Racial justice top social issue among InterVarsity Christian students: poll

Students participate in an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Bible study on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison. | nterVarsity

The issue of racial justice topped social concerns for members of the prominent religious student group InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, according to a recent survey.

InterVarsity released the findings of a survey on Tuesday that they conducted among 316 members enrolled at 127 different college campuses. The survey focused on multiple matters.

When asked which “social issues” were “the most important” to them, 38.61% of students who responded to the survey said "racial justice" was the most important.

Racial justice was ranked higher than the social concerns of “reducing abortion” (26.27% of respondents) and “religious tolerance/freedom” (25.63% of respondents).

Second place in the social issues category was “climate change,” with 29.11% of respondents listing that as the “most important." The third place was “foster care, adoption, or orphan care” at 28.16%.

InterVarsity Chief Communications Officer Greg Jao said in a statement released Tuesday that the recent upheavals in the United States over race were a major factor in the results.

“Emerging from the past year of racial unrest, we’re seeing how the social issues that our nation reckons with are also at the forefront of our students’ minds,” stated Jao.

“As a campus ministry, it’s crucial for us to help students navigate both these issues and how to live out their faith from a biblical perspective in real-time on college campuses.”

The survey also found that nearly two-thirds of respondents (68.76%) became a Christian before entering high school, and 94.62% felt that church involvement was either “very important” or somewhat important." Nearly half (46.52%) reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had “negatively impacted” their emotional or mental health.

The report also found that, despite many lawsuits surrounding their presence on secular campuses, around 75% of those surveyed believed that college campuses were “extremely,” “very" or “moderately” supportive and welcoming of evangelicals.

During the pandemic, there has been growing debate and discord in the United States over racially charged issues, ranging from policing to how to teach American history.

Much of this was sparked in May of last year when George Floyd died while handcuffed and in police custody as three officers held him down, one being Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officer Derek Chauvin whose knee was on his neck. 

In April, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the death of Floyd. He was later sentenced to 22 and-a-half years in prison.

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