The Common Good
February 2008

The New Evangelicals

by June G. Vajda, Richard Babb | February 2008

The tide of political priorities among white evangelicals may be turning.

The tide of political priorities among white evangelicals may be turning. Asked in an October CBS News poll what issues they would most like candidates to discuss, respondents revealed that gay marriage and abortion are not among the top priorities. Health care tops the list at 23 percent, followed by the Iraq war at 20 percent. When asked to identify the issues evangelicals should get more involved in, 33 percent said poverty and 17 percent cited genocide and violence.

A recent Barna Group poll suggests that the views of young evangelicals may be driving the change. The poll of 16- to 29-year-old Christians suggests the younger generation exhibits a greater degree of criticism toward Christianity than did previous generations when they were that age:

50 percent perceive Christ­ianity to be judgmental, hypocritical, and too political.

33 percent say Christianity is old-fashioned and out of touch with reality.

80 percent say “anti-homosexual” is a phrase that describes Christ-ianity.

22 percent agree that Christianity in today’s society no longer looks like Jesus.

The Barna Group’s David Kinnaman said that “the descriptions that young people offered of Christianity were more thoughtful, nuanced, and experiential than expected.”

Sources: “A New Generation Expresses its Skepticism and Frustration with Christ­ianity” (Barna Group, September 2007); “White Evangelicals, the Issues, and the 2008 Election” (CBS Poll, Oct. 12-16, 2007).

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