Religious and sexual freedoms have often been pitted against each other in various incidents throughout the past decades, and most recently, the issue was placed under the spotlight once again when the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of a Colorado Christian baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
In such cases as this, though almost half (48 percent) of Americans believe that religious freedom is more important when it conflicts with sexual freedom, still, the other half either believe that sexual freedom should come first (24 percent) or are not sure (28 percent), according to a study by LifeWay Research published on June 27.
“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.”
Indeed, the study found that those in older age groups were more likely to say that religious freedom is more important. More than half of those in the 55 to 64 age group (55 percent) and those 65 or older (56 percent) said religious freedom is more important, while only 33 percent of those between 18 to 24 said the same.
Not surprisingly, those who identified themselves as being religious were also more likely to give more importance to religious freedom. More than half of Christians (59 percent) and those who affiliated themselves with other religious (53 percent) were more likely to say so than those who said they were not religious (15 percent).
The study also asked what people believe motivates those who oppose sexual freedoms. Almost half of respondents (49 percent) said they believe faith motivates those individuals, while 20 percent said hate, and 31 percent were unsure.
“About one in five Americans—often those who aren’t religious—suspect these disputes are driven by hate,” McConnell said. “And a third aren’t sure. That’s concerning.”