According to a new report, a majority (53%) of young, white evangelicals in the United States favor legal same-sex marriage. Only a quarter of white evangelical seniors approve of it.
The statistics, and an assessment of LGBTI evangelicals, come via the Human Rights Campaign’s new guide: Coming Home to Evangelicalism and to Self.
As the introduction states, ‘Evangelical Christians who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer often find it difficult to be fully themselves in their church communities’.
The guide aims to help those suffering from ‘pain, and sometimes deep and lasting trauma, to the LGBTQ person who seeks to remain faithful both to God and to their understanding of themselves’.
An increasing generational divide
HRC notes the increasing generational divide in regards to marriage equality.
Almost every group they looked at — evangelicals, Hispanics, and black Americans — showed a majority of young people approving it. Only Asian-Pacific Islander Americans had a majority in both young people and seniors.
Further, 45% of young, white evangelicals reject policies where people can reject services to LGBTI people based on religious reasons.
Another majority (54%) of evangelical Protestants support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTI people.
As younger generations, trending more progressive and accepting, get older and gain more power and voices, change will happen.
How to balance these identities
HRC provides numerous examples and suggestions for living an authentic life, in both the LGBTI and evangelical communities.
Here are some of the suggestions:
- Finding an affirming church – this website can help with that (https://www.gaychurch.org/find_a_church/)
- Christian parents supporting LGBTI children – FreedHearts aids just that
- Biblical inclusion – the Reformation Project aims to understand the Bible with LGBTI inclusion in mind
Amelia Markham, the Programs and Organizing coordinator for The Reformation Project, believes evangelicalism needs to address three main obstacles for LGBTI members:
- How to interpret Scripture
- precedents within Christian history for LGBTQ inclusion
- the lack of LGBTQ Christian role models
Through various resources, organizations like HRC and religious figures like Markham are trying to bridge the divide.