New Poll Reveals Evangelical Christians Becoming Less Opposed to Gay Marriage

A little over 15 years ago, the majority of Americans (57%) opposed same-sex marriage, according to Pew Research Center data. Today, support for same-sex marriage is the highest it has been since Pew began polls on the topic. A 2017 poll states that 62 percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage. When the Supreme Court made gay marriage legal in all 50 states two years ago, 57 percent of Americans supported it.

The 2017 poll was conducted by Pew from June 8-18, 2017, and polled approximately 2,500 people.

Younger people born after 1980 showed higher support, as do 56 percent of baby boomers. Regarding religious affiliation and support, nearly two-thirds of Catholics support it, as do 68 percent of Protestants. Both white evangelical Protestants as well as black Protestants show the lowest level of support. Only about 35 percent of white evangelical Protestants support same-sex marriage today. That number has grown almost 10 percent (from 27 percent) since 2016.

Only about 28 percent of evangelical Protestants favor gay marriage. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witness are in that range at 26 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Support among evangelical Christians has doubled in the last decade.

Younger white evangelicals show more support. Nancy Ammerman, a Boston University professor of sociology of religion says, “The generational divide among white evangelicals is especially interesting, with nearly half of the younger folk approving of gay marriage. When their parents were that age, there was barely a visible white evangelical gay person to be found.”

Evangelicals tend to hold steadfast to the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Most regard homosexuality as a sin, and feel that the Supreme Court ruling was a bad decision for the country. They view the decision as “weakening the single institution that is most central to human society and most essential to human flourishing.”

In the dissenting opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts, said that those who had won could celebrate their new freedom to marry, but he also said, “Do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”

Many believe that same-sex marriage is not a civil right, which are defined as based on natural law that upholds the intrinsic worth of each individual before God. Evangelicals believe that same-sex marriage is a clear violation of natural law. Basically, only a man and a woman can naturally produce a child, and since procreation is the point of marriage, same-sex marriage isn’t natural because a child cannot be created from that union. They cite the Bible (Romans 1) as stating the abnormality of same-sex unions, as well as Paul’s sermon in 1 Corinthians regarding sins that will keep you out of the kingdom of heaven. They also state that Bible scholars have long differentiated between the civil, ceremonial, and moral laws of the Old Testament.

Evangelicals go on to explain that while God does love all people, he doesn’t always love their behaviors. The religion encourages the church to be loving toward people struggling with same-sex attractions, and for parents to be loving to LGBTQ children. But the belief states that love and morality are separate, and that love and acceptance are different as well. It is possible to have grace and truth at the same time.

Evangelicals explain that a church can be welcoming without being affirming. The church looks to history to help provide an answer for modern times. Homosexuality was widely practiced in the Roman Empire when the Church was founded in the first century. Then as it does now, the church struggled with how to relate to homosexuals. Paul’s teachings reaffirm to evangelicals that it is possible to love without accepting the practice.

Evangelical Christians who support gay marriage generally see it as an issue of civil rights over religion. Just because their religion doesn’t condone it, doesn’t mean it should be illegal for everyone. It is akin to saying that divorce should be illegal because there are some religions that forbid divorce and remarriage.

Although same-sex marriage is legal, it also remains legal for a church today to refuse to marry a couple that goes against the church’s religious beliefs.

~ Christian Patriot Daily


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