Richard Flory has the evidence, but he wonders why they don’t transfer:
What strikes me most about [Biola Queer Underground] and its counterparts at other evangelical colleges is that its members are not only committed to evangelical Christianity but also to the institutions that systematically marginalize them. From my perspective, it would be much easier (and perhaps much more healthy) to leave and find a more accepting place, perhaps even chuck the evangelical belief system altogether. Yet, as members of BQU suggest on the group’s website, a confluence of factors works to keep them at the school: They grew up in a conservative atmosphere and it is comfortable for them; their parents would only pay for a Christian college education; they only realized through their time at college that their identity was LGBT. In short, these young people want to be evangelicals, but they also want to be accepted for who they are.
That’s not an unreasonable aspiration. Recent opinion polls suggest that the younger generation of evangelicals is more accepting of homosexuality than older generations (39 percent of evangelicals 18-29 believe homosexuality should be accepted in society, compared to less than a quarter of evangelicals 34 and older). There are likely many explanations for this change, not the least of which is increasingly positive media representations of LGBTQ people. Because of that openness, younger people in general actually seem to know (and often become good friends with) a more diverse range of people, including LGBTs.
Read the rest: USC Knight Chair in Media and Religion.