WWJD, meaning what would Jesus do, is a popular meme among Christians. But based on a new survey of young evangelicals, WWJD might really stand for who would Jesus do.
For a group that is dedicated to “sexual integrity” (i.e., no naughty bits outside of marriage), young evangelicals are a pretty randy bunch. According to a survey by Relevant Magazine, a slick monthly for young Christians, 42 percent of young unmarried Christians are currently in a sexual relationship. Another 22 percent are not in a relationship but have had sex within the past year. Only a paltry 20 percent of the 18 to 29 year olds surveyed are virgins, better than the 12 percent of the rest of their non-evangelical peers, but not by much.
Of course, the magazine doesn’t ask the big pink elephant in the room: How much of the sex is with someone of the same sex? Instead, it concentrates on the debasement of marriage as the reason why no one keeps their pants zipped anymore. Still, more (dare we say it) liberal attitudes toward sex among young evangelicals does seem to have some gay-friendly side effects.
Another recent survey found that 44 percent of young evangelical adults favor marriage equality, a far cry from level of opposition from all evangelicals: 80 percent. With marriage equality gaining momentum, the organized religious right may find that even its young followers aren’t following. It may not be a coincidence that the same issue of Relevant that features the survey about sex among the supposedly chaste also includes a chart showing that a majority of Americans now support marriage equality.
The text for the chart includes this simple conclusion: “[N]ew studies show the landscape may be shifting in regards to legalizing gay marriage–period.” With that kind of attitude, there’s no going back–kind of like that virginity thing.