The sexes are trending in different political directions. Here’s what the church can do about it.
“Does it feel like everyone in your church is getting more liberal?”
Someone posed this question at a recent get-together of evangelical pastors that I attended in the Nashville area. The person raising it had recently discovered that most of the young women in his congregation were not onboard with the church’s complementarian convictions.
Just a few minutes prior, I’d spoken with some of the pastors about a young man with a bad habit of attending services for several weeks, deciding something said or done exposed the church as “liberal,” then moving on to the next congregation. (Mine was one of them.)
“I think many of the women in our churches are getting more liberal,” I said. “But I think the men are getting more conservative.”
An array of empirical data provides evidence of this growing trend. Generations, the new book by San Diego State University professor of psychology Jean Twenge, demonstrates that among high school seniors, 30 percent of young women identify as conservative—down more than 10 percent in the last decade. Meanwhile, the number of young men who identify as conservative is more than double: an all-time high of 65 percent.
Lyman Stone and Brad Wilcox note in The Atlantic that the share of young single women identifying as liberal nearly doubles that of young single men, and the share of young single men identifying as conservative doubles that of young single women.
We can expect the same trends in the church. Even back in 2014, Pew’s “Religious Landscape Study” revealed that, while Christians were overwhelmingly politically conservative, there was an 18-point percentage gap between liberal Christian women and liberal Christian …