Millennial Evangelicals More Liberal Than Elders, but More Conservative Than Peers: Pew

Evangelical supporters of Donald Trump praying at a rally in Florida in this undated photo.
Evangelical supporters of Donald Trump praying at a rally in Florida in this undated photo. | (Photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

While young evangelicals are more liberal than their elders, they are also more conservative than their demographic peers, according to a recent article by the Pew Research Center.

Drawing from their 2014 Religious Landscape Study, Pew noted in an article published Thursday that millennial evangelicals are more liberal on issues like same-sex marriage, environmentalism and immigration than older generations of evangelicals.

"Evangelical Protestants who are millennials (those born from 1981 to 1996) are considerably more likely than older evangelical Protestants to support same-sex marriage and to say homosexuality should be accepted by society," noted Pew.

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"In addition, younger evangelicals are more likely than their older co-religionists to favor stricter environmental laws and to say immigration makes the United States better. Similarly, evangelical Protestant millennials are more likely to favor government aid to the poor and to prefer a bigger government with more services over a smaller one with fewer services."

Pew went on to note that millennial evangelicals were still more conservative on social issues than their non-evangelical millennial peers.

"And while younger evangelical Protestants are less conservative than older evangelicals in several areas, they remain more conservative than their generational peers in their attitudes regarding all the issues above," continued Pew.

"For example, while four-in-10 millennial evangelical Protestants (41 percent) say homosexuality should be discouraged by society, that opinion is held by just 15 percent of all other millennials. And while 65 percent of millennial evangelicals say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, only 36 percent of all other millennials agree."

In recent years, many reports have found that millennial Americans are more liberal on social issues and religious matters than previous generations.

For example, in 2014, the left-leaning polling group Public Religion Research Institute published an article noting what it labeled "The Changing Face of the Southern Baptist Convention."

PRRI argued that polling data indicated that the rising generation of evangelicals "aren't necessarily willing to step back into the trenches of the culture wars."

"PRRI research shows that 43 percent of young white evangelicals support legalizing same-sex marriage. They lean away from their elders on other hot-button issues like marijuana — nearly 6-in-10 (59 percent) millennial evangelicals favor legalizing pot," stated PRRI in 2014.

"Only 41 percent of millennials agree that religious liberty is being threatened in the U.S. today, compared to 61 percent of seniors (age 65 and older)."

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