Pew: How Many Americans Would Be Happy If Their Child Married a 'Born-Again' Christian
Most Americans would rather have their children marry "born-again Christians" than atheists or other types of marriage partners, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.
Across ideological lines, 1 out of 3 Americans (32 percent) say they would be happy if an immediate family member married a born-again Christian. Meanwhile, only nine percent of all Americans say such a marriage would make them unhappy.
While trends carried across ideological boundaries, the results from Pew's study of U.S. political polarization varied considerably between liberals and conservatives.
More than half of "consistently conservative" Americans (57 percent) would be happy to have a born-again Christian in the family, while only 16 percent of "consistently liberal" Americans say the same. By comparison, 27 percent of the most liberal Americans were unhappy at the thought, as were only 3 percent of the most conservative.
By contrast, the prospect of an atheist marrying into the family produced less happy feelings. About half (49 percent) of all Americans would be unhappy if an immediate family member married someone who didn't believe in God. Only four percent said such a marriage would make them happy. The remaining 47 percent said it didn't matter.
Likewise, nearly three in four "consistently conservative" Americans were unhappy at the prospect of an immediate family member's marriage to an atheist (73 percent), while far fewer "consistently liberal" Americans felt the same (24 percent). The most liberal Americans are about evenly split on spiritual and secular additions to their family: 16 percent would be happy with a "born-again" Christian vs. the 10 percent that would be happy with an atheist, and 27 percent would be unhappy with a Christian vs. the 24 percent that would be unhappy with an atheist.
Americans feel more positively about marriage to Christians than other categories in the study. For example, only nine percent of Americans would be happy if a family member married someone of a different race, and only 10 percent would be happy about a marriage to someone born and raised outside the United States.
Only 17 percent of Americans would be happy about a marriage to a gun owner, and six percent would be pleased with someone who didn't go to college.
The survey also found that conservatives were more likely to value a community where others shared their faith, while liberals tended to prefer ethnic diversity.
CT has previously explored the ethics of interfaith marriage and whether evangelical Christians are bad for marriage, given a debated Baylor study suggesting that more Christians are divorced than Americans overall.
[Photo courtesy of John Hope - Flickr]