Andrew Walker reports on National Review Online:
Over at the Public Discourse, University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus offers a preview of forthcoming data revealing how support for or opposition to same-sex marriage shapes a person’s larger worldview and beliefs about sexuality.
He asks: “What is the sexual and relational morality of Christians who accept the moral legitimacy of same-sex marriages?”
His data from the forthcoming Relationships in America Survey reveals an interesting, if not totally unexpected result: that church-attending Christians who support same-sex marriage look more worldly and less Christian. Churchgoing Christians who support same-sex marriage also register support for other beliefs about sexuality that Christianity has historically considered taboo.
According to Regnerus, churchgoing Christians (who were comparably much fewer in number as a pool of respondents), register much higher support for pornography, cohabitation, casual sex, and higher support than the general population for abortion rights.
Regnerus’ sampling method is worthy of praise. In contrast to blithe surveys that merely report the opinions of all those who identify with a particular religious affiliation regardless of observance, Regnerus does the important work of determining what those in the pews actually believe. A political poll that didn’t differentiate between likely and unlikely voters wouldn’t be an accurate representation of the electorate, and for the same reasons, a survey should distinguish between someone who merely answers “Catholic” or “Baptist” when asked for a religious identity and someone who actually shows up on Sunday.