And you thought young people left church because it bans pre-marital sex.
As the battle over gay marriage heats up in this election year, one evangelical Christian writer is calling for a truce, fearing that the outspoken opposition to gay marriage among some church leaders could alienate an entire generation of religious youth.
“Evangelicals have been so submitted to these culture wars for so long, so that’s hard to give up,” evangelical writer and speaker Rachel Held Evans, 31, told msnbc.com. But “the majority of young Christians really, really, really want to stop with the political emphasis.”
Held Evans, who regularly speaks at Christian colleges, said the young Christians she meets are much more open to gay rights than are older generations, an observation backed up by polling data.
A 2011 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute shows the generation gap between young Christians and their elders is large, with 44 percent of white evangelicals aged 18-29 in support of marriage equality compared to only 12 percent of those 65 and older.
According to the same survey, nearly 70 percent of young Christians also agree that religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues.
Wait until these young Christians hear how judgmental advocates of same-gender marriage are.
“For young Christians, having gay and lesbian friends is just a part of our life,” Held Evans said. “It’s just really hard for us to see them as mere issues to debate, because we’re talking about our friends here.”
On the other hand, it's really hard for pro-gender marriage advocates to see marriage as a mere issue to debate because having married friends is just a part of our life.
Is this a political move to get churches to shut up already about redefining marriage?
Held Evans' argument merely reinforces how crucial it is to discuss gender-segregated marriage in secular terms.
Words matter. That's why redefining the word "marriage" is so controversial.