New Study Shows Evangelicals Now More Supportive of Gays
According to new research out of Baylor College, the number of evangelicals in the "messy middle" - those who oppose homosexuality morally but support equal rights - is growing.
Of course, this growth is going to strongly affect the marriage opposition in certain Red states, and perhaps veer the national debate altogether.
"As a moral issue, we predict that the opposition to gay civil rights will not have the same staying power as the abortion debate," study co-author Brandon Martinez, a sociology researcher in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences, told Phys.org.
From the story:
For their study - "How the Messy Middle Finds a Voice: Evangelicals and Structured Ambivalence towards Gays and Lesbians" - researchers analyzed national data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey, a random sample of 1,714 individuals across the country. Researchers found that 24 percent of evangelicals fit into the ambivalent category, supporting gay civil unions even though they are morally opposed to homosexuality. The survey, designed by Baylor University scholars and conducted by The Gallup Organization, included more than 300 items dealing with religion and the attitudes, beliefs, and values of the American public.
It's not exactly that LGBT people are now in the "okay" category, but more that evangelicals are losing their interest. An example of this would be the recent stance reversal from Florida native Alan Chambers, who had denounced his very strong ties with Exodus International, an organization that attempted to help people overcome their homosexuality. Two months ago Exodus issued a statement, which repudiated its aims and apologized for the harm they've cause to the LGBT community.
"What you have is this increase in people coming out publicly and saying, 'I don't want to be a part of this anti-gay rights movement as an evangelical,'" Lydia Bean, assistant professor of sociology at Baylor and co-author of the study, to the Washington Post. "They're not switching sides from the culture wars, they're just withdrawing from the culture wars."
Phys.org found "Other research findings about Ambivalent Evangelicals:"
• They are similar in biblical literalism and religious practice to those who oppose civil unions, while the 35 percent who are Culture Progressives-with positive attitudes toward homosexuality-are less involved in such activities as church attendance, although they pray privately.
• Ambivalents are not as politically conservative as Gay Rights Opponents, but they are more politically conservative than Cultural Progressives.
• They are more likely to be married, have lower levels of education, be biblical literalists, and attend church frequently than Cultural Progressives.
• They are more likely to believe that sexuality is innate than Gay Rights Opponents, but less likely than Cultural Progressives to do so.
• They are more likely to identify themselves as "born-again" than Cultural Progressives are.