By Aaron Earls
Evangelical millennials may feel like a group without a home.
While they remain more conservative than others their age, they also differ from their fellow evangelicals on many political and social issues.
On a host of issues, evangelical millennials are more likely than other evangelicals to hold liberal positions. However, they are just as likely to oppose abortion, according to Pew Research’s Religious Landscape Study.
The largest gap between younger and older evangelicals occurs on issues related to homosexuality. While only 23 percent of evangelicals born before 1981 favor same-sex marriage, 45 percent of evangelical millennials are supportive.
Only a third of older evangelicals (32 percent) believe homosexuality should be accepted by society, but half (51 percent) of younger evangelicals say it should.
Evangelical millennials are also more likely to say the growing immigrant population is a good thing (27 to 13 percent), bigger government and more services are preferable (41 to 27 percent), stricter environmental laws are worth the cost (55 to 43 percent), and government aid does more good than harm (45 to 36 percent).
On abortion, however, there is no statistical difference. Two-thirds of millennial evangelicals (65 percent) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, which is essentially the same as the 63 percent of older evangelicals who agree.
While younger evangelicals are only slightly less likely to identify as Republicans according to the 2014 survey (51 to 57 percent), fewer than half call themselves conservative.
Only 42 percent of millennial evangelicals claim the conservative label, compared to 58 percent of older evangelicals. They aren’t eager to be called liberal either, however.
While 12 percent of older evangelicals say they’re liberal, 16 percent of millennial evangelicals say the same. Instead, evangelical millennials are more likely than older ones to claim to be moderate (34 to 25 percent).
Despite the differences with older coreligionists, evangelical millennials are still more like their fellow evangelicals than their fellow millennials.
They are more conservative than others their age on virtually every issue, including belief that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases (65 to 36 percent), belief that homosexuality should be discouraged (41 to 15 percent), and opposition to same-sex marriage (49 to 20 percent).
- Less Flash, More Truth: The Real Story of Millennials and the Church
- 6 Reasons Millennials Aren’t at Your Church
- 7 Ways to Draw Millennials to Your Church
- 5 Places the Church Can Reach Millennials
- 3 Ways to Engage the Spiritual, But Not Religious Millennial
AARON EARLS (Aaron.Earls@Lifeway.com) is online editor of Facts & Trends.