millennials than it is about politics, but I thought it was important to include them. Here’s why:

We have to understand that large groups of people who fill our churches hold a sexual ethic contrary to the Scriptures in this area.

It’s not just a bunch of young hooligans with rampant morality issues who are changing their beliefs on sexuality.

I think it’s important that a biblical sexual ethic is not assumed in our churches. When we have discussions in small group settings, for instance, we shouldn’t assume we’re all on the “same side” of the issue.

The data is clear that many of the people who occupy church pews and attend small groups do not think alike on this issue.

What this means is that we can’t let the issue of gay marriage become a non-issue simply because the legal fight is over.

Many people in our churches hold to a deformed sexual ethic that is incompatible with the good, created order of God.

As we address this, we must do so with great care and grace. People who misunderstand biblical ethics, sexually or otherwise, are not to be shamed in hopes that they change their minds.

Through gracious, Christ-like, loving guidance, shepherd may help the people in their churches grow in their understanding of how God made sex to work.

Other Links

Check out Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s article about the phenomenon.

Also, don’t miss Pew’s interactive graphs, which are really cool.

I Have Deleted Politics From My Digital Life

I was texting with some friends while watching the daily White House briefing over my lunch break last week when I made the decision:

“I am going to delete politics from my life, ” I said.

That was a bit of an overstatement, but it’s what I wanted to do in the moment. It’s a bit difficult, and irresponsible, to delete politics from your life entirely.

But I decided in that moment that I was going to delete them from my digital life as much as possible.

Why Would I Delete Politics From My Digital Life?

Contrary to what you may think, the desire to delete politics from my life did not come from a politician saying something silly or doing something offensive.

I decided I wanted to delete politics from my life when I hopped on Twitter or Facebook and couldn’t avoid, “Donald Trump said ___________,” or, “___________ said __________ about Donald Trump’s actions.”

I was disgusted by the amount and tone of the coverage.

Politics have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. When I was in the eighth grade, I wanted to be President of the United States, and I was dead serious. I was going to go to West Point, become a lawyer, then a senator, then president.

But I decided this week that I no longer want politics to happen to me. I want to engage with political discussions on my own terms, not my Twitter timeline’s terms, which bombarded me with political content every hour of the day.

Spiritually-speaking, I was reading a lot more articles about political happenings than I was praying prayers about what was going on. I thought I should spend less time consuming and more time praying, too. That was certainly part of my decision-making on this.

When I told my friends I was going to do this, the first thing one of them said was, “Well being apathetic is as bad as being raging mad.” Maybe, but deleting politics from my digital life is not being apathetic—those are two different things.

I want to be politically-informed, but I don’t want to hear what you think about politics, I don’t want to know what Washington Post columnists think, or Slate columnists think, or what Jake Tapper thinks, as much as I respect Jake.

I want to know what happened, but I don’t care to know what anyone thinks about what happened, and I no longer care to share what I think about what happened.

I want to be completely ignorant of what my Twitter people think about politics, and I want you to know as little about what I think as possible. Honestly, politics have become more divisive than unifying, even among friends and co-laborers in Christ, and the fight really just isn’t worth it to me anymore. Thankfully, it’s not a mandatory fight, online anyway. You can just dismiss yourself; so I did.

I subscribed to a paper version of the Wall Street Journal with some unused airline points, but I unfollowed dozens of accounts on Twitter and Facebook. I can’t stand the bombardment anymore.

How Do You Delete Politics From Your Digital Life?

To some of you, this exercise probably sounds appalling.

To some of you, this may sound appealing.

For those of you who would also like to delete politics from your digital life, here’s what I did:

First, I unfollowed all major news organizations: ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, AP, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Atlantic, Mashable, USAToday, Buzzfeed, Slate, The Daily Beast, and more.

Second, I unfollowed all of the politicians accounts I was following: @POTUS, @WhiteHouse, Sean Spicer, Ben Sasse, etc.

Then, I basically unfollowed anyone on Twitter that popped up in my timeline talking about politics more than anything else whether they are usually talking about that or not.

Finally, I unfollowed and muted a few friends who I really like, but simply couldn’t take the political bombardment of content from any longer.

I’ve only been at this for about a week, and my Twitter timeline and Facebook feed are glorious portals of informative, interesting content completely devoid of political ranting or unnecessary information.

The other night, all of my friends were tweeting things about Australia and how they hope Australia doesn’t hate us now. I still have NO IDEA what they were talking about, and I couldn’t be happier. Because I don’t have to know what happened to live a fully-functional, Christ-seeking life. It’s taken me a long time to learn that.

I have always prided myself on being the first one to know world happenings. I always want to be the first to know. It’s why I love Twitter.

I’m done with that, at least when it comes to politics. It’s just not worth it anymore.

What is going on in Washington seems to have become the core around which everything rotates in this digital merry-go-round of information and opinions.

I’ve decided to stop watching.