Thursday, the Chicago-Sun Times released a story titled, "Gay marriage views all about age, region," which pointed out the shifts going on over same sex issues. The article cited the 22-year-long "Political Values and Core Attitudes" study conducted by The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which shows that public opinion over gay rights has changed significantly among the religious. This is especially true among younger Christians.
This shouldn't come as a surprise to any of you who follow my blog. I have been noting this shift for some time. Last year, I appeared on PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly to comment on a PBS/Greenburg Study stating that 58% of young evangelicals say they support some form of legal recognition of same sex unions. Not long after, Public Religion Research and Faith in Public Life released "The Faith and American Politics Survey" stating that a majority of young evangelicals favor some sort of legal recognition of same sex unions. By all indications, evangelical opinion is shifting on this issue, like it or not.
That brings me back to the Sun-Times article in which I stated, "I don't think [recognition of same sex unions] is an issue that my generation will fight over, at least not with the tenacity that the previous generations did." I have gotten several emails telling me that I ceded too much ground, that I gave away too much information. But as the paragraph above illustrates, I am not saying anything new, but rather stating a fact that is consistent with at least three reputable, national surveys and my own conversations with younger Christians all across America.
I am personally opposed to a redefinition of marriage. Until the latter part of the 20th century, marriage has been defined as a union between a man and a woman for every civilizations for all time. To change the definition of marriage is to change the nature of marriage. Claiming that marriage should be something more than that is like saying red should now also include orange and yellow. Most marriages are imperfect and many are unstable, but the fact remains that a two parent household is the most stable environment to raise a family, and healthy families are a vital part of any healthy society. Our government should remain committed to supporting the most stable family situation possible--a loving home with both a mother and a father. If the rising generation buckles on this issue, and it seems we will, that will be a mistake.
At the same time, Christians should make sure that our support of marriage does not blind us to the injustices placed on many homosexuals in our society. For example, we should aggressively oppose workplace discrimination, and anyone (outside of religious organizations) who fires or refuses to hire someone simply because of their sexual orientation should be held accountable. I think Christians can be biblical and commonsensical at the same. I think we can live by our faith's teachings without becoming angry culture warriors. I think we should support traditional marriage while we look for ways to build bridges of reconciliation with those cultural groups that have often been the objects of our public disdain. What about you?