Just How Liberal Are Today’s Young Evangelicals?

Thousands of people attend the Black Hills Harvest Crusade, May 15-17, 2009. | (Photo: Harvest Crusades)

Are today’s young evangelicals becoming more liberal?

This is the main question behind Central Michigan University political scientist Jeremiah Castle’s new book, Rock of Ages: Subcultural Religious Identity and Public Opinion among Young Evangelicals, published this month by Temple University Press.

For the most part, Castle found young evangelicals to be just as conservative as older evangelicals, with a few notable exceptions.

Looking at ideological identification, political party identification, issue positions and issue priorities, young evangelicals look like their older peers.

Castle found young evangelicals, 18-29, to be more liberal than previous generations of young evangelicals on three issues — gay marriage, immigration and welfare. (His data included all races except black. Black evangelicals were coded as black Protestant.)

About half, 51%, of young evangelicals oppose gay marriage, compared to 73% of evangelicals 75 and older. Young evangelicals are still significantly more likely, by 31 percentage points, to oppose gay marriage than their peers, however.

On immigration, only about 1/3 of young evangelicals (32%) believe immigrants have made the country worse, compared to about 2/3 (68%) of old evangelicals (65 and older). Like gay marriage, young evangelicals are still more conservative than their age-group peers on immigration, but the gap is smaller — 13 percentage points.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Napp Nazworth