A new study by Baylor University shows that a quarter of self-described evangelicals are ambivalent about gay marriage and civil unions.
For their study — “How the Messy Middle Finds a Voice: Evangelicals and Structured Ambivalence toward Gays and Lesbians” — researchers analyzed national data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey, a random sample of 1,714 individuals across the country. Researchers found that 24 percent of evangelicals fit into the ambivalent category, supporting gay civil unions even though they are morally opposed to homosexuality. The survey, designed by Baylor University scholars and conducted by The Gallup Organization, included more than 300 items dealing with religion and the attitudes, beliefs and values of the American public.
“We’ve known that moderate and ambivalent evangelicals are there, but now they are actually starting to have a voice and beginning to be more political,” Martinez said.
The “Messy Middle” — which researchers refer to as “Ambivalent Evangelicals” — has differing views from evangelical “Gay Right Opponents,” who oppose civil unions, and also from “Cultural Progressives,” who support homosexual behavior and civil unions.
But when it comes to religion, “The Ambivalents have the same level of belief, church attendance, prayer life, Bible reading and friends in church as Gay Rights Opponents do,” Bean said. “They’re enmeshed, not peripheral. You have these people in the pews and serving as Sunday School teachers who are supportive of civil unions.”
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For more coverage, see this article from the Associated Baptist Press.