Survey: Young Christian Voters Break from Traditional Right

The younger generation of Christian voters shared some of the same moral values held by traditional Christian right leaders, but differed significantly from them in other aspects, a new survey found.

Abortion was still considered one the most important issues in the presidential election by younger Christian voters, according to a survey by Relevant magazine. But gay rights, a core issue for Christian right leaders, was selected out of a provided list (abortion, gay rights, church and state issues, bioethics, illegal immigration) as the least important presidential issue. The second least important topic chosen was church and state issues, the young voters listed.

"In general, we're seeing that twentysomething Christians hold strongly to conservative moral values, but at the same time don't feel that their personal moral beliefs need to be legislated to people who don't agree with them," Relevant founder and publisher Cameron Strang said in a statement. "It's an interesting paradox, and is creating clear division between this generation and the religious right."

The national survey polled thousands of readers, many age 18-24 years old, and found that 59 percent of participants feel the government should fund national healthcare. Also, illegal immigration, chosen by 40.4 percent of participants, was the top presidential issue for young Christians.

In foreign policy, 61.9 percent said they do not support the war in Iraq.

"The readers poll confirmed things we've been hearing for quite some time," said Strang. "Young Christians simply don't seem to feel a connection to the traditional religious right. Many differ strongly on domestic policy issues, namely issues that affect the poor, and are dissatisfied with America's foreign policy and war."

Although gay rights was voted as the least important presidential issue, 75 percent said gay "marriage" should not be legalized.

Among other findings, 63 percent young Christians felt churches should not be allowed to support candidates; 46 percent picked Sen. Hillary Clinton as the least Christian candidate; Sen. Barack Obama was chosen by 28 percent of the young believers as the candidate Jesus would most likely vote for; and runner up to Obama with a 24 percent vote is former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist preacher.

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