How many of us let headlines create lines in our foreheads? With TV and internet reports around the clock, it's easy to become manic-depressive news junkies—and that's why I'm often called to be a contrarian. Are you feeling good about "revolution" in Egypt? Are you feeling bad about domestic trends? Read on for good news concerning young Christians and pro-lifers.
First, let's take on pundits and pollsters who purportedly provide answers to the age-old question, What's the matter with kids today? You've probably heard a typical moan: They're leaving the church, so gotta become relevant, gotta take up liberal positions—or else the kids are gone. You may even have seen shows answering YES to the question of "Are Young Evangelicals Skewing More Liberal?" (ABC) and "Are Young Evangelicals Leaning Left?" (PBS).
Hmm. Baylor University researchers Byron Johnson and Buster Smith, after crunching polling data about evangelical political identifications and attitudes, have concluded that (1) younger evangelicals hold views similar to older evangelicals on most issues, and (2) young evangelicals remain significantly more conservative than non-evangelicals on those issues. Johnson and Smith found that age, among non-¬evangelicals, is an important predictor of political stance: 50 percent of the young are liberal but only 33 percent of those older. Among evangelicals, though, 70 percent of the young are conservative, 74 percent of the older: No big deal. Maybe non-evangelicals have to learn from hard experience that liberalism doesn't work, and evangelicals know that from the Bible. (Only about one of 10 evangelicals, young or old, calls himself "liberal.")
The conservatism of young evangelicals is apparent issue by issue. Some 72 percent say the use of marijuana is always or almost always wrong, compared to 73 percent of older evangelicals. You may have heard that young evangelicals accept homosexual marriage, but the survey says otherwise: The old (83 percent) oppose it, but the young (85 percent) oppose it even more. Only on issues like "global warming" is there a young/old divide among evangelicals, with the young much more concerned.
And here's the particularly good news: Younger evangelicals are more pro-life than older ones. To take the hardest case, 61 percent of the younger say abortion is wrong even if pregnancy is the result of rape, compared to 50 percent of their elders. Only one in 10 evangelicals, whether young or old, says abortion is right if a family can't afford another child.