The Liberalization of Young Evangelicals: A Research Note
Media outlets and observers of American religion suggest that young evangelicals are retreating from the ranks of the “Christian right” and are embracing more liberal positions on controversial social issues. We test this hypothesis using the Baylor Religion Survey. We examine two separate measures of evangelical identity as well as a wide variety of political identifications and attitudes. Our study indicates that young evangelicals (1) are significantly more likely than older evangelicals to think that more should be done to protect the environment; (2) hold views similar to older evangelicals regarding abortion, same-sex marriage, stem cell research, marijuana use, government welfare spending, spending on the nation's health, and the war in Iraq; and (3) remain significantly more conservative than nonevangelicals on these same social issues. We find no strong evidence to support the notion that young evangelicals are retreating from traditional positions or increasingly adopting more liberal positions on hot-button or controversial social issues.
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