Is Opposition To Same-Sex Marriage The Same As Being Anti-Gay?
“Not at all,” says Byron Johnson, Director of Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion and Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences. Johnson concludes:
It is unwarranted and irresponsible to interpret opposition to same-sex marriage as a proxy for being anti-gay. There is no empirical evidence to suggest that senior citizens are anti-gay.
Johnson bases his opinion on the findings from a recent national survey on same-sex marriage performed by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). For the record, this survey was was funded by something called the Arcus Foundation, a pro-LGBT organization. So, it is not as if Johnson is rehashing the findings from a pro-traditional marriage witch hunt poll. Still yet, Johnson makes an interesting observation from the data in this particular survey:
There is indeed a significant gap in support of same-sex marriage when one compares all Millennials to all senior citizens. However, when one looks at the views of Evangelicals toward same-sex marriage—a group estimated to be 100 million strong—a considerably different picture emerges. Being an Evangelical Protestant significantly lowers the chance one will agree with gay marriage in either age range, and brings the 18-to-29 age group down to a level of support similar to all others in the 65-and-over age range. Perhaps Evangelical churches are doing a better job combating the considerable cultural influences in support of same-sex marriage.
I take two things away from Byron’s observation:
- Opposition to same-sex marriage does not necessarily mean the same thing as being anti-gay. Evangelical Christians would be wise to call foul whenever the two phrases are used interchangeably in the popular press. And the popular press would be wise to describe the debate using a measure of technical consistency and proficiency.
- I hope the Christian Church in America is as steady in lifting up the Biblical standard for marriage and family as Johnson suggests. And, I pray that the Christian Church would stand as strongly for other Bible items (Like salvation, truth, evangelism, ecclesiology, beauty, and discipleship).