In light of New York’s passage of a gay marriage bill, one can see the changing face of evangelical Christianity. Young Christians in the U.S. are veering left on social issues. These Christians are not always outspoken about their beliefs, and instead believe that individuals should be allowed to make their own lifestyle choices.
These Christians, named “Millennials” by the liberal Christian organization Sojourners, are individuals between the ages of 18 and 29. Unlike many of their parents and the Christian politicians of the last few decades, these young people show support for same sex marriage and civil unions. According to Sojourners blogger Claire Lorentzen, “57% of Millennials favor same-sex marriage, and an additional 19% say people should be allowed to form civil unions, whereas only 32% of people aged 50 to 64 and older favor same-sex marriage, and only 26% of people 65 and older.” The fact that more than half of young Christians support same-sex marriage is telling; these individuals are distancing themselves from the conservative politics of their parents and supporting equality.
Led by Jim Wallis, Sojourners is focused on the American Christian youth. The organization publishes a magazine, as well as several blogs, that address social issues from a Christian perspective such as homosexuality, abortion, the environment, and global human rights. As they are well-funded and well-known, Sojourners can reach young, liberal Christians across the country. However, young Christians are not as visibly active in the political arena. Over the course of the last decade, several leftist Christian communities have emerged across the United States. The communities are composed of like-minded youths, who wish to work collectively for social change. These self-proclaimed “New Monastics” hold liberal beliefs about homosexuality and abortion; they believe individuals should have a choice and not have others’ beliefs forced upon them.
Although they may identify as “pro-life,” young Christians' relaxed attitudes regarding social issues places them more left of center compared to older Christians. This is what sets young Christians apart; their individual beliefs are not inherently liberal, but they believe that others should be able to make decisions.
So many Christian politicians feel the need to use the government as an implement for controlling personal liberties. Millennials are saying that people should, within reason, be permitted to dictate their own lives. New York’s gay marriage bill is legislation young liberal Christians can truly support.
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