Support for same-sex marriage is at an all time high – even among white evangelicals and it’s due to a generational shift, according to a new study from Pew Research Center.
Their poll shows that 47 percent of Generation X and Millennial evangelicals (those born after 1964) favor gay marriage, compared with 26 percent of Boomer and older evangelicals (those born between 1928 and 1964).
“I think a shift is inevitable. It’s just a matter of how long,” Julie Rodgers, a lesbian who once worked for evangelical Wheaton College, told The Washington Post.
Rodgers said her views shifted because she saw another way of interpreting the Bible.
“When pastors and leaders begin to come out (as LGBT affirming), people are going to move. They just need permission,” she said. “It gives people another perspective and permission to say, ‘I feel that way, too.’ ”
Dr. Wesley Hill, from the Trinity School for Ministry–also a Wheaton College alum–explained that these different ways of “interpreting the Bible,” come from the easy acceptance, by Christians, of no-fault divorce and a misunderstanding of the procreative dimension of marriage.
“Many contemporary interpreters of the Bible hold to a view of marriage — that it is simply about love between any two people, regardless of their sex,” he said.
“What I mean is that many Christians have rejected the idea that marriage is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman that is about showing God’s love to the world and bringing children into the world. Once you’ve thrown out that understanding, then the door is open to embrace same-sex marriage,” Dr. Hill told CBN News.
In a CBN special program, Dr. Hill points to key passages in the Bible that speak to homosexuality: Genesis 1:27, 19:5, Leviticus 18:22, Galatians 5:16, Romans 1:26-27, :29-31, and 1 Corinthians. 6:9-10.
“Many contemporary readers of the Bible are trying to find ways to say that the Bible’s prohibitions against same-sex sexual behavior are culturally limited and not universally applicable. In other words, what the Bible is condemning is not gay sex anywhere and everywhere it occurs but only when it is exploitative or violent or promiscuous,” he said.
However, the Bible’s condemnations of same-sex coupling go back to Genesis and how God made human beings as male and female, Smith says, so any departure from that standard misses the mark of God’s design for sex.
In response to the Pew survey, Dr. Hill says that this younger generation of white Evangelical seems to be more supportive of same-sex marriage because of a more idealistic way of thinking—wanting to believe that the world can be a certain way.
“I think so much of the current support for same-sex marriage is motivated by a genuine desire to see people flourish. Singleness is such a lonely experience for so many people today, and being lesbian or gay often means facing discrimination or ostracism. So it’s no wonder that our society is wanting to find a place for gay people to be ‘at home,’ and to a lot of younger people, marriage looks like that ideal ‘home’ for LGBT persons. If we’re ever going to change that trend, we have to show, in our churches and in our families and communities, that there is another home — a truer, more life-giving one — that Christ offers. The only way LGBT folks might move away from the haven of same-sex marriage is if a truer, more compelling, more beautiful haven appears on the horizon,” said Dr. Hill.