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In Sex Disputes, Most Americans Still Favor Religious Rights

But 1 in 5 think conservative Christians are motivated by hate.

Americans love to fight about sex and religion.

From shacking up and same-sex marriage to birth control and bathrooms, Americans disagree about what is right and wrong with sex—often based on faith.

Those disputes can end up in court, in highly divisive and controversial cases. This week, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.

When faith and sexuality clash, which side should prevail? Americans can’t decide.

About half of Americans (48%) say religious freedom is more important in such conflicts when faith and sexuality clash, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research. A quarter (24%) say sexual freedom is more important. A quarter (28%) aren’t sure.

“It’s clear Americans value religious liberty,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “But when it comes to sex, they aren’t sure religion should have the final word. That’s especially true for younger Americans and those who aren’t religious.”

Religious beliefs, age matter

LifeWay Research’s study is based on new analysis of a survey of 1,000 Americans. Researchers wanted to get a big-picture look at how Americans view conflicts between religious views and sexuality, McConnell said.

They found Americans’ views are divided by geography, religious beliefs and demographics.

Men (30%), those in the Northeast (33%), Hispanic Americans (31%), and those 18 to 44 (30%) are more likely to favor sexual freedom. So are nones, those with no religious affiliation, at 49 percent.

Southerners (53%), those with evangelical beliefs (90%), Protestants (68%), African Americans (58%) and those 55 and older (55%) ...

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The Vacuum Christian Indifference Creates

The crisis we face when the church is silent on social justice.

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis warns that the enemy sends errors in pairs: "He relies on our dislike of one to send us into the opposite." We’re all prone to address an evil that offends or victimizes us by embracing its flawed opposite. Nowhere is this clearer than the current relationship the church has with social justice, where many American Christians inadvertently embrace the extreme of uncompassionate individualism or permissive secularism. Both are a corruption of the grace and truth that is the gospel, and both feed into one another in subtle but devious ways.

Many conservative Christians reject involvement in what has come to be known as the Christian social justice movement. To them, participation in this movement compromises doctrine by pursuing a false gospel that emphasizes cultural identity, social engineering, and earthly liberation over repentance and spiritual liberation from sin. This world becomes the focus and God’s law is replaced by interpretations of the human experience and relativism. To them, the achievements of this worldly bunch are negated by the frayed social fabric left in their wake. For instance, while they agree with equal treatment under the law for women, many believe the women’s equality movement has become an effort to deny natural gender distinctions and ultimately, to subside biological difference. Accurate or not, many evangelical Christians have used this narrative as justification to disparage and obstruct efforts connected with social justice.

At best, this line of reason ignores injustice; at worst, it rationalizes the church’s participation in the oppressive status quo. From the Jim Crow era to mass incarceration today, overlooking systemic ...

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