Google saw a surge of Bible-related traffic in response to Friday's Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. Beyond generic Bible-related searches like Bible verses about marriage, the five queries I could identify with the largest absolute increases in volume were Sodom, Leviticus, End times, Abomination, and Romans 1.
The 24 hours following the Supreme Court decision produced 178,000 tweets that cited a Bible verse. Of those, approximately 40,000 (29%) mentioned verses commonly used to debate same-sex marriage.
By far the most-retweeted tweet was from singer AllyBrooke Hernandez, whose tweet supporting the decision received over 12,000 retweets that first day:
The most-retweeted evangelical leader addressing the decision was David Platt, who was retweeted over 3,100 times:
Here are the ten-most-popular verses tweeted in response to the decision:
|Rank||Passage||Tweets||Key Tweet||Passage Text|
|1.||1 Cor. 13:13||12,127||AllyBrooke||And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.|
|2.||Lev. 18:22||4,814||Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.|
|3.||Gen. 2:24||4,415||plattdavid||That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.|
|4.||Lev. 20:13||3,613||SouthernHomo (ironic use)||If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.|
|5.||1 Pet. 4:8||1,460||BWJohnsonMusic||Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.|
|6.||Rev. 19||1,434||plattdavid||(Eschatological victory over evil)|
|7.||1 Cor. 6:9-10||1,355||Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.|
|8.||Ps. 33:12||1,334||Franklin_Graham||Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.|
|9.||Gal. 6:7||1,159||AlvedaCKing||Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.|
|10.||1 John 4:8||950||Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.|
Overall, 53% of relevant tweets cited verses commonly used against same-sex marriage, while the remainder cited verses that are commonly used in favor of or neutral toward same-sex marriage. Omitting AllyBrooke Hernandez?s tweet changes the ratios to 69% against and 31% in favor of or neutral.
These percentages are consistent with the aggregate behavior of Bible Gateway visitors after the Supreme Court decision: on Bible Gateway, 74% of traffic to verses related to same-sex marriage was to passages commonly used against same-sex marriage. Here are the top ten passages accessed on Bible Gateway in the 24 hours after the decision:
|1.||Gen. 19||(Sodom and Gomorrah)|
|2.||1 Cor. 6:9-11||Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.|
|3.||Gen. 2:24||That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.|
|4.||Lev. 20:13||If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.|
|5.||Lev. 18:22||Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.|
|6.||Rom. 1:25-27||They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.|
|7.||Is. 5:20||Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.|
|8.||2 Chron. 7:14||If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.|
|9.||Rom. 12:2||Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.|
|10.||Matt. 19:5||and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?|
Overall, 10% of Bible Gateway’s traffic during this period was to passages related to the debate on same-sex marriage, compared to 2% on a typical day.
Here are the top ten keyword searches on Bible Gateway over the same time period:
- sodom and gomorrah
- let he who is without sin
- love one another
Bible technology guru Stephen Smith blogs at OpenBible.info. He was the subject of a 2014 CT cover story, “Hacking the Bible."
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